Primitive reflexes-role, classification, examination

Primitive reflexes-role, classification, examination


Primitive reflexes are, reflex action originating in the central nervous system are exhibited by normal infants. These primitive reflex are also called infantile, infant or newborn reflexes.
Importance of infantile reflex
Primitive reflexes are repetitive, an automatic movement that is essential for the development of head control, muscle tone.

Role of the reflexes

Primitive reflexes are important for
-nutrition(sucking, rooting)
– stepping
Role of reflexes in developing future movement
Emanate from higher brain centers.
When the stepping reflex is stimulated walking may begin at an earlier age.
The small amount of practice can lead to significant results.
Reflexes as diagnostic tools
• Reflexes can help to determine the level of neurological maturation.
• Reflexes are age – specific in normal, healthy infants
• Moro reflex – may signify a cerebral birth injury if lacking or asymmetrical.
• Asymmetrical tonic neck reflexes -it may indicate cerebral palsy or other neurological problems.

Classification of neonatal reflexes

It depends upon the origin:-
1. Spinal /primitive reflex
2. Brain stem/ tonic reflex
3. Mid brain/cortical reflex
Primitive reflexes
1. Sucking
• Persistence interferes with normal tongue movement.
• Stimulated by touching the lips.
2. Palmar grasp
The palmar grasp reflex one of the most important reflex in infants.
Neurological problem – spasticity
Leads to voluntary reaching and grasping
.3. Rooting reflex
Helps the babies locate nourishment.
Baby turns head towards the food.
Usually works in conjunction with sucking reflex.
The rooting reflex assist in the act of breastfeeding
4. Moro reflex
A palm of the hand lifts back of the head.
The hand is removed suddenly so that head begins to fall (head is supported)
In Moro reflex the arm and legs to extend immediately rather than flex.
Appears at birth
Disappears at 4-6 months.
5. Plantar grasp
The toes appear to be grasping
Stimulus is touching the of the foot
This reflex must disappear before the baby can stand or walk.
6. Babinski reflex
• Elicited by stimulus similar to plantar grasp, but a response is different.
• Test of pyramidal tract activity for later motor movement.
7. Asymmetrical tonic neck reflex( ATNR)
• Causes flexion on one side and extension om the other side in supine lying.
• Response – flexion of skull limbs extension of jaw limb, bow, and arrow or fencing posture.
• Not always seen in newborn baby
• It is also known as fencing posture.
• Appears at birth
• Disappears at 4-6 months
8. Symmetrical tonic neck reflex (STNR)
• Limb respond symmetrically
• This reflex is important to help a child push up on there hands and knee.
• When we place baby in sitting position- tip forward, in this neck flexes, arm flex, leg extends.
• When a baby is placed in sitting position -tip backward, in this neck extends , the arm extends , a leg is a flex.
• Appears at 4-6 months
• Disappears at 8-12 months
9. Cortical reflex
NOB(neck on the body)
• Passively turn head to one side, in supine
• Body rotates as a whole (log roll) to align the body with head.
10. Cortical reflex
BOB(body action on the body)
• Passively rotates upper and lower trunk segment in supine.

That is all for this article,I hope you find this article helpful.

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