Navigating the Complex World of Reflexes: Unraveling the Body’s Automatic Responses

Navigating the Complex World of Reflexes: Unraveling the Body's Automatic Responses

When the doctor shines a light in your eyes or uses his reflex hammer, the objective of this unpleasant action is to check your reflexes and thus the condition of your nerve functions because of the large number of body reactions, which we are mostly unconscious of, shows exactly how our brain performance is doing is.

What is a reflex?

A reflex is a body organ’s automatic, involuntary response to a stimulus. This reaction occurs immediately to the stimulus and is reproducible, unlike a response that we consciously control.

For a reflex to occur, the body must be able to perceive stimuli, transmit and process them with its neural pathways, and then respond in a way that ensures its survival. Whether we suddenly hear a loud noise, something flies in our eye, or we step on a piece of broken glass, the body responds with a schematic response to protect the entire organism:

  • with a loud noise with a body turn in the direction of the noise source, but overall, with the escape movement away from the noise source,
  • If the cornea is irritated by closing the eyes and turning the head away,
  • In the case of sudden pain in the sole with pulling up the affected leg and evasive body movement away from the danger.

 

Are there different reflexes?

Physicians and behavioural biologists distinguish between reflexes according to whether they are innate or acquired, i.e. can be learned, how many nerves are involved in transmitting stimuli and whether the body reaction originates from the stimulus site or whether another organ reacts. Pathologic reflexes are unique to certain nervous system disorders and primitive infantile reflexes, which disappear over the first two years of life and reflect the infant’s developmental stage.

To distinguish between the many reflexes, they are often named after their discoverer or, like the various muscle reflexes, after their triggering site – the best known is the patellar tendon reflex, which you can trigger yourself by pulling the tendon just below the kneecap with a bent, hanging leg tap with a bit of momentum: Your leg responds with a contraction of the thigh muscle, which swings the lower leg forward.

What are early childhood reflexes?

Early childhood reflexes are also called primitive reflexes, used for self-protection and foraging. Many of these reflexes disappear over the first two years of life and reflect the infant’s stage of development.

Necessary early childhood reflexes are the search reflex (when the infant touches a corner of the mouth, the head turns in that direction), the Moro clutch reflex (if the head suddenly falls back, the infant opens and closes its arms), the hand and foot grip reflex (pressure on the palms of the hands). triggers a grasping movement; pressure on the sole causes a flexion of the toes) and the stepping reflex (contact with a surface leads to walking movements).

Some primitive reflexes, such as the swallowing reflex, are lifelong—the swallowing reflex ensures that the food we eat enters the oesophagus, not the windpipe. In addition, the paediatrician checks many other early childhood reflexes as part of the U-1 to U-9 examinations, which disappear after a specific interval if development is expected. If they persist, the neurological cause must always be sought.

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