Myoclonus and epilepsy

Renzo Guerrini, Takeo Takahashi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Epileptic myoclonus can be defined as an elementary electroclinical manifestation of epilepsy involving descending neurons, whose spatial (spread) or temporal (self-sustained repetition) amplification can trigger overt epileptic activity and can be classified as cortical (positive and negative), secondarily generalized, thalamo-cortical, and reticular. Cortical epileptic myoclonus represents a fragment of partial or symptomatic generalized epilepsy; thalamo-cortical epileptic myoclonus is a fragment of idiopathic generalized epilepsy. Reflex reticular myoclonus represents the clinical counterpart of fragments of hypersynchronous epileptic activity of neurons in the brainstem reticular formation. Epileptic myoclonus, in the setting of an epilepsy syndrome, can be only one component of a seizure, the only seizure manifestations, one of the multiple seizure types or a more stable condition that is manifested in a nonparoxysmal fashion and mimics a movement disorder. This complex correlation is more obvious in patients with epilepsia partialis continua in which cortical myoclonus and overt focal motor seizures usually start in the same somatic (and cortical) region. In patients with cortical tremor this correlation is less obvious and requires neurophysiological studies to be demonstrated.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)667-669
Number of pages3
JournalHandbook of Clinical Neurology
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • Epileptic seizures
  • Etiology
  • Idiopathic epilepsy
  • Magnetic resonance imaging
  • Symptomatic epilepsy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Neurology


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