Myoclonic jerk


an involuntary contraction of a muscle or a group of muscles, as when dropping off to sleep or getting hiccups

Myoclonic jerks are also a sign of a number of neurological disorders.

See hypnagogic jerk
Word Origin



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  • Myoclonus

    [mahy-ok-luh-nuh s] /maɪˈɒk lə nəs/ noun, Pathology. 1. an abrupt spasm or twitch of a muscle or group of muscles, occurring in some neurological diseases. myoclonus my·oc·lo·nus (mī-ŏk’lə-nəs) n. A sudden shocklike twitching of muscles or parts of muscles without any rhythm or pattern, occurring in various brain disorders. my’o·clon’ic (mī’ə-klŏn’ĭk) adj.

  • Myoclonus epilepsy

    myoclonus epilepsy n. A familial epilepsy beginning in childhood or adolescence and characterized by progressive mental deterioration, by the abrupt or continuous clonus of parts or groups of muscles, and, histologically, by the presence of Lafora bodies in parts of the central nervous system. Also called Lafora body disease, Lafora’s disease.

  • Myoclonus multiplex

    myoclonus multiplex myoclonus mul·ti·plex (mŭl’tə-plěks’) n. A disorder characterized by rapid contractions occurring simultaneously or consecutively in various unrelated muscles. Also called Friedreich’s disease, paramyoclonus, polyclonia, polymyoclonus.

  • Myocyte

    [mahy-uh-sahyt] /ˈmaɪ əˌsaɪt/ noun 1. a contractile cell, especially an elongated cell in sponges that forms a sphincter around body openings. myocyte my·o·cyte (mī’ə-sīt’) n. A muscle cell.

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