Alien Hand Syndrome Causes, Signs and Symptoms, Prevention and Treatment

Alien Hand Syndrome

Have you ever heard about “Alien Hand Syndrome” what is that please don’t be so surprised about this term; it is not the hands of an alien we are talking about. Let us take a look at what is alien hand syndrome. A German neurologist and psychiatrist Dr. Kurt Goldstein was first discovered this disorder in 1908. However, there was no clear definition for this syndrome until 1972.

Alien hand syndrome occurs in patients where the 2 brain hemispheres are surgically separated or if there is an infection in the brain after a surgery. This syndrome can also occur after infections, strokes or surgery of any brain area beside of the hemisphere.

Alien hand syndrome is also known as an Anarchic hand syndrome a psychology type of apraxia, is a bizarre neurological disorder. One patient reported that her left hand choked her neck and hit her face and shoulder involuntarily.

Anarchic Hand syndrome is a rare neurological disorder which one hand functions involuntarily with the patient completely unaware of its action. However, only about 40 to 50 cases have been recorded since that particular time. (Charles W, Bryant, 2007). Do you know Alien hand syndrome has many different types of name?

  • Anarchic Hand
  • Wayward Hand
  • Alien Limb Phenomenon
  • Intermanual Conflict
  • Gropiing-Grasping Reaction
  • Diagnostic Dyspraxia
  • Magnetic Apraxia
  • Unilateral Apraxia

Causes: So, what are the causes of alien hand syndrome? Is it related to the brain?

  • Corpus callosum anarchic hand syndrome can happen after a surgery to the corpus callosum mainly to treat Epilepsy.
  • Massive injuries to the focal cerebrum which is caused by cerebral hemispheric stroke can lead to alien hand syndrome.
  • Some alien hand syndrome cases also occurred due to degenerative dementing illness such as Alzheimer’s disease.


Signs and Symptoms: Let’s find out what are the symptoms of Anarchic Hand syndrome:

  • Inability to feel and control over hands movement.
  • Involuntary reaching and grasping.
  • Attempting to choke or tearing the clothes.
  • Involuntarily stuffing food into the mouth.
  • Preventing the normal hand from completing simple task.

How alien syndrome can be diagnosed:

  • Checking their medical history
  • Doing a CT scan on them
  • Having a physical examination
  • Home diagnostic e.g. Nerve Neuropathy

Treatment: Are there any specific treatments for alien syndrome? Unfortunately until today, there is no specific treatment for alien syndrome. Researchers did not manage to find the cure yet, but they claimed that they can prevent from reoccurring.


  • Keep the affected (alien) hand busy by holding, for instance, a cane, umbrella, briefcase, etc while walking. By keeping it busy, the affected hand will never pop into automatic action.
  • Blindfold it in which, the affected hand be covered by gloves or mitten to make the hand ‘blind’. In other words, make the hand stay put as they did not see the environment.
  • Drugs like clonazepam and botulinium

The prognosis of alien hand syndrome, so that can patients with this medical condition control it. Gradually recovery from alien hand syndrome can occur if only one hemisphere of the brain has been injured.

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