E-Pearl of the Week: Tactile mitgehen

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February 12, 2013

Several forms of alien hand are seen in corticobasal degeneration. Tactile mitgehen is one type of approach phenomenon. Mitgehen is a German word that means "to go with". Tactile mitgehen is demonstrated when the clinician touches the patient's fingertips with his own. Then, when the examiner retracts his hand; the patient involuntarily moves theirs to try to keep in physical contact with the examiner's hand throughout the range of movement. Although distinct from the grasp reflex as there is no compulsion to grasp the examiner's hand, tactile mitgehen is also associated with frontal-subcortical dysfunction in corticobasal degeneration.


  1. FitzGerald, D et al. Asymmetrical Alien Hands in Corticobasal Degeneration. Movement Disorders 2007; 22: 581-584.

Submitted by: John McKinley MRCP (UK), Fellow in Movement Disorders, Dublin, Ireland

Disclosure: Dr. McKinley reports no disclosures.

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