Myoclonus refers to a neurologic movement disorder characterized by brief, involuntary, twitching or "shock-like" contractions of a muscle or muscle group. These jerk-like movements may be accompanied by periodic, unexpected interruptions in voluntary muscle contraction, leading to lapses of sustained posture (known as "negative myoclonus").

So-called "positive" and "negative" myoclonus are often seen in the same individuals and may affect the same muscle groups. Myoclonus is often a nonspecific finding, meaning that it may occur in the setting of additional neurologic abnormalities and be associated with any number of underlying conditions or disorders. In other patients, myoclonus appears as an isolated or a primary finding. Depending on the underlying cause and other factors, the shock-like muscle jerks may occur repeatedly or infrequently; may tend to appear under specific circumstances (e.g., with voluntary movements or in response to specific external sensory stimuli); and may affect any body region or regions.


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