Locked-In Syndrome

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What is locked-in syndrome?

Locked-in syndrome is a rare disorder of the nervous system. People with locked-in syndrome are:

  • Paralyzed except for the muscles that control eye movement
  • Conscious (aware) and can think and reason, but cannot move or speak; although they may be able to communicate with blinking eye movements

Locked-in syndrome may result from:

  • Traumatic brain injury (TBI)
  • Diseases of the circulatory system
  • Diseases that destroy the myelin sheath (a protective covering that surrounds nerve cells)
  • A medication overdose

Where can I find more information about locked-in syndrome?

The following resource may have more information:

Genetic and Rare Diseases (GARD) Information Center

Order publications from the NINDS Catalog
The NINDS Publication Catalog offers printed materials on neurological disorders for patients, health professionals, and the general public. All materials are free of charge, and a downloadable PDF version is also available for most publications.