Alien hand syndrome

Alien hand syndrome (AHS) is a rare neurological disorder that causes hand movement without the person being aware of what is happening or having control over the action. 

The afflicted person may sometimes reach for objects and manipulate them without wanting to do so, even to the point of having to use the healthy hand to restrain the alien hand.

Alien hand syndrome is best documented in cases where a person has had the two hemispheres of their brain surgically separated, a procedure sometimes used to relieve the symptoms of extreme cases of epilepsy. 

It also occurs in some cases after brain surgery, stroke, infection, tumor, aneurysm and specific degenerative brain conditions such as Alzheimer's disease.

The first known case described in the medical literature appeared in a detailed case report published in German in 1908 by the preeminent German neuro-psychiatrist, Kurt Goldstein.

In this paper, Goldstein described a right-handed woman who had suffered a stroke affecting her left side from which she had partially recovered by the time she was seen. 

However, her left arm seemed as though it belonged to another person and performed actions that appeared to occur independent of her will.

The patient complained of a feeling of "strangeness" in relationship to the goal-directed movements of the left hand and insisted that someone else" was moving the left hand, and that she was not moving it herself.

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