Dystonia. Clinical features, genetics, and treatment

Christine Klein*, Laurie J. Ozelius

*Corresponding author for this work
62 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose of review: The present review covers recent advances in dystonia research related to dystonia genetics and treatment. These have led to the discovery of novel dystonia genes and loci, to changing classification schemes, and to the introduction of improved and new treatment options. Recent findings: Currently 13 different forms of dystonia can be distinguished on a genetic basis (dystonia types 1-13). Recently, a novel gene locus (DYT13) was detected in a family with segmental dystonia, and the gene causing myoclonus-dystonia was identified (SGCE). Furthermore, a novel mutation in the DYT1 gene is associated with a myoclonus-dystonia phenotype. Regarding dystonia treatment, patients refractory to botulinum toxin type A can now be treated with botulinum toxin type B. Selective peripheral denervation remains an effective form of treatment for patients with secondary, but probably not with primary botulinum toxin treatment failure. Finally, a renaissance of functional surgical ablative procedures has taken place, with high frequency deep brain stimulation being introduced in dystonia treatment. Bilateral pallidotomy or pallidal stimulation may provide major benefit especially in patients with generalized, disabling dystonia with the most dramatic improvements in dystonia type 1 patients. Neurostimulation may also be effective in primary segmental axial dystonia, myoclonus-dystonia, and tardive dystonia. Summary: The recent mapping of additional dystonia gene loci, the identification of novel dystonia genes, and the characterization of proteins encoded by these genes have enhanced our understanding of various forms and aspects of the dystonias and have opened up new avenues for research. Treatment options include both medical and surgical therapies, with deep brain simulation being the most recent development.

Original languageEnglish
JournalCurrent Opinion in Neurology
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)491-497
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - 2002


Dive into the research topics of 'Dystonia. Clinical features, genetics, and treatment'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this