Primary dystonia and dystonia-plus syndromes: clinical characteristics, diagnosis, and pathogenesis

Lancet Neurol. 2011 Dec;10(12):1074-85. doi: 10.1016/S1474-4422(11)70232-0. Epub 2011 Oct 24.


The dystonias are a heterogeneous group of hyperkinetic movement disorders characterised by involuntary sustained muscle contractions that lead to abnormal postures and repetitive movements. Dystonia syndromes represent common movement disorders and yet are often misdiagnosed or unrecognised. In recent years, there have been substantial advances in the understanding of the spectrum of clinical features that encompass dystonia syndromes, from severe generalised childhood dystonia that is often genetic in origin, to adult-onset focal dystonias and rarer forms of secondary dystonias, to dystonia as a feature of other types of CNS dysfunction. There has also been a rationalisation of the classification of dystonia and a greater understanding of the causes of dystonic movements from the study of genetics, neurophysiology, and functional imaging in the most prevalent form of dystonia syndrome, primary dystonia.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Dystonia / classification
  • Dystonia / diagnosis*
  • Dystonia / etiology
  • Dystonic Disorders / classification
  • Dystonic Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Dystonic Disorders / etiology
  • Humans