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a condition, chiefly in children, of slow, involuntary, wormlike movements of the fingers, toes, hands, and feet, usually resulting from a brain lesion.
Historical Examples

More unusual is the rhythmical closing and opening of the hand, successively, of athetosis.
A System of Practical Medicine by American Authors, Vol. I Various

(pathol) a condition characterized by uncontrolled rhythmic writhing movement, esp of fingers, hands, head, and tongue, caused by cerebral lesion

1871, from Greek athetos “not fixed, without position or place, set aside” + -osis. Coined by U.S. nerve specialist William Alexander Hammond (1828-1900).

athetosis ath·e·to·sis (āth’ĭ-tō’sĭs)
A constant succession of slow, writhing, involuntary movements of flexion, extension, pronation, and supination of fingers and hands, and sometimes of toes and feet.
ath’e·toid’ or ath’e·to’sic or ath’e·tot’ic (-tŏt’ĭk) adj.


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