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Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center (GARD)

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Dancing eyes-dancing feet syndrome

Other Names for this Disease
  • Infantile polymyoclonus
  • Kinsbourne syndrome
  • OMS
  • Opsoclonus myoclonus syndrome
  • Polymyoclonus infantile
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Your Question

I was diagnosed with dancing eyes-dancing feet syndrome as a child. Can you provide me with information regarding symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, and prognosis?

Our Answer

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What is dancing eyes-dancing feet syndrome?

Dancing eyes-dancing feet syndrome, also known as opsoclonus myoclonus syndrome (OMS), is a rare neurologic disorder characterized by ocular (eye), behavioral, sleep, and language problems. The onset is usually abrupt, often severe, and can become chronic.[1] OMS typically occurs in association with tumors (neuroblastomas), or following a viral infection.[2][3][4] Treatment may include corticosteroids or ACTH (adrenocorticotropic hormone). When there is a tumor present, treatment may include chemotherapy, surgery, and/or radiation. When the underlying cause of OMS is treated, symptoms may improve.[2] Relapses are common and may occur without warning.[2][3]
Last updated: 4/16/2014

What are the signs and symptoms of dancing eyes-dancing feet syndrome?

Signs and symptoms of dancing eyes-dancing feet syndrome may include an unsteady, trembling gait; myoclonus (brief, shock-like muscle spasms); and opsoclonus (irregular, rapid eye movements).[2] Myoclonus occurs most when trying to move and worsens with agitation or stimulation, but can also be present at rest. An affected person may appear tremulous, or have jerking movements. The face, eyelids, limbs, fingers, head and trunk may be involved. During the peak of the illness, sitting or standing is difficult or impossible.[3] Other symptoms may include difficulty speaking; poorly articulated speech or an inability to speak; difficulty eating or sleeping; excessive drooling; rage attacks; head tilt; a decrease in muscle tone; malaise; and/or other abnormalities.[2][3] Children may appear to be nervous, irritable or lethargic while adults may have mental clouding (encephalopathy).[3]
Last updated: 4/16/2014

What causes dancing eyes-dancing feet syndrome?

Dancing eyes -dancing feet syndrome is generally caused by the presence of a tumor (such as neuroblastoma) or a viral infection (such as influenza, Epstein-Barr, and Coxsackie B). Other causes of this condition are rare.[2][3]
Last updated: 4/16/2014

How is dancing eyes-dancing feet syndrome diagnosed?

A diagnosis of dancing eyes-dancing feet syndrome is mostly based on the presence of the characteristic signs and symptoms of the condition (i.e. it is mainly a clinical diagnosis). In some cases, laboratory tests for certain antibodies and/or for abnormal white blood cells may also be performed.[3]

The most efficient methods for detecting a neuroblastoma (which is present in many affected people) are MRI with contrast, and/or helical (or spiral) CT scanning.[4]
Last updated: 4/16/2014

How might dancing eyes-dancing feet syndrome be treated?

Treatment for dancing eyes-dancing feet syndrome may include corticosteroids or ACTH (adrenocorticotropic hormone), human intravenous immunoglobulins (IVIG), or immunosuppressive agents.[2][3] In cases where there is a tumor present, treatment such as chemotherapy, surgery, or radiation may be required.[2] In many cases, a combination of the above yields the best result.
Last updated: 11/2/2009

What is the prognosis for individuals with dancing eyes-dancing feet syndrome?

Although individuals may fully recover from the underlying cause of the condition, many individuals retain some level of neurological impairment. Full recovery is more common in cases caused by infections than those due to neuroblastoma. Children with the mildest symptoms have the greatest chance of returning to normal after treatment. For those with moderate severity, myoclonus tends to lessen over time, but coordination may never fully return. Learning and behavioral issues may also remain. Those with severe symptoms have the highest risk for permanent neurological problems.[3] 

Relapses of the neurological symptoms may occur with subsequent illness, fever, stress, medication, anesthesia, discontinuation of immunotherapy or after immunizations. Such relapses are common and may occur more than once. In some cases, many years may elapse between episodes. Relapses should be treated, preferably with the same type of treatment used initially.[3] 
Last updated: 11/2/2009