Brain abnormalities found in people with writer's cramp
Jul 23, 2007 - 3:59:37 AM

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 St�phane Leh�ricy, MD, PhD, of Salp�tri�re 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,� Leh�ricy said. �Studies have shown that people with no dystonia can experience brain changes due to learning new information, which supports this theory.�

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