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Benign Fasciculation Syndrome

Benign Fasciculation Syndrome Causes

Though twitching may sometimes be a symptom of serious diseases such as spinal injury, muscular dystrophy, Lyme's Disease, or Lou Gehrig's Disease, it is much more often due to more benign causes like BFS or over-exertion. Virtually everyone will experience some episodes of benign fasciculation at least once during their lifetime. The cause of BFS is unknown. What is unknown, also, is if it's a disease of the motor nerves, the muscles, or the neuromuscular junction. Mitsikostas and company found that fasciculations "were slightly correlated to the body weight and height and to the anxiety level" in normal subjects. Another factor that seems to be commonly found in many cases is a history of regular strenuous exercise. Attention deficit disorder (ADD) or a related disorder may also be a contributing factor, and people with essential tremor (ET) appear to have a greater than normal likelihood of developing BFS. Additionally, there are likely other genetic and environmental factors that make the patient more susceptible to this syndrome. Some intriguing similarities between BFS and chronic organophosphate poisoning can be found, but these similarities have not been explored. It may be that chronically elevated levels of stress hormones in the body can cause damage similar to the damage caused by organophosphates.

Benign Fasciculation Syndrome Definition

Benign fasciculation syndrome (BFS) is a disorder affecting the neurological system and characterized by fasciculation (or twitching) of various voluntary muscles in the body. The twitching can occur in any voluntary muscle group but is most commonly found in the eyelids, arms, legs, and feet. Even the tongue may be affected by BFS. The twitching may be occasional or may go on almost continuously. Any intentional movement of the affected muscle causes the fasciculation to cease immediately, but may return once the muscle is at rest again.

Benign Fasciculation Syndrome Diagnosis

Diagnosis of BFS is a "diagnosis of exclusion" in which other likely causes for the twitching (mostly forms of neuropathy, such as borreliosis neuropathy, motor neuron diseases, etc) must be eliminated before BFS can be assumed. An important diagnostic tool for BFS is the electromyography (EMG). Since BFS appears to cause no actual nerve damage, as seen on the EMG, a completely normal EMG (or one where the only abnormality seen are the twitching) largely eliminates more serious disorders and strongly suggests BFS.

Benign Fasciculation Syndrome Treatment

A degree of control of the fasciculations may be achieved with the same medication used to treat essential tremor, such as beta-blockers and anti-seizure drugs. The most effective approach to treatment, however, is to treat any accompanying anxiety. There have been no drugs, supplements, or other treatments found to completely control the symptoms.

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