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Musician's Dystonia


Copyright 2024, Mark Alan Wade

Primary Author: Pullman, S.
Journal Title: Neurology
Date Published: 2005
Language: English
Category: Nervous Disorders
Key Words: neurology dystonia
Full Citation: Pullman, Seth L., and Anna H. Hristova. Musician's Dystonia. Neurology 64 (2005): 186-7.
Full Abstract: Focal dystonia is the most common form of dystonia and is typically task-specific; hence the term FTSD, or focal task specific dystonia. Specific motor tasks, including playing a musical instrument, trigger muscle spasms in performance while leaving other actions unaffected. Musicians are especially prone due to their intense training and life-hours of practice. In the general population, FTSD has a frequency of 1:3,400; however among musicians, the prevalence is 1:200. The cause is unknown, though the amplification of standard mechanisms of brain plasticity may be a factor. This hypothesis relates to Hebb's dynamic synapse concept in which neuronal connectivity is plastically reorganized in the cortex, as demonstrated by the augmentation of the finger projection areas after repetitive tasks, or with practice. This function may improve performance, but it may also contribute to dystonia. Musicians with FTSD demonstrate greater fMRI activation of the contralateral primary sensorimotor cortex, suggestive of unusually increased central connections. The use of BTx injections is most popular, though often ineffective.