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Dystonia is a neurological disorder that causes excessive, involuntary muscle contractions. Dystonia can affect any region of the body including the eyelids, face, jaw, neck, vocal cords, torso, limbs, hands, and feet. In addition to causing abnormal movements, depression and anxiety are common non-motor symptoms of dystonia.

Common Misunderstandings

Dystonia is a neurological disorder that occurs with a variety of symptoms, characteristics, and causes. Incorrect information about dystonia is easy to find, not just on the internet but in media stories and even from sources that claim to be authorities on dystonia. It can be challenging to identify credible sources for information.

Here we clarify several common misunderstandings about dystonia.

Cervical Dystonia

Cervical dystonia is a specific form that affects the head and neck. Cervical dystonia produces excessive muscle contractions in the neck. These muscle contractions cause involuntary movements and awkward positions of the head, neck, and sometimes shoulders.


Being informed about the genetics of dystonia can be important in the diagnosis and treatment process. Individuals with dystonia may be concerned that their children are at risk of inheriting the disorder. There are forms of dystonia that are known to be genetic and forms that may or may not have a genetic component—researchers cannot confirm or rule it out at this time. More than 200 genes have been linked to dystonia.

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On Target: Drug Discovery Efforts Pursue New & Improved Treatment

This article originally appeared in the Dystonia Dialogue. Drug discovery and development efforts are an important part of the Dystonia Medical Research Foundation’s (DMRF) multi-faceted science strategy. “The dystonia community cannot wait for pharmaceutical and biotech companies to necessarily get interested in dystonia on their own,” explains Jan Teller, MA, PhD, DMRF’s Chief Scientific Advisor. […]

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Eyes on Me: Dystonia & Social Anxiety

This article appeared in the Dystonia Dialogue. Moments of social awkwardness are a common human experience. We may feel anxious or uncomfortable when meeting new people, public speaking, or in other situations where we are the focus of attention. For some of us, the anxiety becomes severe and permeates social interactions of any and all […]