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Paratonia or gegenhalten is a form of increased muscle tone. It is is classified as a form of hypertonia with an involuntary variable resistance (i.e reduced ability of a muscle to stretch) during passive movement (i.e a movement without effort). So for example if a subjects elbow is extended they will resist and the resistence will increase as the elbow is moved further.
The disease may develop during a period of dementia and the degree of effect is dependent upon the disease's progress. Paratonia was classified very recently by experts, and is unrelated to the much more typical spasticity associated with spastic diplegia and similar forms of cerebral palsy.
As a motor sign it is associated with dysfuntion of the frontal lobes, particularly areas 4 and 6. These have rich subcortical connections and, if particularly compromised, motor paralysis may be a feature.
- ↑ Beaumont J.G., Kenealy, P.M. & Rogers, M.J.C. (1999). The Blackwell Dictionary of Neuropsychology. Oxford:Blackwell
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