Neural Abnormal Exam - Newborn reflexes - deep tendon reflexes

From Embryology
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Newborn ab 20.jpg
This is a 3 weeks old infant.
  • Testing deep tendon reflexes on this baby demonstrates that they are present.
  • This is important in trying to sort out if the baby has low tone from an upper motor neuron lesion or if he has a lower motor neuron or muscle disorder.
  • In older children and adults, an upper motor lesion causes spasticity but in babies an upper motor neuron lesion can cause hypotonia. A disease of the lower motor neuron is unlikely with the deep tendon reflexes being present.
  • The baby could still have a muscle disorder but inspection of the muscles does not show diminished mass and the baby’s behavior and the rest of the neurological exam indicates an upper motor neuron problem.

Newborn Abnormal Links: behaviour | cranial nerves | Newborn Tone - resting posture | upper extremity‎ | arm traction | arm recoil | scarf sign | hand position | lower extremity | leg traction‎ | leg recoil‎‎ | popliteal angle‎ | heel to ear | neck tone | head lag‎ | head control | Newborn Positions - prone | ventral suspension | vertical suspension | Newborn Reflexes - deep tendon reflexes | plantar reflex‎ | suck, root | Moro | Galant | stepping‎ | grasp | Newborn Head - head shape and sutures‎ | head circumference‎

Movie Source - Paul D. Larsen  
Movies from the PediNeuroLogic Exam website are used by permission of Paul D. Larsen, M.D., University of Nebraska Medical Center and Suzanne S. Stensaas, Ph.D., University of Utah School of Medicine. Additional materials were drawn from resources provided by Alejandro Stern, Stern Foundation, Buenos Aires, Argentina; Kathleen Digre, M.D., University of Utah; and Daniel Jacobson, M.D., Marshfield Clinic, Wisconsin. The movies are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommerical-ShareAlike 2.5 License.
Links: Neural Exam Movies | Movies

Cite this page: Hill, M.A. (2024, May 28) Embryology Neural Abnormal Exam - Newborn reflexes - deep tendon reflexes. Retrieved from

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© Dr Mark Hill 2024, UNSW Embryology ISBN: 978 0 7334 2609 4 - UNSW CRICOS Provider Code No. 00098G