If the doctor lights your eyes or uses his reflex hammer, this unpleasant action has the goal to check your reflexes and thus the condition of your nerve functions, because the multitude of mostly unconscious body reactions shows exactly how our brain power is ordered is.

What is a reflex?

A reflex is an automatic, involuntary reaction of a body organ to a stimulus. This reaction is instantaneous to the stimulus and is reproducible, unlike a consciously controlled response.

In order for a reflex to occur, the body must be able to perceive stimuli, transmit and process them with its neural pathways, and then respond to them in a form that ensures its survival. Whether we suddenly hear a loud noise, fly something in the eye, or step foot in a piece of broken glass, the body responds with a schematic answer to protect the whole organism:

  • at the loud noise with a body turn towards the noise origin, but overall with the escape movement away from the noise source,
  • in the irritation of the cornea with the closing of the eyes and the turning away of the head,
  • sudden pain in the sole of the foot with pulling up of the affected leg and an evasive movement of the body away from the danger.

Are there different reflexes?

Physicians and behavioral biologists distinguish reflexes according to whether they are innate or acquired, that is to say, how many nerves are involved in the transmission of the stimulus, and whether the body reaction originates from the stimulus or another organ reacts. In addition, there are pathological reflexes, which occur only in certain diseases of the nervous system, and primitive early childhood reflexes, which are lost in the course of the first two years of life and indicate the stage of development of the infant.

To differentiate the many reflexes, they are often named after their discoverer or as the various muscle reflexes according to their location - best known is the patellar tendon reflex, you can trigger yourself with the tendon just below the kneecap with bent, drooping leg tapping with some momentum: Your leg responds with a contraction of the thigh muscle that swings the lower leg forward.

What are early childhood reflexes?

Early childhood reflexes are also called primitive reflexes and serve self-protection, foraging and foraging. Many of these reflexes are lost during the first two years of life and indicate the stage of development of the toddler.

Important infantile reflexes are the search reflex (touching the corner of an infant's head turns in that direction), the Moro clasp (when the head suddenly falls back and the baby opens and closes his arms), the hand and foot grip (pressure on the palm of the hand triggers a gripping movement, pressure on the sole of the foot causes a flexion of the toes) and the crotch reflex (contact with a surface leads to walking movements).

Some primitive reflexes, such as the swallowing reflex, are retained throughout life - the swallowing reflex ensures that food we eat reaches the esophagus and not the trachea. In addition, there are many more early childhood reflexes, which are examined in the context of the U-1 to U-9 examinations by the pediatrician, disappear in a normal development after a certain interval and their persistence must always be sought for the neurological cause.

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