What are the causes of downbeat nystagmus?

Updated: Oct 17, 2018
  • Author: Christopher M Bardorf, MD, MS; Chief Editor: Edsel Ing, MD, MPH, FRCSC  more...
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Answer

Downbeat nystagmus

  • Lesions of the vestibulocerebellum and underlying medulla, including the following:

    • Arnold-Chiari malformation

    • Demyelination (eg, multiple sclerosis) [14]

    • Microvascular disease with vertebrobasilar insufficiency

    • Brain stem encephalitis

    • Tumors at the foramen magnum (eg, meningioma, cerebellar hemangioma)

    • Trauma

    • Drugs (eg, alcohol, lithium, antiseizure medications)

    • Nutritional (eg, Wernicke encephalopathy, parenteral feeding, magnesium deficiency)

  • Heat stroke

  • Approximately 50% have no identifiable cause.


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