Myoclonus and epilepsies

Indian J Pediatr. 1997 Sep-Oct;64(5):583-602. doi: 10.1007/BF02726110.


The possible associations of myoclonic phenomenae, progressive or non-progressive encephalopathies and epileptic features are reviewed, with special emphasis on pediatric age. This leads to recognize the following five groups of conditions: (1) Myoclonus without encephalopathy and without epilepsy; (2) Encephalopathies with non-epileptic myoclonus; (3) Progressive encephalopathies presenting myoclonus seizures of epileptic syndromes (Progressive myoclonus epilepsies); (4) Epileptic encephalopathies with myoclonic seizures; (5) Myoclonic epilepsies. Within the first group, which also includes physiologic myoclonus, a more thorough description of "Benign sleep myoclonus of newborn" and "Benign myoclonus of early infancy" is given. Characteristics of group 2 are "Kinsbourne Syndrome" and certain types of "Hyperekplexia" which pose interesting differential diagnosis with stimulus-sensitive epilepsies. In group 3, the concept of progressive encephalopathies is stressed. The fourth group refers to severe epilepsies, mainly on infancy and childhood, which lead to mental retardation irrespective of their aetiology. Group 5 comprises the true myoclonic epilepsies, differentiating syndromes recognized as idiopathic--such as "Benign myoclonic epilepsy of infancy" and "Juvenile myoclonic epilepsy"--from those which are cryptogenic and carry a more cautious prognosis--as "Cryptogenic myoclonic and myoclonoastatic epilepsies" and "Severe myoclonic epilepsy of infancy". Other epileptic syndromes not usually considered as myoclonic epilepsies, but presenting sometimes as myoclonic seizures, are finally referred.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Electroencephalography
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Myoclonic Epilepsies, Progressive / diagnosis*
  • Myoclonic Epilepsies, Progressive / physiopathology
  • Myoclonic Epilepsy, Juvenile / diagnosis*
  • Myoclonic Epilepsy, Juvenile / physiopathology
  • Myoclonus / diagnosis*
  • Myoclonus / physiopathology