Alien Hand Syndrome

  • Anhar HassanEmail author
  • Keith A. Josephs
Behavior (H Kirshner, Section Editor)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on Behavior


Alien hand syndrome (AHS) is a rare disorder of involuntary limb movement together with a sense of loss of limb ownership. It most commonly affects the hand, but can occur in the leg. The anterior (frontal, callosal) and posterior variants are recognized, with distinguishing clinical features and anatomical lesions. Initial descriptions were attributed to stroke and neurosurgical operations, but neurodegenerative causes are now recognized as most common. Structural and functional imaging and clinical studies have implicated the supplementary motor area, pre-supplementary motor area, and their network connections in the frontal variant of AHS, and the inferior parietal lobule and connections in the posterior variant. Several theories are proposed to explain the pathophysiology. Herein, we review the literature to update advances in the understanding of the classification, pathophysiology, etiology, and treatment of AHS.


Alien limb Stroke Corticobasal syndrome Frontal Callosal Parietal 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

Anhar Hassan and Keith A. Josephs declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent

This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.


Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance

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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of NeurologyMayo ClinicRochesterUSA

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