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BrainWaves #170 Myoclonus and neurodegenerative diseases

MedLink Neurology Podcast is delighted to feature selected episodes from BrainWaves, courtesy of James E Siegler MD, its originator and host. BrainWaves is an academic audio podcast whose mission is to educate medical providers through clinical cases and topical reviews in neurology, medicine, and the humanities, and episodes originally aired from 2016 to 2021.

Originally released: September 3, 2020

Myoclonus is the most etiologically nonspecific motor manifestation of neurologic and systemic disease. It’s like slurred speech or altered mental status. But in the appropriate context, it can become a useful clue in your differential diagnosis. Dr. John Caviness of the Mayo Clinic joins Jim Siegler this week for a discussion on this abnormal movement and what it may indicate.

Produced by James E Siegler and John Caviness. Music courtesy of Kevin McLeod and E’s Jammy Jams. “Endings” and “What’s the Angle” were produced by Shane Ivers ( The opening theme was composed by Jimothy Dalton. Sound effects by Mike Koenig and Daniel Simion. Unless otherwise mentioned in the podcast, no competing financial interests exist in the content of this episode. BrainWaves' podcasts and online content are intended for medical education only and should not be used for clinical decision-making. Be sure to follow us on Twitter @brainwavesaudio for the latest updates to the podcast.


Caviness JN. Myoclonus and neurodegenerative disease--what's in a name? Parkinsonism Relat Disord 2003;9(4):185-92. PMID 12618052

Caviness JN. Parkinsonism & related disorders. Myoclonus. Parkinsonism Relat Disord 2007;13 Suppl 3:S375-84. PMID 18267267

Caviness JN. Pathophysiology and treatment of myoclonus. Neurol Clin 2009;27(3):757-77, vii. PMID 19555830

Caviness JN. Myoclonus. Continuum (Minneap Minn) 2019;25(4):1055-80. PMID 31356293

Levy A, Chen R. Myoclonus: pathophysiology and treatment options. Curr Treat Options Neurol 2016;18(5):21. PMID 27039330

Zutt R, van Egmond ME, Elting JW, et al. A novel diagnostic approach to patients with myoclonus. Nat Rev Neurol 2015;11(12):687-97. PMID 26553594

We believe that the principles expressed or implied in the podcast remain valid, but certain details may be superseded by evolving knowledge since the episode’s original release date.

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