E-Pearl of the Week: The Palmomental Reflex: Beyond the palm

November 6, 2012

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November 6, 2012

The Palmomental Reflex: Beyond the palm

First described in 1920, the palmomental reflex is an involuntary contraction of the mentalis muscle caused by stimulation of the thenar eminence. The prevalence of this primitive reflex is higher in patients with stroke, multiple sclerosis, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, and dementia.  Stimulation of the hand, arm and torso can also result in reflex contraction of the mentalis. Although the palmomental reflex is occasionally seen in normal subjects, a trigger area extending beyond the palm is suggestive of cerebral pathology.

Reference

  1. Marinesco G, Radovici A. Sur un reflexé cutané nouveau: reflexé palmo–mentonnier. Rev Neurol 1920; 27: 237–240.
  2. Owen G, Mulley GP. The palmomental reflex: a useful clinical sign? J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry 2002; 73: 113–115.

Submitted by: Amy Kelly, MRCPI and John Carmody, MRCPI, FRACP

Disclosure: Drs. Kelly and Carmody report no disclosures.

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