Clenched fist and knee jerk reflex
To test your knee jerk reflex, a doctor or nurse practitioner raps a small hammer on the tendon below your kneecap. A split second later, when you kick the person with the hammer, it's because the lightning-quick knee jerk reflex occurred within the spinal cord. The kick simply indicates that a section of your spinal cord, and the nerves extending from it, are working properly. Testing a series of different reflexes gives an indication of the health of your whole nervous system.
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The Knee Jerk Reflex
Deep Tendon Reflexes - StatPearls - NCBI Bookshelf
The Jendrassik maneuver is a medical maneuver wherein the patient clenches the teeth, flexes both sets of fingers into a hook-like form, and interlocks those sets of fingers together. The tendon below the patient's knee is then hit with a reflex hammer to elicit the patellar reflex. The elicited response is compared with the reflex result of the same action when the maneuver is not in use. Often a larger reflex response will be observed when the patient is occupied with the maneuver: "A weak or apparently missing reflex could be triggered by afferent activity resulting from such muscle tension. This maneuver is particularly useful in that even if the patient is aware of the maneuver's purpose, it still functions properly.
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Try out PMC Labs and tell us what you think. Learn More. The Jendrassik maneuver JM is a remote facilitation muscular contraction shown to affect amplitude and temporal components of the human stretch reflex. Conflicting theoretical models exist regarding the neurological mechanism related to its ability to reinforce reflex parameters. One mechanism involves the gamma motoneurons of the fusimotor system, which are subject to both physical and mental activity.
We can use this demonstration to learn how reflexes work. Many important motor reflexes are processed by the spinal cord and occur without any input from our brain. Motor reflexes are involuntary, which we will see here.
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