Contemporary clinical neurophysiology applications in dystonia

J Neural Transm (Vienna). 2021 Apr;128(4):509-519. doi: 10.1007/s00702-021-02310-6. Epub 2021 Feb 16.


The complex phenomenological understanding of dystonia has transcended from the clinics to genetics, imaging and neurophysiology. One way in which electrophysiology will impact into the clinics are cases wherein a dystonic clinical presentation may not be typical or a "forme fruste" of the disorder. Indeed, the physiological imprints of dystonia are present regardless of its clinical manifestation. Underpinnings in the understanding of dystonia span from the peripheral, segmental and suprasegmental levels to the cortex, and various electrophysiological tests have been applied in the course of time to elucidate the origin of dystonia pathophysiology. While loss of inhibition remains to be the key finding in this regard, intricacies and variabilities exist, thus leading to a notion that perhaps dystonia should best be gleaned as network disorder. Interestingly, the complex process has now spanned towards the understanding in terms of networks related to the cerebellar circuitry and the neuroplasticity. What is evolving towards a better and cohesive view will be neurophysiology attributes combined with structural dynamic imaging. Such a sound approach will significantly lead to better therapeutic modalities in the future.

Keywords: Brain plasticity; Dystonia; Network disorder; Neurophysiology.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cerebellum
  • Cerebral Cortex
  • Dystonia*
  • Dystonic Disorders*
  • Humans
  • Neurophysiology