November 1, 2010
The bobble-head doll syndrome is a rare movement disorder primarily affecting children. It presents as a bobbing motion of the head accentuated by walking. The head bobbing disappears during sleep, and can be stopped volitionally for brief periods. It has been described in association with abnormalities at the base of the brain, including suprasellar cysts, third ventricular cysts, communicating hydrocephalus, cyst of cavum velum interpositum or cavum septum pellucidum, and aqueductal stenosis. While its pathophysiology is uncertain, one theory is that dilatation of the third ventricle impairs the normal functioning of the dorsomedial red nucleus and the dentate-rubro-thalamic pathway.
1. Benton JW, Nellhaus G, Huttenlocher PR, Ojemann RG, Dodge PR. The bobble-head doll syndrome: report of unique tremor associated with third ventricular cyst and hydrocephalus in children. Neurology 1966;16: 725—729.
Submitted by Suresh Subramaniam, M.D., M.Sc.
Disclosure: Dr. Subramaniam has nothing to disclose.
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