Reorganization of flexion reflexes in the upper extremity of hemiparetic subjects

Julius P.A. Dewald*, Randall F. Beer, Joseph D. Given, John R. McGuire, W. Zev Rymer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

50 Scopus citations


We examined spatiotemporal abnormalities in the flexor reflex response in the impaired upper extremity of hemiparetic subjects. Electrical stimulation was used to elicit flexion reflexes in both upper extremities of 8 hemiparetic brain-injured and 6 control subjects. Electromyograms (EMGs) were recorded from 12 arm muscles, and reflex forces and moments were recorded at the wrist with a load cell, and converted to shoulder and elbow torques. We found that the onset of reflex torque and EMG was delayed in the impaired arm and delays were greater at the shoulder than at the elbow. The normal reflex torque response consisted of elbow flexion, shoulder extension, and shoulder adduction. In contrast, in the impaired limb shoulder, flexion torque was observed in 7 subjects and shoulder abduction in 3. The delays in reflex onset and altered torque patterns in the impaired arm may be related to the abnormal movement synergies observed following stroke.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1209-1221
Number of pages13
JournalMuscle and Nerve
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1999


  • Electromyography
  • Flexion withdrawal response
  • Muscle synergies
  • Stroke
  • Upper extremity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Physiology (medical)
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Physiology


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