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Keywords:

  • olivopontocerebellar atrophy;
  • polysomnography;
  • rhythmic involuntary movement;
  • sleep

We report on a 54-year-old woman with an 8 or so year history of olivopontocerebellar atrophy associated with the rhythmic involuntary movements of the left upper and lower limbs, and cervical region. Surface electromyogram of the left upper limb revealed rhythmicity (about 3 Hz) and reciprocity between antagonistic muscles, which disappeared on polysomnography at all sleep stages including rapid eye movement sleep without atonia. These were characterized by the co-existence of rhythmic skeletal myoclonus and parkinsonian tremor. These findings suggest that a disturbance of the striatonigral system as well as the dentato-rubro-olivary circuit may be involved in these movements. It also seems that their fate is dependent on the level of wakefulness and that the ascending reticular activating system also plays a role in the development of these movements.