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Year : 2019  |  Volume : 13  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 90-94

Influence of the asymmetric tonic neck reflex on handgrip strength in healthy adults

Physiotherapy Centre, NIMHANS, Bengaluru, Karnataka, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Tittu Thomas James
Physiotherapy Centre, NIMHANS, Bengaluru, Karnataka
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/PJIAP.PJIAP_51_18

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BACKGROUND: Primitive reflexes are stereotypic motor behavioral responses that are necessary for the normal development of infants. Retention of these reflexes is mostly pathological and can lead to developmental delays. Few reflexes are also seen in normal adults, and the influence of the retained reflexes on functional activities is evident. This study identified the effect of the asymmetric tonic neck reflex (ATNR) on handgrip. MATERIALS AND METHODS: One hundred adults within the age group of 18–25 were selected for the study. Handgrip strength was measured using hand-held dynamometer on the dominant hand in three different neck positions, neck in neutral, neck actively rotated to the right, and rotated to the left. Data collected were statistically analyzed to identify the difference between the three mean values. RESULTS: The Friedman test performed to analyze the handgrip strength between the groups of three head positions demonstrated a statistically significant difference, χ2 = 110.479, P = 0.000. Post hoc analysis with the Wilcoxon signed-rank tests was conducted with a Bonferroni correction applied, resulting in a significant level set at P < 0.017. There was a significant difference in the handgrip measured between the group of head rotated to the left with head in neutral (P = 0.000) and head rotated to the right and the left (P = 0.000), but failed to demonstrate a significant difference between the groups of head in neutral and head rotation to right (P = 0.041). The results of this study thus infer a significant increase in handgrip of the right hand when head is rotated toward the left side. CONCLUSION: The study identified that there is an increased handgrip power on the dominant side when the head is rotated to the opposite side. This can be attributed to the increased flexor tone due to the retained effects of ATNR. Effects of ATNR can be seen in normal adults while assessing handgrip strength. This must be taken into consideration while assessing the same during diagnostic, prognostic, and rehabilitation purposes.

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