NINDS Opsoclonus Myoclonus Information Page: NINDS


Article title: NINDS Opsoclonus Myoclonus Information Page: NINDS
Main condition: Opsoclonus Myoclonus
Conditions: Opsoclonus Myoclonus
What is Opsoclonus Myoclonus?
Opsoclonus myoclonus is a rare neurological disorder characterized by unsteady gait, intention tremor (rhythmic, involuntary motions of the limbs during voluntary movements), myoclonus (brief, shock-like muscle spasms), and opsoclonus (irregular, rapid, horizontal and vertical eye movements). Other symptoms may include dysphasia (difficulty speaking), dysarthria (poorly articulated speech), mutism (inability to speak), hypotonia (decreased muscle tone), lethargy, irritability, or malaise (a vague feeling of bodily discomfort). Opsoclonus myoclonus may occur in association with tumors or viral infections.

Is there any treatment?
Treatment for opsoclonus myoclonus may include corticosteroids or ACTH (adrenocorticotropic hormone). In cases where there is a tumor present, treatment such as chemotherapy, surgery, or radiation may be required.

What is the prognosis?
The prognosis for opsoclonus myoclonus varies depending on the symptoms and the presence and treatment of tumors. With treatment of the underlying cause of the disorder, there may be an improvement of symptoms. Spontaneous remissions (unexplained lack of disease activity) may also occur. Generally the disorder is not fatal.

What research is being done?
The NINDS supports and conducts research on movement disorders such as opsoclonus myoclonus. Current research is attempting to clarify and expand the knowledge about movement disorders, and to find ways to prevent and treat these disorders.

Selected references

Asbury, A, et al (eds)
Diseases of the Nervous System: Clinical Neurobiology vol. II, 2nd edition, W.B. Saunders Co., Philadelphia, pp. 1109-1110 (1992)

Bradley, W, et al (eds)
Neurology in Clinical Practice: The Neurological Disorders vol. II, 2nd edition, Butterworth-Heinemann, Boston, pp. 1167-1168 (1996)

Pranzatelli, M.
The Neurobiology of the Opsoclonus-Myoclonus Syndrome Clinical Neuropharmacology, 15:3; 186-228 (1992)

Rowland, L (ed)
Merritt's Textbook of Neurology 9th edition, Williams & Wilkins, Baltimore, pp. 703-704 (1995)


Opsoclonus Myoclonus Support Network, Inc.
c/o 420 Montezuma Way
West Covina, CA 91791
Tel: 626-339-7949

National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD)
P.O. Box 8923
(100 Route 37)
New Fairfield, CT 06812-8923
Tel: 203-746-6518 800-999-NORD (6673)
Fax: 203-746-6481

This fact sheet is in the public domain. You may copy it.Provided by:
The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
National Institutes of Health
Bethesda, MD 20892

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