Writer's cramp as a presentation of L-2-hydroxyglutaric aciduria.
ABSTRACT: L-2-hydroxyglutaric aciduria (L2HGA) is a neurometabolic disorder characterized by macrocephaly, seizures, progressive mental retardation, pyramidal signs, ataxia and tremor. Dystonia is an under-recognized feature of this entity in the literature. We report two siblings with L2HGA, one of whom presented with writer's cramp followed by dystonia of the other hand. An elevated plasma lysine, highly elevated urine 2-hydroxyglutaric acid, and MRI with characteristic findings (leukoencephalopathy of bilateral subcortical white matter sparing central white matter) suggested the diagnosis, which was confirmed by genetic testing.
Project description:Spinocerebellar ataxia type 6 (SCA6) presents typically with a pure cerebellar syndrome. Only 1 SCA 6 patient with writer's cramp has been reported on and a family history of ataxia and writer's cramp has never been reported on. Two other SCA6 patients with a shoulder girdle/hand dystonia and unspecified upper-limb dystonia with a family history of ataxia have been reported on. We report on the largest family with SCA6 and writer's cramp. The proband developed dysarthria, ataxia, and writer's cramp by age 37. His father presented with ataxia at 55, followed by writer's cramp and dysarthria. The proband's brother developed ataxia at 41, followed by dysarthria and writer's cramp. A paternal uncle (deceased; not examined) and 58-yr-old brother both developed pure ataxia (genetic testing is pending). This large family with complex movement disorder demonstrates that it is important to consider SCA6 in a patient presenting with an ataxia and writer's cramp and supports cerebellum involvement in dystonia.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Focal hand dystonia may be task specific, as is the case with writer's cramp. In early stages, task specificity can be so specific that it may be mistaken for a psychogenic movement disorder. METHODS:We describe 4 patients who showed extreme task specificity in writer's cramp. They initially only had problems writing either a single letter or number. Although they were largely thought to be psychogenic, they progressed to typical writer's cramp. CONCLUSIONS:Early recognition of this condition may provide an opportunity for early initiation of treatment.
Project description:Dystonia, a debilitating neurological movement disorder, is characterized by involuntary muscle contractions and develops from a complex pathophysiology. Graph theoretical analysis approaches have been employed to investigate functional network changes in patients with different forms of dystonia. In this study, we aimed to characterize the abnormal brain connectivity underlying writer's cramp, a focal hand dystonia. To this end, we examined functional magnetic resonance scans of 20 writer's cramp patients (11 females/nine males) and 26 healthy controls (10 females/16 males) performing a sequential finger tapping task with their non-dominant (and for patients non-dystonic) hand. Functional connectivity matrices were used to determine group averaged brain networks. Our data suggest that in their neuronal network writer's cramp patients recruited fewer regions that were functionally more segregated. However, this did not impair the network's efficiency for information transfer. A hub analysis revealed alterations in communication patterns of the primary motor cortex, the thalamus and the cerebellum. As we did not observe any differences in motor outcome between groups, we assume that these network changes constitute compensatory rerouting within the patient network. In a secondary analysis, we compared patients with simple writer's cramp (only affecting the hand while writing) and those with complex writer's cramp (affecting the hand also during other fine motor tasks). We found abnormal cerebellar connectivity in the simple writer's cramp group, which was less prominent in complex writer's cramp. Our preliminary findings suggest that longitudinal research concerning cerebellar connectivity during WC progression could provide insight on early compensatory mechanisms in WC.
Project description:Writer's cramp (focal hand dystonia) is a sporadic focal dystonia that affects a specific part of the upper limb causing excessive co-contraction of antagonistic muscles. It usually presents as a task-specific dystonia, including, among others, writing of a character or playing a musical instrument. Although treatments for writer's cramp exist, medical therapy often results in unsatisfactory outcomes in patients with this type of dystonia. However, accumulating evidence suggests that long-term and complete remission of various types of focal hand dystonia can be achieved with stereotactic ablation or deep brain stimulation of the thalamic ventral-oralis complex (Vo) nucleus, which includes both the ventralis oralis posterior and anterior nuclei of the thalamus. Following the striking therapeutic success of Vo thalamotomy in patients with medically-refractory writer's cramp, we here introduce the use of stereotactic lesioning of the thalamic Vo nucleus for the treatment of this focal type of dystonia. Our findings identified patients with disabling writer's cramp (i.e., it prevents their success in their professional careers) to be good candidates for positive outcome with this surgical technique.
