If you are like me, you have never actually seen a positive and negative Babinski Reflex on an adult. This video shows a positive reflex on one foot and then a negative reflex on the other foot in the same adult. So, what does a positive Babinski test indicate in an adult? When the Babinski reflex is present in a child older than 2 years or in an adult, it is often a sign of a brain or nervous system disorder. Disorders may include: Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrig disease), Brain tumor or injury, Meningitis, Multiple sclerosis, Spinal cord injury, defect, or tumor, Stroke.
Some thoughts on:
S/S to explore w/Babinski Reflex Test include – Altered mental status, personality, or behavior; neck stiffness; decreased LOC; N & V; fever; chills; change in posture; memory loss; balance problems; numbness or weakness; severe H/A’s; back pain; loss of normal bowel or bladder control.
The symptoms that I have listed can be signs of Meningitis, Brain Tumor, or Spinal Cord Injury. These are some of the disorders that can have a postiive Babinski Reflex test. So I think that if someone is exhibiting symptoms of any of these disorders, it would be wise to do the Babinski Reflex test to rule out the more serious issues. I have always said that medicine is a trial and error thing. You use what you have to rule out things one by one until you come up with the correct answer. The Babinski reflex is more or less just one more tool to help DX a problem from a set of symptoms that a patient presents with.