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March 1982

Myoclonus in Down's Syndrome: Treatment With Clonazepam

Author Affiliations

Department of Medicine Division of Neurology Southern Illinois University School of Medicine PO Box 3926 Springfield, IL 62708

Arch Neurol. 1982;39(3):195. doi:10.1001/archneur.1982.00510150065020

To the Editor.—  The association of Alzheimer's disease changes with trisomy 21 is well established. Whether these pathologic changes uniformly result in clinical dementia is controversial.1 Blumbergs et al2 described a patient with Down's syndrome who had progressive dementia and generalized myoclonic jerks. We recently observed a similar case, in which clonazepam resulted in a sharp reduction of myoclonus.

Report of a Case.—  A 49-year-old man with Down's syndrome was admitted for intellectual deterioration and possible aspiration pneumonia. Although he had been institutionalized since infancy, the patient had been ambulatory, continent, independent in eating, and capable of some social interaction and speech. For the last four years, there had been gradual loss of speech, loss of interest in his pastimes of reading comic books and watching television, and, finally, loss of ability to feed himself, walk, and recognize his family. Neurologic evaluation was requested for gradual immobility, lethargy

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