Project description:Writer's cramp is a disabling focal dystonia, often accompanied by tremor, for which botulinum toxin injections are now the therapy of choice. However, the success of this treatment relies on the correct clinical selection of muscles responsible for the dystonic movements and the subsequent accurate administration of botulinum toxin into what are often very small and difficult to palpate muscles. In order to obtain the best possible outcomes, and to minimize side effects, it is necessary to use guidance from ultrasound or electromyography (EMG). In this video, we will explain how we evaluate patients with writer's cramp and demonstrate how we treat them with EMG guidance.
Project description:<h4>Introduction</h4>The pathophysiology of writer's cramp, a task-specific dystonia, remains unclear. The objective of this study was to investigate the basal ganglia circuit and the cerebellum during a complex motor sequence learning task carried out with the nonaffected hand in writer's cramp patients.<h4>Methods</h4>We applied structural and functional imaging in 22 writer's cramp patients and 28 matched controls using 3T MRI. With the asymptomatic left hand all participants learned a complex, sequential, five-element sequence-tapping task as accurately and quickly as possible. Functional imaging was measured during a repeated (15 times), fixed block design with tapping (30 sec) and rest (30 sec). Additionally, gray matter volume of the basal ganglia was analyzed using voxel-based morphometry (VBM).<h4>Results</h4>While behavior was comparable between groups, after small volume correction the anterior part of the right putamen and the left globus pallidus exhibited reduced blood oxygen level-dependent (BOLD) activity in patients during the sequential finger-tapping task. VBM analysis showed larger gray matter volume bilateral in the posterior part of the putamen and globus pallidus. There were no group differences in the cerebellum.<h4>Conclusion</h4>The results indicate an impairment of anterior basal ganglia loops involved in producing complex sequential movements of the unaffected hand. These findings are in line with previous reports of reduced neuronal activity in the globus pallidus internus. Higher gray matter volume of the putamen and globus pallidus may stem from elevated activity of the direct pathway, which could reflect a compensatory phenomenon or a primary predisposition, that is, endophenotypic trait.
Project description:Humans have a distinguishing ability for fine motor control that is subserved by a highly evolved cortico-motor neuronal network. The acquisition of a particular motor skill involves a long series of practice movements, trial and error, adjustment and refinement. At the cortical level, this acquisition begins in the parieto-temporal sensory regions and is subsequently consolidated and stratified in the premotor-motor cortex. Task-specific dystonia can be viewed as a corruption or loss of motor control confined to a single motor skill. Using a multimodal experimental approach combining neuroimaging and non-invasive brain stimulation, we explored interactions between the principal nodes of the fine motor control network in patients with writer's cramp and healthy matched controls. Patients and healthy volunteers underwent clinical assessment, diffusion-weighted MRI for tractography, and functional MRI during a finger tapping task. Activation maps from the task-functional MRI scans were used for target selection and neuro-navigation of the transcranial magnetic stimulation. Single- and double-pulse TMS evaluation included measurement of the input-output recruitment curve, cortical silent period, and amplitude of the motor evoked potentials conditioned by cortico-cortical interactions between premotor ventral (PMv)-motor cortex (M1), anterior inferior parietal lobule (aIPL)-M1, and dorsal inferior parietal lobule (dIPL)-M1 before and after inducing a long term depression-like plastic change to dIPL node with continuous theta-burst transcranial magnetic stimulation in a randomized, sham-controlled design. Baseline dIPL-M1 and aIPL-M1 cortico-cortical interactions were facilitatory and inhibitory, respectively, in healthy volunteers, whereas the interactions were converse and significantly different in writer's cramp. Baseline PMv-M1 interactions were inhibitory and similar between the groups. The dIPL-PMv resting state functional connectivity was increased in patients compared to controls, but no differences in structural connectivity between the nodes were observed. Cortical silent period was significantly prolonged in writer's cramp. Making a long term depression-like plastic change to dIPL node transformed the aIPL-M1 interaction to inhibitory (similar to healthy volunteers) and cancelled the PMv-M1 inhibition only in the writer's cramp group. These findings suggest that the parietal multimodal sensory association region could have an aberrant downstream influence on the fine motor control network in writer's cramp, which could be artificially restored to its normal function.