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First described by German neurologist Oskar Kohnstamm (1871-1917) in 1915, Kohnstamm's phenomenon is a sustained involuntary contraction of a muscle after a prolonged voluntary contraction. The simplest demonstration is to have a subject press against the wall by abducting the arm and then ask to step away from the wall. The arm will involuntarily rise.

Russian scientists Victor Gurfinkel, Mikhail Lebedev and Yuri Levick used Kohnstamm's phenomenon to activate tonogenic structures in humans and thereby demonstrate postural automatisms, such as neck reflexes.

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  • Kohnstamm, O. Demonstration einer Katatonieartigen Erscheimung beim Gesunden (Katatonusversuch). Neurol. Zentral B1 34S: 290-291, 1915.
  • Gurfinkel, V.S., Lebedev, M.A., Levick, Yu.S. (1992) What about the so-called neck reflexes in humans? In: A. Bertoz, W. Graf, P. P. Vidal (Eds) The Head-Neck Sensory Motor System, New York, Oxford, Oxford University Press: 543-547.
  • Gurfinkel, V.S., Levik, Yu.S., Lebedev, M.A. (1989) Immediate and remote postactivation effects in the human motor system. Neirofiziologiya (Kiev) 21: 343-351. Translation into English: Neurophysiology 21: 247-253.
  • Gurfinkel, V.S., Levik, Yu.S., Lebedev, M.A. (1989) Postural automatisms revealed by enhancement of the tonic background. Doklady Akademii Nauk SSSR 305:1266-1269.
  • Duclos C, Cerebral correlates of the “Kohnstamm phenomenon”: An fMRI study, NeuroImage Vol 34, Issue 2, 15 January 2007, Pages 774-783
  • Wright WG, Interaction of involuntary post-contraction activity with locomotor movements, Exp Brain Res. 2006 Feb 169(2): 255–260
  • Mathis J, Facilitation of motor evoked potentials by postcontraction response (Kohnstamm phenomenon), Electroencephalogr Clin Neurophysiol. 1996 Aug
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