It has long been suspected that idiopathic cervical dystonia is result of a dysfunction of the brain, but the cause of the disease has been elusive. The purpose of this study was to determine the diagnostical value of different radiological and laboratory tests in cases of cervical dystonia.

Cerebral computer tomography and/or cerebral magnetic imaging were carried out in all of the 149 patients who were included in this study. A total of 25 scans revealed some minor findings that did not alter patients’ management. Of the 128 cervical plain x-ray examinations, 63.1% showed degenerative changes. Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) was examined in 125 patients, and was normal in 103. Some degree of pathology was found in the remaining 22 CSF samples.

All patients under the age of 50 years were tested for serum ceruloplasmin and no decreased level was found. Seven patients had elevated ANA titre; four of them also developed Botulinum toxin antibodies.

We can conclude that the detection rate of pathologic findings in patients with idiopathic cervical dystonia is similar to what we can expect in the general population, provided the neurological findings are normal apart from the involuntary movements. In the adult form of typical cervical dystonia we do not recommend any standard laboratory or imaging tests if the neurological examination is normal aside from the abnormal head movements. © 2001 Movement Disorder Society.