Reflexes are involuntary movements, usually caused by external stimuli acting on sensory receptors in the body. The reflex arc consists of a sensory receptor, a sensory neuron, an interneuron (if necessary), a motor neuron, and an effector organ. In the case of neurological research and therapy, understanding reflexes is essential as these movements can provide important diagnostic and prognostic information on the state of the nervous system. There are several types of reflexes that can be tested clinically, including deep tendon reflexes, superficial reflexes, and pathologic reflexes. Deep tendon reflexes are commonly tested by tapping specific tendons with a reflex hammer to evaluate the response of the muscle. Superficial reflexes, such as the plantar reflex or abdominal reflex, are elicited by gently stroking the skin overlying specific muscles. Pathologic reflexes, such as the Babinski sign, are abnormal reflexes that can indicate damage to the upper motor neurons in the brain or spinal cord. Neurological therapy can involve the use of reflexes to aid in recovery from injury or disease. For example, with stroke patients, therapists may use reflexes in the affected limbs to help retrain the brain and improve overall function. Therapists can also use reflexes to help restore balance and coordination in patients with neurological conditions. In conclusion, a thorough understanding of reflexes and their role in neurological function is essential for both research and therapy. By studying these involuntary movements, we can gain insights into the workings of the nervous system and discover new ways to treat and improve neurological conditions.

From: Neurobiology

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Editor-in-chief: Zheng Jiang, Department of Neuroscience, The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.
Publication Type: Open Access Journal
Description: The brain, spinal cord, and nerves make up the nervous system. Together they control all the workings of the body. When something goes wrong with a part of your nervous system, you can have trouble moving, speaking, swallowing, breathing, or learning. You can also have problems with your memory, senses, or mood.