[Skip to Navigation]
July 1955

Statistical Control Studies in neurology: VI. Bell's Phenomenon

Author Affiliations

New York

From the Neuropsychiatric Service of the Morrisania City Hospital, and the Department of Neurology, New York Medical College.

AMA Arch NeurPsych. 1955;74(1):97-99. doi:10.1001/archneurpsyc.1955.02330130099012

According to Majoros,1 Soemmerring described upward movement of the eyeballs with closure of the lids in 1801, prior to Bell's2 publication of 1823. However, since Bernhardt's3 suggestion of 1898, Bell's name has been associated with this sign. It will most likely continue to be known as Bell's phenomenon and will be so designated in this study.

The presence or absence of this sign may be of clinical value. Thus, Marguliès4 stated that the absence of Bell's phenomenon can be used to distinguish hysterical from organic facial paralysis. Bielschowsky5 emphasized that the intactness of this sign with the absence of upward movement of the eyeballs on voluntary gaze differentiates a supranuclear from a nuclear lesion in the brain stem. However, in view of the absence of Bell's phenomenon in many patients with no known neurologic disorders, two large series, one of patients and one of healthy