• Is there a way to detect if an unborn child has nystagmus and spasmus nutans?


    Question:

    Is there a way to detect if an unborn child has nystagmus (involuntary rapid movement of the eyes) and spasmus nutans (involuntary head bobbing)?


    Answer:

    There are many different causes of nystagmus, most of which cannot be diagnosed prenatally, either by ultrasound or genetic testing, with a few exceptions. Nystagmus may be associated with any malformation of the brain, which could be determined by ultrasound. Spasmus nutans is a specific and rare form of nystagmus that is usually idiopathic (no obvious cause). However, rarely, a brain tumor involving the optic pathways may be present in utero and is associated with spasmus nutans. This would probably be diagnosed on prenatal ultrasound.


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