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Re: myoclonus

Posted by dj on March 5, 2001, at 20:02:23

In reply to Re: Med Problems (So what else is new), posted by Shirley1 on March 5, 2001, at 19:36:44

> I'm curious, what is myoclonus? It's not in my > dictionary.

I was curious too, so I plugged it into and came up with this site: and this definition:

Myoclonus describes both a symptom and a disease. The disease myoclonus ("myo") muscle ("clonus") jerk, describes a brief, sudden, singular, shock-like muscle contraction that refers to a condition characterized by myoclonus. Myoclonus arises from damage to the central nervous system, which comprises the brain and spinal cord. Myoclonus is activated by an electrical discharge originating in the central nervous system, which is transmitted through peripheral nerves to produce the sudden muscle contractions.

Myoclonic jerks can cause disability by interrupting normal posture or movement. Recurrent or severe myoclonic jerking is characterized by frequent forceful uncontrollable muscle contractions of any body part, or the entire body, making independent motor function impossible. Patients severely afflicted with myoclonus may be unable to stand or ambulate, reach or grasp objects, feed or dress themselves, speak, or even direct their gaze because of the involuntary muscle jerking interfering with all of these functions. Myoclonus is often triggered by movement. Patients may manifest no myoclonus at rest or when asleep, yet may experience uncontrolled jerking when attempting to move. The brief positive muscle contractions of myoclonus are often accompanied with sudden, unexpected inhibitions of muscle contraction, or lapses of posture. This phenomenon, termed negative myoclonus, makes standing, walking, reaching, or grasping objects very difficult.

The diagnostic approach to a patient with myoclonus has a dual objective; identifying the site of origin of the myoclonus within the nervous system, and establishing the cause. Clinicians are able to categorize myoclonus on the basis of its distribution over the body, its electrophysiological characteristics, and its etiology. Electrical recording techniques can often localize the source of myoclonus to the surface of the brain, deep brain structures, or the spinal cord."




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