BACKGROUND: Many different oligosynaptic reflexes are known to originate in the lower brainstem which share phenomenological and neurophysiological similarities.
OBJECTIVE: To evaluate and discuss the differences and aberrancies among these reflexes, which are hard to discern clinically using neurophysiological investigations with the help of a case report.
METHODS: We describe the clinical and neurophysiological assessment of a young man who had a childhood history of opsoclonus-myoclonus syndrome with residual mild ataxia and myoclonic jerks in the distal extremities presenting with subacute onset total body jerks sensitive to sound and touch (in a limited dermatomal distribution), refractory to medications.
RESULTS: Based on clinical characteristics and insights gained from neurophysiological testing we could identify a novel reflex of caudal brainstem origin.
CONCLUSIONS: The reflex described is likely an exaggerated normal reflex, likely triggered by a dolichoectatic vertebral arterial compression and shares characteristics of different reflexes known to originate in caudal brainstem, which subserve distinctive roles in human postural control.