Eyebrow Spasm

Update item information
Identifier 211-1
Title Eyebrow Spasm
Ocular Movements Rhythmic Eyebrow Spasm; Torsional Nystagmus; Primary Position Left Beating Nystagmus
Creator Shirley H. Wray, M.D., Ph.D., FRCP, Professor of Neurology Harvard Medical School, Director, Unit for Neurovisual Disorders, Massachusetts General Hospital
Contributor Primary Shirley H. Wray, MD, PhD, FRCP, Professor of Neurology, Harvard Medical School; Director, Unit for Neurovisual Disorders, Massachusetts General Hospital
Subject Rhythmic Eyebrow Spasm; Torsional Nystagmus; Primary Position Left Beating Nystagmus; Epileptic Seizures; Tuberous Sclerosis Complex (TSC-2 DNA sequence variant); Bipolar Affective Disorder
Supplementary Materials PowerPoint Presentation: Eyebrow Spasm: http://library.med.utah.edu/NOVEL/Wray/PPT/Eyebrow_Spasm_guest_lecture.ppt Daniel J. Costello, M.D. County Limerick Ireland
Presenting Symptom Episodes of involuntary eye and facial movements since childhood
History This case is published courtesy of Daniel J. Costello, M.D., Department of Neurology, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston. The patient is a 32-year-old right-handed man with an established diagnosis of Tuberous Sclerosis Complex characterized by: - medically intractable epilepsy - developmental delay - structural brain abnormalities (cortical and subcortical tubers, subependymal nodules, subependymal giant cell astrocytomas) - cutaneous manifestations (facial angiofibroma, periungal angiofibromas, hypomelanotic macules, shagreen patches), - retinal phakomas - renal abnormalities (cysts, angiomyolipomas, renal cell carcinoma) - cardiac rhabdomyomas - pulmonary lymphangioleiomyomatosis Past History: - His birth history is unknown - prolonged febrile convulsion age 11 months - convulsive seizures in childhood; stopped in mid-teen years - Psychosis - Bipolar affective disorder - Diabetes Mellitus - Vitamin D deficiency ‎ In 2008, he was referred to the Epilepsy clinic for evaluation of persistent recurrent episodes, which are different to previous convulsions. These began at age of 15 and are highly stereotypic and characterized by: 1. Involuntary rotary movements of his eyes in a clockwise direction accompanied by 2. Synchronous elevation of both eyebrows and usually 3. Accompanied by persistent facial grimacing similar to risus sardonicus. These focal spells last anywhere from 1 minute to 20 minutes but on an average last 7 to 8 minutes during which time he is apparently totally lucid and able to converse normally. They have, however, become problematic and very distressing for him. Therapy: Initially suspecting that these episodes are epileptic seizures, the patient went through a trial of numerous anti-seizure medications including primidone, phenobarbital, phenytoin, lamotrigine, carbamazepine, and sodium valproate. The most successful medication to date is lamotrigine. Re: Tuberous sclerosis complex (TSC-2 gene mutation) This diagnosis was suspected in 1978 (2nd year of life) due to hypomelanotic macules on skin examination. This disorder is characterized by: - medically intractable epilepsy - developmental delay - structural brain abnormalities (cortical and subcortical tubers, subependymal nodules, subependymal giant cell astrocytomas) - cutaneous manifestations (facial angiofibroma, periungal angiofibromas, hypomelanotic macules, shagreen patches), - retinal phakomas - renal abnormalities (cysts, angiomyolipomas, renal cell carcinoma) - cardiac rhabdomyomas - pulmonary lymphangioleiomyomatosis The patient also carries the following diagnoses: - Psychosis - Bipolar affective disorder - Diabetes Mellitus - Vitamin D deficiency There is no past history of medications associated with facial dystonia such as anti-depressant medication. He has not been prescribed lithium. General examination: Blood pressure 138/74 mmHg Dermatological examination shows: Facial adenoma sebaceum Numerous hypomelanotic macules One small shagreen patch on the right lumbar region Neurological examination: The patient has an average to low IQ He is easily distractible and has impaired attention. Speech normal He is able to read and write but, unable to do simple arithmetic or complex tasks that require sustained attention. Cranial nerve examination: Normal In particular he has normal facial movements and facial sensation. Normal tongue and palate movements with no palatal tremor. Motor system: Muscle tone is diffusely increased with a subtle spastic catch Motor strength and trunkal strength normal Deep tendon reflexes symmetric and normal with flexor plantar responses. Sensory examination: Normal No cerebellar ataxia, gait normal, Romberg negative. Neuro-ophthalmological examination: Visual acuity - OD 20/200 due to childhood amblyopia - OS 20/30 Pupils 4 mm OU reactive to light and near fixation. Visual fields full, normal fundus examination. Ocular Motility: Esotropia OD Full eye movements Hypermetric horizontal and vertical saccades Primary position left beating nystagmus Convergence normal Video-EEG monitoring showed no associated epileptiform EEG abnormalities during a period of eyebrow tremor. Brain MRI : In this case showed the typical appearance of numerous subependymoma nodules and a moderate burden of cortical tubers, characteristic of tuberous sclerosis. Figure 1. Axial FLAIR image shows numerous cortical tubers, the largest of which involves the left occipital cortex Figure 2. Coronal FLAIR image shows cortical tuber involving the left occipital cortex Figure 3. Axial T2WI through medulla oblongata demonstrating normal inferior olivary nuclei Differential Diagnosis: 1. Focal seizures of occipital lobe origin The semiology of occipital lobe seizures is variable and may include involuntary, forced eye movements. The duration of these events with retained awareness as well as the lack of epileptiform abnormality on EEG during these events suggests that these episodes are not epileptic in nature. The events have proven refractory to anti-seizure medications. However, none of these features definitively excludes the possibility of partial seizures of occipital lobe origin. 