Deep Dive into Oromandibular Dystonia

Semi-transparent profile of human head and neck with jaw area illuminated against dark background..

This article was published in the Dystonia Dialogue.

In a study partially supported by DMRF, an international team of investigators embarked on the most comprehensive examination of the clinical features of oromandibular dystonia with the purpose of reducing misdiagnosis.

The symptoms of OMD include varying combinations of abnormal jaw, tongue, or lower face movements. OMD is particularly disabling because it often interferes with eating and speaking, and can cause severe discomfort. Isolated OMD is estimated to account for only 3–5% of all dystonias.

Of the 2,020 cases of OMD reviewed, typical age at onset was in the 50s and 70% of patients were female. The muscles of the lower face were most commonly affected, followed by jaw, and sometimes tongue. OMD more commonly appeared as part of segmental dystonia, rather than occurring as a focal dystonia or within generalized dystonia. Social anxiety and depression were prominent. Botulinum neurotoxin injections improved symptom severity by more than 50% in approximately 80% of patients.

Scorr LM, Factor SA, Parra SP, Kaye R, Paniello RC, Norris SA, Perlmutter JS, Bäumer T, Usnich T, Berman BD, Mailly M, Roze E, Vidailhet M, Jankovic J, LeDoux MS, Barbano R, Chang FCF, Fung VSC, Pirio Richardson S, Blitzer A, Jinnah HA. Oromandibular Dystonia: A Clinical Examination of 2,020 Cases. Front Neurol. 2021 Sep 16;12:700714. doi: 10.3389/fneur.2021.700714. PMID: 34603182; PMCID: PMC8481678.

The Dystonia Medical Research Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to advancing research for improved dystonia treatments and ultimately a cure, promoting awareness, and supporting the well-being of affected individuals and families.