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NINDS Disorders is an index of neurological conditions provided by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. This valuable tool offers detailed descriptions, facts on treatment and prognosis, and patient organization contact information for over 500 identified neurological disorders.

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Mobius Syndrome

Mobius syndrome is a rare birth defect caused by the absence or underdevelopment of the 6th and 7th cranial nerves, which control eye movements and facial expression. The first symptom, present at birth, is an inability to suck. Other symptoms can include: feeding, swallowing, and choking problems; excessive drooling; crossed eyes; lack of facial expression; inability to smile; eye sensitivity; motor delays; high or cleft palate; hearing problems; and speech difficulties. Small or absent brain stem nuclei that control the cranial nerves, as well as decreased numbers of muscle fibers, have been reported. Deformities of the tongue, jaw, and limbs, such as clubfoot and missing or webbed fingers, may also occur. As children get older, lack of facial expression and inability to smile become the dominant visible symptoms. The prognosis for otherwise normal development is excellent in most cases.


There is no specific course of treatment for Mobius syndrome. Treatment is supportive and in accordance with symptoms. Infants may require feeding tubes or special bottles to maintain sufficient nutrition. Surgery may correct crossed eyes and improve limb and jaw deformities. Physical and speech therapy often improves motor skills and coordination, and leads to better control of speaking and eating abilities. Plastic reconstructive surgery may be beneficial in some individuals. Nerve and muscle transfers to the corners of the mouth have been performed to provide limited ability to smile.


There is no cure for Mobius syndrome. In spite of the impairments that characterize the disorder, proper care and treatment give many individuals a normal life expectancy.


The NINDS conducts and supports a broad range of research on neurogenetic disorders, including Mobius syndrome. The goals of these studies are to develop improved techniques to diagnose, treat, and eventually cure these disorders.

View a list of studies currently seeking patients.

View more studies on this condition.


Moebius Syndrome Foundation

Non-profit organization that provides individuals and families with a support network; promotes public and professional education about the disorder, and promotes and funds research.

P.O. Box 147
Pilot Grove, MO 65276
Tel: 660-834-3406

March of Dimes

Works to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects and infant mortality through programs of research, community services, education, and advocacy.

1275 Mamaroneck Avenue
White Plains, NY 10605
Tel: 914-997-4488 888-MODIMES (663-4637)
Fax: 914-428-8203

Children's Craniofacial Association

Non-profit organization dedicated to improving the quality of life for people with facial differences and their families.

13140 Coit Road
Suite 517
Dallas, TX 75240
Tel: 800-535-3643 214-570-9099
Fax: 214-570-8811

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