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Mov Disord. 1999 Sep;14(5):865-71.

Idiopathic myoclonus in the oromandibular region during sleep: a possible source of confusion in sleep bruxism diagnosis.

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Centre d'étude sur le Sommeil, Hôpital du Sacré-Coeur, Facultés de médecine et de médecine dentaire, Université de Montréal, Québec, Canada.


As part of a larger study, polysomnographic and audiovisual data were recorded over 2 nights in 41 subjects with a clinical diagnosis of sleep bruxism (SB). Electromyographic (EMG) events related to SB were scored according to standard criteria (Lavigne et al. J Dent Res 1996;75:546-552). Post hoc analysis revealed that rapid shock-like contractions with the characteristics of myoclonus in the jaw muscles were observed in four subjects. EMG bursts characterized as myoclonus were significantly shorter in duration than bursts classified as SB. None of the subjects had any history of myoclonus while awake. Myoclonic episodes were more frequent in sleep stages 1 and 2 than in REM. Half of the episodes contained one or two contractions whereas the other half had three or more repetitive contractions. SB and myoclonus coexisted in one subject. To rule out sleep epilepsy, full electroencephalogram montage was done in three subjects and no epileptic spikes were noted. Our results suggest that approximately 10% of subjects clinically diagnosed as SB could present oromandibular myoclonus during sleep.

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