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Case Rep Neurol. 2012 Sep;4(3):244-7. doi: 10.1159/000346298. Epub 2012 Dec 20.

Stereotypic Movements in Case of Sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease: Possible Role of Anti-NMDA Receptor Antibodies.

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  • 1Department of Neurology, New York Medical College, Valhalla, N.Y., USA.


Sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (sCJD) and anti-NMDA receptor antibody encephalitis (NMDAE) can both produce a rapidly progressive dementia with resulting state of catatonia or akinetic mutism. Both are associated with movement disorders. In published case series, myoclonus appears to be the most frequent movement disorder in sCJD, while stereotypic, synchronized, one-cycle-per-second movements such as arm or leg elevation, jaw opening, grimacing, head turning, and eye deviation are seen in NMDAE. We report a case of a 59-year-old woman with rapidly worsening cognitive disturbance leading to a nearly catatonic state interrupted by stereotypic movements. sCJD was diagnosed via periodic sharp wave complexes on EEG as well as cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) 14-3-3 and tau protein elevation. Characteristic movement disorder of NMDAE was present in absence of ovarian mass or CSF pleiocytosis. Given prior case reports of presence of anti-NMDA receptor antibodies in sCJD, we propose that the movement disorder in this case was caused by anti-NMDA receptor antibodies whose formation was secondary to neuronal damage from prion disease. It is important to consider sCJD even in cases that have some clinical features suggestive of NMDAE.


Akinetic mutism; Anti-NMDA receptor antibody encephalitis; Catatonia; Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease; NMDA; Orofacial dyskinesia; Sporadic Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease; Stereotypies; Tics

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