Brainstem reticular reflex myoclonus (BRRM) is characterized by sudden, generalized, shock-like movements that can be elicited by sensory stimulation. We present a boy, born after 35 weeks gestation, who was diagnosed with neonatal-onset BRRM. Within 1 hr of birth, the patient showed spasticity and generalized clonic movements of all limbs elicited with tactile stimulation anywhere on the body. Surface electromyography showed co-contraction of agonistic and antagonistic muscles, revealing that his generalized clonic movements were tremulous myoclonus in nature. Brain magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) at 21 hrs after birth disclosed high-intensity lesions in the Rolandic area, thalamus, basal ganglia, and brainstem, including the dorsal pons and medulla, the center of BRRM, in T1-weighted images. Follow-up MRI at 1 month revealed dramatic improvement in the pontine lesion. The patient showed gradual remission of the characteristic movements, which disappeared at 1 year of age, but the patient died unexpectedly at 1 year and 3 months. In conclusion, neonatal BRRM arises as a result of severe brainstem injury, and the associated lesions may only be seen temporarily on MRI taken soon after birth.
- Brainstem lesion
- Brainstem reticular reflex myoclonus
- Prenatal brain insult
- Stimulus-sensitive generalized clonic movement
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)