Gegenhalten, from German to resist or hold against, is a form of hypertonia characterized by involuntary variable resistance during passive movement (i.e., a movement without effort). It is usually elicited by moving the patient’s forearm rapidly from a contracted to a stretched position, after instructing the patient not to resist. It is a primitive reflex, absent in adults, but can occur in association with frontal lobe disorders, generalized degenerative diseases, and catatonia. It should be distinguished from cogwheel rigidity, a sign of extrapyramidal syndromes.
References and Readings
- Goetz, C. G. (2007). Textbook of clinical neurology (3rd ed.). Philadelphia: Saunders.Google Scholar