This study will collect information on (tricks) patients with focal dystonia use to relieve
their symptoms. Dystonia is a movement disorder caused by sustained muscle contractions
often causing twisting and abnormal posturing. Dystonia may be generalized, affecting at
least one leg and the trunk of the body, segmental, affecting adjacent body parts, or focal,
affecting a single body part, such as the hand or eyelid. It may be task-specific, such as
writer's, musician's or sportsman's cramps. Some patients with focal dystonia use (tricks),
such as touching the face or hand, to stop or alleviate the abnormal movement. This study
will survey the types of tricks people with focal dystonia use in order to learn more about
Patients 18 years of age and older with focal dystonia may be eligible for this study.
Candidates will be screened for eligibility with a medical history, clinical evaluation, and
review of their medical records.
In one 30- to 45-minute clinic visit, participants will be interviewed about their dystonia
symptoms and the tricks they use to relieve the symptoms. They may be asked to show the
investigators how the tricks work
The purpose of this study is to collect and organize information concerning a phenomenon
known as 'sensory tricks' or Geste antagoniste in focal dystonia. Sensory tricks, which we
will refer to as 'tricks' since some involve motor as well as sensory input, are various
stimuli used by dystonic patients to transiently diminish their spasms (Jankovic and Fahn
1993). The phenomenon of tricks is evidence for the abnormality of sensorimotor integration
in focal dystonia, yet it is little studied or understood. A survey of the history and
characteristics of tricks will lead to a better understanding of this puzzling phenomenon,
and a step toward the understanding of the mechanism of focal dystonia.
Patients with focal dystonia diagnosed by review of medical record, history, and clinical
Any individual without focal dystonia.
Any individual who is unable to provide accurate history, or is critically ill.