Alien Hand Syndrome

13m of CPD
How would you feel if one of your hands began to move and perform actions on its own, and you were completely unable to control it? It would surely be a highly distressing and frustrating experience. As bizarre as it sounds, this condition, known as alien hand syndrome, is a very real and disabling, albeit rare, complication of certain neurological pathologies. So, what exactly is this phenomenon and why does it occur?

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What is this article about?

Alien hand syndrome (AHS) is a rare neurological disorder wherein a person experiences involuntary, purposeful limb movements without having any conscious intention of performing them. Rather than spasms or convulsions, these involuntary movements are purposeful, coordinated and goal-directed actions that appear as if the limb is being controlled by another person.


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Meet the educators

Annette Horton
Annette Horton is a Registered Nurse with over 30 years extensive nursing, rehabilitation and management experience. Since 2004 Annette has held a Nurse Unit Manager position of a regional rehabilitation unit in Queensland. Annette is a member of the Australasian Rehabilitation Nurses Association (ARNA) and has presented several papers at ARNA national conferences. Annette has her own nursing blog entitled Nurseconvo, and more recently has become a contributing writer for Ausmed. Interests include stroke, rehabilitation, continence, leadership and management, coaching and case management.
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Editorial Team
Ausmed’s editorial team is committed to providing high-quality, well-researched and reputable education to our users, free of any commercial bias or conflict of interest. All education produced by Ausmed is developed in consultation with healthcare professionals and undergoes a rigorous review process to ensure the relevancy of all healthcare information and updates to changes in practice. If you have identified an issue with the education offered by Ausmed or wish to submit feedback to Ausmed's editorial team, please email with your concerns.
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What do others think?

227 reviews by Ausmed Learners
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Pamela Boyd
13 Oct 2021
Well done, very interesting - have observed this so good to have an explanation of this.
Krystal Gettys
02 Jun 2022
Great subject
Roy Wheeler
08 Jun 2022
Hong Fung
02 Jun 2022
Nicola Bristow
03 Jun 2022
Great read, i have never come across this before but will be able to recognise the issue in future
Shondell esposito
11 Feb 2023
Janice Chan
02 Jun 2022
I’ve never heard of this condition, glad I came across this article
Claire Hein
19 Apr 2021
Portrait of Cassandra Bond
Cassandra Bond
12 May 2021
Quick and easy to read. Interesting information
Venus Fortaleza
09 Jun 2022
4.5 / 5
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