The diagnostic value of three common primitive reflexes

Eur Neurol. 1984;23(1):17-21. doi: 10.1159/000115672.


Systematic attempts were made to elicit the snout, palmomental and corneomandibular reflexes in 50 young patients with prolonged traumatic coma, 50 elderly hemiplegics soon after their first cerebrovascular accident and in 100 normal age-matched controls. None was found significantly more frequently alone in brain-damaged patients than in age-matched controls. Only combinations of two or three reflexes showed diagnostic value in distinguishing between neurologically damaged patients and normal age-matched controls. Only the combination of all three was completely absent in the normal controls; this combination was found in 13% of the brain-damaged subjects.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Chin / innervation
  • Coma / diagnosis
  • Cornea / innervation
  • Hemiplegia / diagnosis
  • Hemiplegia / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Lip / innervation
  • Mandible / innervation
  • Middle Aged
  • Reflex / physiology*
  • Thumb / innervation