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Dystonia could be caused by genetics as a result of many syndromes, or it can be acquired due to an infectious, environmental or disease-related damaged brain. Different types that cause dystonia can be viewed as an adverse effect of medication.

Abrasions to the nervous system particularly to the region of the brain referred to as the basal ganglia could result in a loss of coordination across different muscles. The muscles then inexplicably twist or undergo regular movements, or body postures that are irregular referred to as dystonic movements.

In some instances of dystonia, there is no reason for it to be specific. It can happen randomly without obvious reason, and without any familial history of the disorder (sporadically). In many instances, the root reason for dystonia is not yet known (idiopathic).

  • Numerous genes have been linked with dystonia inherited and researchers are constantly trying to identify additional genes and markers for genes.
  • Genetic factors also are thought to be involved in the development of idiopathic or acquired dystonia, particularly in those who have a parent with a different form of the disorder.
  • The affected individuals could be at risk of a genetic predisposition to developing the disorder.
  • A person with a genetic predisposition to develop a condition has inherited genes (or genes) for the condition however, the gene might not be expressed until it is activated by environmental or genetic factors (complex genetics).

In some instances, the dystonia is due to a specific reason (acquired dystonia). Dystonia that is acquired are:

  • A brain injury (particularly caused by a lack of oxygen) in or around the moment of the birth (the period between birth and perinatal) and carbon monoxide poisoning
  • Certain infections like tuberculosis, measles, or herpes simplex Encephalitis
  • Reactions to poisoning by heavy metals
  • Certain medicines, including caffeine, antiepileptics drugs, antidepressants, antipsychotic amphetamines, antihistamines, antihistamines, and oral contraceptives.
  • Different vascular disorders, such as stroke and malformations, or hemorrhaging (profuse excessive bleeding)

Additionally, dystonia may be caused by other diseases that affect the nervous system of the central nerve (Huntington’s disease as well as Parkinson’s disease, and Wilson’s disease).

Other risk factors include the following:

  • Age While the condition is a possibility for people at any age, it typically begins around thirty years of age.
  • Sex Females are much more likely to suffer from cervical dystonia than males.

Scientists are still unable to pinpoint the exact biochemical process within the body which triggers symptoms. Studies are ongoing to identify the precise role that environmental, genetic, and other influences contribute to the process of developing the disorder. Recent research suggests that the mutation in the DYT1 gene can increase the risk of a child developing dystonia. Other genetic variations could be related to dystonia.

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How can dystonia be defined?

Dystonia refers to the presence of unusual (often uncomfortable) bodily movements. These can include a specific area or body part hands or the head, for example, limbs or the whole body. Dystonic movements tend to be patterns and vary from mild to extreme muscle contractions.

Dystonia can be caused by a function or structural change in neural circuits in the central nervous system. It may affect various regions in the body like the eyelids, face jaw, neck, vocal cords, torso arms, hands, feet, or legs.

The primary symptoms of dystonia are muscle overactivation that causes muscle contraction. The symptoms usually progress through phases, but at first, they occur in voluntary movements or during emotional or physical tension. The symptoms can progress to dystonic postures or uncontrollable actions when moving or sitting down.

Other symptoms of dystonia include:

  • The muscle contracture is involuntary and occurs only when there is a desire to move
  • Muscles contract only when performing a particular job
  • The neck is twisted involuntarily or movement of a leg or arm or blinking
  • A slurred voice, as well as difficulties, swallowing
  • Voice tremors
  • The body part becomes stuck in an unnatural position, and not being able to move it
  • Repeated body postures, including the neck arching or back
  • The movement can be temporarily relieved by movement or touch
  • A voluntary movement on either side triggers an involuntary movement on the other side.

What are the treatments for dystonia?

At present, there is no cure for dystonia. Doctors can recommend a customized dystonia treatment based on the severity or location, as well as its interference with the patient’s daily activities.

The treatment for dystonia could consist of:

Oral medicines:

  • In general, they offer only a small amount of improvements.
  • The most frequently used medicines are Clonazepam and tetrabenazine. They also have anticholinergics and some neuroleptics.

Botulinum toxin:

  • Local infiltration of botulinum toxin of the muscles involved is the most effective treatment in cases of severe dystonia.
  • It has demonstrated great results, with very few adverse consequences.
  • Infiltrations should be repeated each three or four-month period. In certain cases, an ineffectiveness decrease could occur due to the formation of anti-neutralizing antibodies.

Treatment for a surgical procedure:

  • The procedure is performed using deep brain stimulation surgery by implanting electrodes in the inner pale balloon.
  • The most effective treatment option for generalized dystonia as well as for cervical dystonia is not responsive to infiltration by botulinum toxins or dystonia due to medications
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