Abstract Rosenbach,20 in 1876, first described visible contractions of abdominal musculature evoked by gentle scratching of skin. Since the zone of effective stimulation was not necessarily limited to areas immediately adjacent to the site of muscular response, and since the contractions were abolished by appropriate motoneuron lesions, the responses were justifiably considered reflex in origin. They have, in fact, been commonly termed superficial abdominal reflexes, although considerable doubt exists concerning their basic mechanisms. Since these reflexes may be depressed or absent in patients with rostrally situated lesions of the central nervous system, some observers, including Astwazaturow1 and Monrad-Krohn,17 have postulated that the intrinsic reflex arc in normal persons must traverse the highest levels of the nervous system. The superficial abdominal reflex may be retained, however, on the corresponding side after ablation of the premotor cortex (Bucy3), after removal of the cortex of the hemisphere (Dandy6), and References 1. Astwazaturow, M.: Nature of Abdominal Reflexes , J. Nerv. & Ment. Dis. 61:587, 1925. 2. Birren, J. E., and Wall, P. D.: Age Changes in Conduction Velocity, Refractory Period, Number of Fibers, Connective Tissue Space, and Blood Vessels in Sciatic Nerve of Rats , J. Comp. Neurol. 104:1, 1956. 3. Bucy, P. C., Editor: The Precentral Motor Cortex, Illinois Monographs in the Medical Sciences , Vol. IV, Nos. 1-4, Urbana, Ill., University of Illinois Press, 1944. 4. Chennells, M., and Floyd, W. F.: Reflex Activity in Abdominal and Limb Muscles , J. Physiol. 118:196, 1952. 5. Critchley, M.: Neurologic Changes in the Aged , J. Chron. Dis. 3:459, 1956. 6. Dandy, W. E.: Physiological Studies Following Extirpation of the Right Cerebral Hemisphere in Man , Bull. Johns Hopkins Hosp. 53:31, 1933. 7. Dawson, G. D., and Scott, J. W.: Cerebral Responses to Electrical Stimulation of Peripheral Nerve in Man , J. Neurol. Neurosurg. & Psychiat. 10:137, 1947. 8. Dawson, G. D.: Investigations on a Patient Subject to Myoclonic Seizures After Sensory Stimulation , J. Neurol. Neurosurg. & Psychiat. 10:141, 1947. 9. Floyd, W. F., and Silver, P. H. S.: Electromyographic Study of Patterns of Activity of the Anterior Abdominal Wall in Man , J. Anat. 84:132, 1950. 10. French, L. A.; Johnson, D. R.; Brown, I. A., and Van Bergen, F. B.: Cerebral Hemispherectomy for Control of Intractable Convulsive Seizures , J. Neurosurg. 12:154, 1955. 11. Langworthy, O. R.: The Mechanism of the Abdominal and Cremasteric Reflexes , Arch. Neurol. & Psychiat. 24:1023, 1930. 12. Leyton, A. S. F., and Sherrington, C. S.: Observations on the Excitable Cortex of the Chimpanzee, Orangutan and Gorilla , Quart. J. Exper. Physiol. 11:135, 1917. 13. Lønnum, A.: The Abdominal Skin Reflexes in Man: An Analysis of the Reflex Findings in Early Infancy and in Patients with Cerebral Disease , Acta psychiat. et neurol. scandinav. , (Supp. 108) , p. 243, 1957. 14. Madonick, M. J.: Statistical Control Studies in Neurology: 8. The Cutaneous Abdominal Reflex , Neurology 7:459, 1957. 15. Magladery, J. W.; Porter, W. E.; Park, A. M., and Teasdall, R. D.: Electrophysiological Studies of Nerve and Reflex Activity in Normal Man: IV. The Two-Neurone Reflex and Identification of Certain Action Potentials from Spinal Roots and Cord , Bull. Johns Hopkins Hosp. 88: 499, 1951. 16. Monrad-Krohn, G. H.: Reflexes of Different Order Elicitable from the Abdominal Region , Arch. Neurol. & Psychiat. 13:750, 1925. 17. Monrad-Krohn, G. H.: Die Bauchdeckenreflexe , (Abdominalreflexe) Schweiz. Arch. Neurol. u. Psychiat. 66:338, 1950. 18. Riddoch, G., and Head, H.: The Automatic Bladder, Excessive Sweating and Some Other Reflex Conditions, in Gross Injuries of the Spinal Cord , Brain 40:188, 1918. 19. Riddoch, G.: The Reflex Functions of the Completely Divided Spinal Cord in Man, Compared with Those Associated with Less Severe Lesions , Brain 40:264, 1918. 20. Rosenbach, O.: Ein Beitrag zur Symptomatologie cerebraler Hemiplegieen , Arch. Psychiat. 6:845, 1875-1876. 21. Sherrington, C. S.: The Integrative Action of the Nervous System , London, Archibald Constable & Co., 1906. 22. Teasdall, R. D.; Languth, H. W., and Magladery, J. W.: Electrophysiological Studies of Reflex Activity in Patients with Lesions of the Nervous System: IV. A Note on the Tendon Jerk , Bull. Johns Hopkins Hosp. 91:267, 1952.
A.M.A. Archives of Neurology & Psychiatry – American Medical Association
Published: Jan 1, 1959