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Brain Abnormalities Found In People With Writer's Cramp

Date:
July 26, 2007
Source:
American Academy of Neurology
Summary:
People with serious cases of writer's cramp have brain abnormalities, according to a new study. People with writer's cramp had less brain tissue than healthy people in three areas of the brain that connect the senses and movement with their affected hand.
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People with serious cases of writer's cramp have brain abnormalities, according to a study published in the July 24, 2007, issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology. People with writer's cramp had less brain tissue than healthy people in three areas of the brain that connect the senses and movement with their affected hand.

Writer's cramp is a form of dystonia, an involuntary, sustained muscle contraction. Writer's cramp often occurs in people who have used the same muscles repeatedly for years.

The study involved 30 people who had writer's cramp for an average of seven years with no other forms of dystonia. Using brain imaging, the researchers compared the brains of those with writer's cramp to 30 healthy people.

The researchers found that those with writer's cramp had less grey matter in three areas of the brain: the cerebellum, the thalamus, and the sensorimotor cortex.

"It's not clear whether these abnormalities are a cause or a result of the disease," said study author Stéphane Lehéricy, MD, PhD, of Salpêtrière Hospital in Paris, France. "The fact that the brain abnormalities are in the areas that control the affected hand suggests that these differences are specific to this problem."

"Another theory is that the brain structure changed and adapted as a result of the sustained repetitive movement," Lehéricy said. "Studies have shown that people with no dystonia can experience brain changes due to learning new information, which supports this theory."

The study was supported by grants from Salpêtrière Hospital in Paris, the Action Concertée Incitative, and INSERM, the French National Institute for Health and Medical Research.


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Materials provided by American Academy of Neurology. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.


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American Academy of Neurology. "Brain Abnormalities Found In People With Writer's Cramp." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 26 July 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/07/070723163618.htm>.
American Academy of Neurology. (2007, July 26). Brain Abnormalities Found In People With Writer's Cramp. ScienceDaily. Retrieved May 23, 2017 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/07/070723163618.htm
American Academy of Neurology. "Brain Abnormalities Found In People With Writer's Cramp." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/07/070723163618.htm (accessed May 23, 2017).

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