Alien Hand Syndrome

Curr Neurol Neurosci Rep. 2016 Aug;16(8):73. doi: 10.1007/s11910-016-0676-z.


Alien hand syndrome (AHS) is a rare disorder of involuntary limb movement together with a sense of loss of limb ownership. It most commonly affects the hand, but can occur in the leg. The anterior (frontal, callosal) and posterior variants are recognized, with distinguishing clinical features and anatomical lesions. Initial descriptions were attributed to stroke and neurosurgical operations, but neurodegenerative causes are now recognized as most common. Structural and functional imaging and clinical studies have implicated the supplementary motor area, pre-supplementary motor area, and their network connections in the frontal variant of AHS, and the inferior parietal lobule and connections in the posterior variant. Several theories are proposed to explain the pathophysiology. Herein, we review the literature to update advances in the understanding of the classification, pathophysiology, etiology, and treatment of AHS.

Keywords: Alien limb; Callosal; Corticobasal syndrome; Frontal; Parietal; Stroke.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Alien Hand Syndrome* / etiology
  • Alien Hand Syndrome* / physiopathology
  • Dyskinesias
  • Hand
  • Humans
  • Stroke / complications