What are the Symptoms of Opsoclonus Myoclonus?

By  ,  Onlymyhealth editorial team
Oct 11, 2012
Quick Bites

  • Opsoclonus myoclonus syndrome causes sleep disturbances.
  • The patient may also suffer from drooling and lethargy.
  • Opsoclonus myoclonus syndrome also causes vomiting.
  • It may also cause strabismus, a condition in which the eyes are not aligned.

Opsoclonus myoclonus syndrome is a very rare neurological disease that breaks down the autoimmune process which involves the nervous system. Even though OMS can develop at any age, it mostly involves children under the age of three years. Most children who have OMS have a normal birth as well as development until the age of 12-36 months.

At this point, something turns the immune system on an overdrive and it fails to shut itself down. Half of all the OMS cases tend to happen in association with neuroblastoma, a type of cancer of the sympathetic nervous system that occurs in infants as well as children. When the neuroblastoma cannot be found, it starts to attack the base of the brain. Different parts of the body thus get affected, causing a lot of problems for the body. These include:

•    speech impairment
•    affected gross and fine motor functions
•    vision problems
•    severe balance problems.


OMS tends to commonly be mistaken for other illnesses such as cerebellar ataxia or the inner ear infections. Prompt diagnosis is required to accurately diagnose or determine the severity of the long-term impact that this disease can have on the child. The symptoms of OMS include the following:

•    Unpredictable fast eye movements without intersaccadic quick rotation of the eyes’ intervals.
•    Ataxia both truncal and appendicular Dysphasia, this is a language disorder in which an impairment of speech and of comprehension of speech that is characterised by brain damage.
•    Sleep disturbances.
•    Mutism or a language disorder in which the person does not speak despite there being an  evidence of speech ability in the past, often a part of the larger psychological or neurological disorder.
•    Lethargy or malaise
•    Drooling
•    Strabismus, a condition in which the eyes are not properly aligned
•    Vomiting
•    Myoclonus, a brief and voluntary twitching of muscle or a group of muscles.


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