Hey You, You Jerk!

I learned a new phrase today; ‘myoclonic jerk’ or to give it its proper name, a myoclonus. Put quite simply it is the involuntary twitch of a muscle or group of muscles. The interesting thing is how it relates so many things together. Remember that feeling when you are falling asleep and you dream you trip, jump and wake up? Well that is a myoclonic jerk, induced by your brain. Sometimes, whilst falling asleep, your brain gets confused at the shutdown your body is going through, thinks you are dying and causes a myoclonus to kick start you again.

Hiccups is another form of myoclonic jerk, presenting in the diaphragm. Despite the fact we have hiccups in the womb, and then through our life, science still doesn’t know what they are for (at the time of writing). It’s also responsible for that ‘someone walked over my grave’ shudder that we all get from time to time.

More serious myoclonus appear in the form of Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, MS or in victims of CJD.There’s no point or moral to this one. I just thought it was interesting. So next time you are falling asleep and dream you fall down the stairs, or your partner ‘jumps’ in their sleep you can say ‘Hey, that’s a myoclonus’

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