Primitive reflexes are a group of reflexes which develop during life in the womb, are fully developed at birth in the full term baby (40 weeks) and are gradually inhibited and transformed into more mature patterns and postural abilities during the first six months of postnatal life.

Primitive reflexes can remain active if there has been damage to higher centres in early life, such as cerebral palsy, or if there is accident or damage to higher brain centres in later life, for example after a stroke, head injury or in degenerative diseases of the central nervous system, such as multiple sclerosis or Alzheimer’s disease. According to medical theory, primitive reflexes should not remain active in the general population beyond six months of age, and if elicited beyond this age are usually considered to be indicative of underlying pathology.

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What are primitive reflexes