Moebius Syndrome - Dream Health

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Saturday 4 July 2015

Moebius Syndrome

Moebius Syndrome – Rare Neurological Condition

Moebius syndrome, a rare form of neurological condition affects the muscles which controls the facial expression as well as the eye movement. The symptoms and signs of this ailment tend to be present right from birth. The most common feature of this disorder is weakness or paralysis of the facial muscles and the person affected lacks facial expression and are unable to smile, frown or raise their eyebrows. The weakness of the muscle causes issues with feeding which becomes obvious in initial stage of infancy. Several individuals with Meobius syndrome have small chin when they are born and small mouth with short or unusually shaped tongue while the roof of the mouth could also have an abnormal opening or cleft palate, or is high and arched.

 These abnormalities result in problems with their speech. Dental abnormalities like missing and misaligned teeth are also some common signs. Moebius syndrome also has an impact on muscles which control the back and forth eye movement and those affected tend to move their head from side to side while reading or following movement of objects. They also have problem in making eye contact and their eyes may not look in the same direction. Besides this, the eyelids may not close completely while sleeping or blinking, resulting in dry or irritated eyes.

Bone Abnormalities in Hands & Feet

In addition, Moebius syndrome also has bone abnormalities in the hands and feet with weak muscle tone and hearing loss where the affected person often tends to show delayed development of motor skills, though eventually they are able to acquire these skills. Cause of this disorder is not known though the condition could result from a mixture of environmental and genetic factors. Researchers have not acknowledged any precise gene which could be connected to this condition, though the disorder tends to be related with changes in certain regions of chromosomes 3, 10 or 13 in certain families.

Some medications consumed during pregnancy and abuse of drugs could also be the result of this ailment. Several of the signs and symptoms are the outcome of the absence or underdevelopment of cranial nerves VI and VII and these nerves that appear from the brainstem at the back of the brain, are responsible for back and forth eye movement as well as the facial expressions. Disorder of these nerves could also affect other cranial nerves which are important for speech, swallowing and chewing.

No Course of Medical Treatment, But Supportive 

Abnormalities in the development of cranial nerves could result in the weakness of facial muscle or paralysis which is typical of Moebius syndrome. There does not seem to be any course of medical treatment for Moebius syndrome, though treatment is supportive and in accordance with the symptoms. In case of difficulty while nursing, infants may need feeding tubes or special bottles for adequate nutrition. Speech therapy, physical and occupational could improve their motor skills in coordination and lead to improved control in speech and eating abilities.

 Regular lubrication of eye drops could be helpful to overcome dry eyes which could result in impaired blinking. For correction of crossed eyes, protection of the cornea through tarsorraphy and improvement of limb and jaw deformities, surgery could be done. At times, `smile surgery’ as called by the media is done wherein muscle transfers are grafted from the thigh to the corners of the mouth, to help in the ability to smile, and the procedure seems to be a complex one which could take around 12 hours for each side of the face. Moreover, the surgery cannot be considered as a `cure’ but it could improve the ability of other facial expressions.

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