In this experiment, I tested stretch reflexes and cutaneous reflexes of a healthy individual. Reflexes are involuntary responses to a sensory stimulus to a specific location. The stimulus triggers a response from the body’s nervous system. The level of neuron processing can be either spinal, where the highest level of processing occurs in the spinal cord, or cranial, involving the brain. This experiment tested both spinal reflexes, which included muscle spindle stretch reflexes, and cranial reflexes, which includes the pupillary reflex. If under or over exaggeration of the reflexes occur, then it is a sign that the central nervous system is not functioning correctly. The hypothesis was that the subject is a healthy individual with no central nervous system (CNS) damage, so it is expected that the responses to the reflexes would be within the normal range of a healthy adult. The normal response to a stimulus of the stretch muscles would be a small movement of the joint. For the cutaneous reflexes, the plantar reflex would stimulate the curling of the toes in a healthy adult, and the cilospinal reflex would stimulate the dilation of the pupils in a healthy adult.
The subject used was a thirty three year old healthy male. The reflex tests were assessed consecutively, starting with the stretch reflexes, then the cutaneous reflexes and ending with the ciliospinal reflexes. The stretch reflexes were conducted while the subject was sitting on a chair with their feet dangling. The subject was instructed to relax and remain comfortable. The first stretch reflex to be assessed was the patellar muscle, which is also known as the knee jerk reflex. In order to test this reflex, the handle of a silverware knife was use...
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... the biceps and triceps resulted in a less than average response from the subject. This could be an indication of CNS damage, but it is more likely an error on the part of the experimenter. If the tendon were not struck in the correct location, then it would have affected the results. Furthermore, a twitch of the biceps and the triceps can be difficult to observe, so the biceps and triceps may have exhibited a normal response, but it was not observed. The results of the plantar reflex and ciliospinal reflex were normal, which supported the hypothesis that the subject has no damage to the central nervous system. If the toes had instead flexed and the pupils had contracted then this would have been instead indication of damage to the central nervous system. Overall, the results support the hypothesis that the subject does not have damage to the central nervous system.
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