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Infantile Automatisms

Infantile automatisms, or neonatal/primitive reflexes, are inborn reflexes that develop in utero, are generally demonstrable at birth, and disappear at defined ages. They are exhibited by normal infants but not in neurologically intact older children and adults. These reflexes develop at specified stages in uterine life and reach their climax at birth or in the immediate postnatal period. They are gradually inhibited by higher centers in the brain during the first several months of postnatal life and are involuntary and necessary for survival, particularly immediately after birth. Understanding infantile automatisms is important not only for pediatricians but also for all clinicians because the presence of these reflexes at a time when they should no longer be present can be indicative of brain injury or dysfunction. ...

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