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August 1966

The Effect of Age and Neurological Disease on the Ankle Jerk

Author Affiliations

From the Neurology and Radioisotope Services, Veterans Administration Hospital, and departments of neurology and internal medicine, College of Medicine, University of Cincinnati, Ohio.

Arch Neurol. 1966;15(2):147-150. doi:10.1001/archneur.1966.00470140037005

THE ANKLE JERK is useful for the diagnosis of thyroid gland dysfunction. Lengthening of the reflex time in myxedema was thought to be independent of nervous system influences.1 Previous studies reported the "reflex time" measured from the onset of the stimulus to half relaxation. This measurement was the sum of several factors: latency, speed of contraction, and half relaxation time of the muscle, each one of which could have been independently affected by age of the subjects or disorders in the central or peripheral nervous systems.

It was thought worthwhile, therefore, to determine whether these phases of the reflex changed with age or were influenced by neurological disease.

Materials and Methods  There were 102 subjects studied, including 48 controls. The controls were divided into two groups: controls ranging in age from 50 to 95 years in one group and from 9 months to 21 years in the other.

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