Occupational and musicians’ dystonia - disabling muscle spasms in the hand | Children's Charity

Occupational and musicians’ dystonia - disabling muscle spasms in the hand

This research was completed on 31 March 2006

Project LeaderProfessor J C Rothwell, MA, PhD and Dr K Rosenkranz.
LocationSobell Department of Motor Neuroscience & Movement Disorders, Institute of Neurology and National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery, London.
Grant awarded10 November 2003
Start date1 April 2004
End date31 March 2006
Grant amount£118,177.00
Grant codeAP0988

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Professionals who make their living through their skill in performing certain types of movement can suffer from involuntary muscle spasms of the hand. This condition, occupational dystonia, also affects 5-10% of professional musicians. The resulting lack of control can have catastrophic consequences for the patients’ career.The brain has an amazing ability to adapt to special challenges or needs. The musician’s brain is a good model, showing an increased density of grey matter in certain areas of the brain as a consequence of a life-long training process. When pushed too far, this "overspecialisation" may come at a cost with loss of fine finger coordination and muscle cramps. This team will use the brain´s own adaptive ability to try to restore brain function. With specific sensory discrimination training, they aim to re-educate the brain to link the right sensory information with the appropriate movement command. This research could provide a new treatment for occupational and musician’s dystonia.

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