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In medicine, pronator drift (also known as pyramidal drift) refers to a pathologic sign seen during a neurological examination.[1] Jean Alexandre Barré is credited with having first described it thus it is sometimes known as the Barré test. A positive result indicates spasticity. This sign can appear due to an upper motor neuron lesion[2][3] or various other conditions (including inborn errors of metabolism) which include spasticity as a symptom.

Description[edit | edit source]

The patient is asked to hold both arms fully extended at shoulder level in front of him, with the palms upwards, and hold the position. If they are unable to maintain the position the result is positive. Closing the eyes accentuates the effect, because the brain is deprived of visual information about the position of the body and must rely on proprioception. Tapping on the palm of the outstretched hands can accentuate the effect.

Interpretation[edit | edit source]

This is a test of upper motor neuron disease.

If a forearm pronates then the person is said to have pronator drift on that side reflecting a contra-lateral pyramidal tract lesion. A lesion in the cerebellum produces a drift upwards.

References[edit | edit source]

  1. Anderson NE, Mason DF, Fink JN, Bergin PS, Charleston AJ, Gamble GD (April 2005). Detection of focal cerebral hemisphere lesions using the neurological examination. J. Neurol. Neurosurg. Psychiatr. 76 (4): 545–9.
  2. Pronator drift. URL: Accessed On: October 23, 2008.
  3. The Precise Neurological Exam. URL accessed on 2009-11-28.

External links[edit | edit source]

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