Benign Neonatal Sleep Myoclonus

Repetitive myoclonic jerks occurring during non-REM sleep constitutes a well-described clinical phenomenon. The myoclonic jerks usually begin in the first few weeks of life and resolve by 2 to 3 months. The jerks are typically bilateral and symmetric, involving the arms and legs. However, focality and migration of the myoclonus among different muscle groups has been noted. The EEG and neurologic outcome is normal. The jerking can be significantly repetitive so as to mimic clonic seizures. Helpful features to distinguish these myoclonic jerks from epileptic phenomena include the absence of autonomic activity, no other associated seizure types, myoclonic jerks occurring only at night, and a normal neurologic and developmental examination. In addition, if the child is awakened during an episode of benign neonatal sleep myoclonus, the movements cease. It should be noted that isolated hypnogogic myoclonic jerks can occur in all age groups and is a normal physiologic phenomena (8,9).

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