Clinical features of myoclonus
Myoclonus is a syndrome characterized by lightning-like muscle jerks. The muscle jerks are strong enough to cause a movement of the involved body part. Myoclonus may involve all muscles of the body, or may be isolated to one or more muscles such as those of the palate or diaphragm. In some cases, myoclonic movements may be stimulus sensitive, occurring in response to a sensory stimulus or sudden noise. The diagnosis of myoclonus is made following a detailed history and physical assessment. Diagnostic tests may be required for accurate diagnosis.
Causes of myoclonus
There are a number of causes of myoclonus. In some cases the condition may be hereditary. Some patients have myoclonus as part of a widespread brain disorder, including changes in thinking and memory and often epileptic seizures. In others, myoclonus relates to an underlying brain or spinal cord disorder or injury. Drugs can occasionally cause significant myoclonus.
Treatment of Myoclonus
In some cases, treatment of an underlying disease or removal of an offending medication can help myoclonus. In other cases, oral medications must be used. These include clonazepam, valproic acid and hydroxytryptophan.
Neurologists work closely with neuropsychologists, nurses and other staff to provide the best possible care available to patients with myoclonus. Our researchers are also conducting studies to further our understanding of myoclonus. Get more information about current clinical trials.