Brain abnormalities found in people with writer's cramp
Jul 23, 2007 - 3:59:37 AM
People with serious cases of writerï¿½s 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 writerï¿½s cramp had less brain tissue than healthy people in three areas of the brain that connect the senses and movement with their affected hand.
Writerï¿½s cramp is a form of dystonia, an involuntary, sustained muscle contraction. Writerï¿½s cramp often occurs in people who have used the same muscles repeatedly for years.
The study involved 30 people who had writerï¿½s cramp for an average of seven years with no other forms of dystonia. Using brain imaging, the researchers compared the brains of those with writerï¿½s cramp to 30 healthy people.
The researchers found that those with writerï¿½s cramp had less grey matter in three areas of the brain: the cerebellum, the thalamus, and the sensorimotor cortex.
ï¿½Itï¿½s not clear whether these abnormalities are a cause or a result of the disease,ï¿½ said study author Stï¿½phane Lehï¿½ricy, MD, PhD, of Salpï¿½triï¿½re Hospital in Paris, France. ï¿½The fact that the brain abnormalities are in the areas that control the affected hand suggests that these differences are specific to this problem.ï¿½
ï¿½Another theory is that the brain structure changed and adapted as a result of the sustained repetitive movement,ï¿½ Lehï¿½ricy said. ï¿½Studies have shown that people with no dystonia can experience brain changes due to learning new information, which supports this theory.ï¿½
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