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>Writer's cramp is a task-specific dystonia impairing writing and sometimes other fine motor tasks. Neuroimaging studies using manifold designs have shown varying results regarding the nature of changes in the disease.<h4>Objective</h4>To clarify and extend the knowledge of underlying changes by investigating functional connectivity (FC) in intrinsic connectivity networks with putative sensorimotor function at rest in an increased number of study subjects.<h4>Methods</h4>Resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging with independent component analysis was performed in 26/27 writer's cramp patients/healthy controls, and FC within and between resting state networks with putative sensorimotor function was compared. Additionally, voxel-based morphometry was carried out on the subjects' structural images.<h4>Results</h4>Patients displayed increased left- and reduced right-hemispheric primary sensorimotor FC in the premotor-parietal network. Mostly bilaterally altered dorsal/ventral premotor FC, as well as altered parietal FC were observed within multiple sensorimotor networks and showed differing network-dependent directionality. Beyond within-network FC changes and reduced right cerebellar grey matter volume in the structural analysis, the positive between-network FC of the cerebellar network and the basal ganglia network was reduced.<h4>Conclusions</h4>Abnormal resting-state FC in multiple networks with putative sensorimotor function may act as basis of preexisting observations made during task-related neuroimaging. Further, altered connectivity between the cerebellar and basal ganglia network underlines the important role of these structures in the disease.
Project description:<h4>Introduction</h4>Writer's cramp (WC) as a focal hand dystonia is characterized by abnormal postures of the hand during writing. Impaired inhibition and maladaptive plasticity in circuits linking the basal ganglia and sensorimotor cortices have been described. In particular, a dysfunction of lateral premotor cortices has been associated with impaired motor control in WC. We applied diffusion tensor imaging to identify changes in white matter connectivity between premotor regions and important cortical and subcortical structures.<h4>Methods</h4>Whole brain white matter tracts were reconstructed in 18 right-handed WC patients and 18 matched controls, using probabilistic fiber tracking. We restricted our analyses to left-hemispheric fibers between the middle frontal gyrus (MFG) and basal ganglia, thalamus, primary motor, and sensory cortex. Diffusion parameters (fractional anisotropy and linear anisotropy) were compared between both groups.<h4>Results</h4>A significant reduction in fractional anisotropy values was shown for patients (mean ± SD: 0.37 ± 0.02) vs. controls (0.39 ± 0.03) regarding fibers between the left-sided MFG and the putamen (p < 0.05). The same applied for linear anisotropy values in this connection (p < 0.05).<h4>Conclusions</h4>Our results suggest an impaired structural connectivity between the left-hemispheric MFG and putamen with a loss of equally aligned fibers in WC patients. This could reflect a structural basis for functional findings interpreted as altered inhibition and plasticity, both within the premotor cortex and the basal ganglia, that at last lead to the clinical symptoms of WC.
Project description:We present a 47-year-old right-handed woman with a 15-year history of writer's cramp who was provided with six sessions of cathodal transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) combined with observation of writing actions performed by a healthy subject and electromyographic (EMG) biofeedback training to decrease EMG activities in her right forehand muscles while writing for 30 min for 4 weeks. She showed improvement in dystonic posture and writing speed after the intervention. The writing movement and writing speed scores on a writer's cramp rating scale decreased, along with writing time. Our findings demonstrated that cathodal tDCS combined with action observation and EMG biofeedback training might improve dystonic writing movements in a patient with writer's cramp.