Journal of Neurology

, Volume 250, Issue 10, pp 1145–1151 | Cite as

The clinical expression of primary dystonia

  • Alberto AlbaneseEmail author


Dystonia (from the Greek, “altered muscle tone”) refers to sustained and vigorous contractions forcing a body region into an abnormal position that is consistently present. Dystonic postures and movements can variably combine to produce a wide spectrum of clinical presentations. The movement can affect one, two or more body regions, as in focal, segmental or generalised dystonia. Dystonia arising in childhood tends to progress to a generalised form; adult-onset dystonia, instead, is often focal or segmental. Dystonic movements have specific features that can be recognised by clinical observation, such as speed, consistency, predictability, variability and relationship with voluntary movement. Sensory tricks and gestes antagonistes are manoeuvres that specifically alleviate dystonic movements and postures thereby providing diagnostic clues. The diagnosis of primary dystonia requires the observation of a consistent clinical picture.

Key words

dystonia diagnosis clinical features genetics 


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Copyright information

© Steinkopff Verlag 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Istituto Nazionale Neurologico Carlo BestaUniversità Cattolica del Sacro CuoreMilanoItaly
  2. 2.Istituto Nazionale NeurologicoMilanoItaly

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