2. Focal facial dystonia The rhythmic eyebrow tremor is at a frequency of about 2 to 3 Hz, and their appearance together with facial grimace and movements raises the possibility of a focal dystonia of some type. Even in the absence of palatal tremor, synchronous with the eyebrow tremor, the possibility remains that this is a manifestation of partial hypertrophy of the inferior olivary nuclei, unilateral or bilateral. Possibly consistent with this hypothesis is the period of status epilepticus in childhood accompanied by prolonged anoxia. Literature Search: We are unaware of any similar case apart from a patient who died following status epilepticus who had identical eyebrow movements prior to death. (Personal communication from a neurologist in Chennai, India)
Clinical This patient, with Tuberous Sclerosis, was filmed at home during a 5 minute episode of rhythmic eyebrow spasms characterized by: Bilateral rhythmic elevation of the brows at a frequency of 2 to 3 Hz. with no facial or tongue movements Unable to suppress eyebrow spasm holding his brows down Between attacks the ocular motility signs are: Esotropia OD Full eye movements Hypermetric horizontal and vertical saccades Primary position left beating nystagmus Normal convergence During the attack he is: A little "tremulous" Alert with normal speech Follows commands fully No incontinence
Neuroimaging MRI in this case illustrates: Figure 1. Axial FLAIR image shows numerous cortical tubers, the largest of which involves the left occipital cortex Figure 2. Coronal FLAIR image shows cortical tuber involving the left occipital cortex Figure 3. Axial T2WI through medulla oblongata demonstrating normal inferior olivary nuclei
Anatomy Multiple cortical and juxta-cortical tubers were evident on imaging. Tubers are seen in the cortex of all four lobes of both cerebral hemispheres. In particular, large tubers are evident at the polar and inferolateral regions of both occipital lobes.
Pathology Tubers are regions of disorganized cortical lamination. On gross pathologic examination, tubers are firm, well-circumscribed, sometimes calcified nodules. On microscopic examination, within the tuber, the normal laminar cortical structure is lost. Tubers contain a heterogeneous population of abnormal and normal appearing neurons, astrocytes, and giant cells. Giant cells are large polygonal or ovoid eosinophilic cells that extend short, thickened processes of unclear identity.
Etiology Tuberous sclerosis complex is a genetic disorder caused by germline mutations in the TSC1 or TSC2 genes. The genetic mutations lead to the formation of hamartomas in multiple organs, including tubers in the brain. The protein products of the TSC1 and TSC2 genes form a complex that is known to inhibit the mammalian target of the rapamycin complex 1 (mTORC1) signaling cascade. This in turn is implicated in the development of hamartomas.
Disease/Diagnosis Tuberous sclerosis complex (TCA2-DNA sequence variant); Rhythmic eyebrow spasm/movement disorder
Treatment This patient has had extensive treatment with various anti-seizure medications and combinations thereof, without consistent benefit. More recently, introduction of lamotrigine has led to partial improvement in the frequency of these episodes.
References 1. Fabbrini G, Defazio G, Colosimo C, Thompson PD, Berardelli A. Cranial movement disorders: clinical features, pathophysiology, differential diagnosis and treatment. Nat Clin Pract Neurol. 2009;5(2):93-105. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19194389 2. Quigg M, Miller JQ. Clinical findings of the phakomatoses: Tuberous sclerosis. Neurology. 2005;65(10):E22-3. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16301474 3. Roach ES, Gomez MR, Northrup H. Tuberous sclerosis complex consensus conference: revised clinical diagnostic criteria. J Child Neurol 1998;13:624-628. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9881533
Contributor Secondary Daniel J. Costello, M.D.; Ray Balhorn, Video Compressionist
Reviewer David Zee, M.D., Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore, MD; Neil Miller, M.D., Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore, MD
Publisher Spencer S. Eccles Health Sciences Library, University of Utah
Date 2009
Type Image/MovingImage
Format video/mp4
Rights Management Copyright 2002. For further information regarding the rights to this collection, please visit: https://NOVEL.utah.edu/about/copyright
Holding Institution Spencer S. Eccles Health Sciences Library, University of Utah, 10 N 1900 E, SLC, UT 84112-5890
Collection Neuro-ophthalmology Virtual Education Library: NOVEL http://NOVEL.utah.edu
Language eng
ARK ark:/87278/s6bg5kmf
Setname ehsl_novel_shw
Date Created 2009-05-27
Date Modified 2017-11-22
ID 188659
Reference URL https://collections.lib.utah.edu/ark:/87278/s6bg5kmf
Back to Search Results