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Orbicularis oculi reflex in coma: clinical, electrophysiological, and pathological correlations
  1. Lynn W. Lyon,
  2. Jun Kimura2,
  3. William F. McCormick3
  1. Department of Neurology (Neurosensory Center), College of Medicine, University of Iowa, Iowa City, U.S.A.
  2. Department of Pathology (Division of Neuropathology), College of Medicine, University of Iowa, Iowa City, U.S.A.


    The orbicularis oculi reflex was studied in 48 comatose patients and the results were correlated with clinical and pathological findings. The late component of the reflex was absent or of minimal amplitude in all cases regardless of the site of lesions, reflecting a diffuse suppression of the reticular system rather than a specific or local block in the brain-stem. Alteration of the early component of the reflex, on the other hand, generally indicated primary or secondary structural changes in the pons, although reversible functional or pharmacological block of pontine conduction was also documented.

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    • 2 Present address: Department of Medicine (Neurology), University of Manitoba, and the Department of EEG, Winnipeg General Hospital, Winnipeg, Manitoba.

    • 3 Reprint requests: Dr. McCormick, Division of Neuropathology, University Hospitals, Iowa City, Iowa 52240, U.S.A.

    • 1 The Neurosensory Center is supported by Program-Project Grant No. NS03354 of the National Institute of Neurological Diseases and Stroke, Bethesda, Maryland. Neurosensory Center Publication No. 219.

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