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Extreme task specificity in writer's cramp§

Authors

  • Ejaz A. Shamim MD, MS,

    Corresponding author
    1. Human Motor Control Section, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), National Institutes of Health (NIH), Bethesda, Maryland, USA
    2. Department of Neurology, Kaiser Permanente Mid-Atlantic Permanente Medical Group, Suitland, Maryland, USA
    • Human Motor Control Section, Medical Neurology Branch, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, National Institutes of Health (MSC 1428), 10 Center Drive, Room 7D37, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA
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  • Jason Chu BS, MS,

    1. Human Motor Control Section, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), National Institutes of Health (NIH), Bethesda, Maryland, USA
    2. Neurosurgery Resident, Emory University School of Medicine, Atlanta, Georgia, USA
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  • Linda H. Scheider BS,

    1. Human Motor Control Section, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), National Institutes of Health (NIH), Bethesda, Maryland, USA
    2. Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine, Richmond, Virginia, USA
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  • Joseph Savitt MD, PhD,

    1. Department of Neurology, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, Maryland, USA
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  • H.A. Jinnah MD, PhD,

    1. Departments of Neurology, Human Genetics, and Pediatrics, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia, USA
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  • Mark Hallett MD

    1. Human Motor Control Section, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), National Institutes of Health (NIH), Bethesda, Maryland, USA
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  • Funding agencies: This endeavor was supported, in part, by the Intramural Program of the National Institutes of Health or NS067501.

  • Relevant conflicts of interest/financial disclosures: Nothing to report.

  • §

    Full financial disclosures and author roles may be found in the online version of this article.

Abstract

Background:

Focal hand dystonia may be task specific, as is the case with writer's cramp. In early stages, task specificity can be so specific that it may be mistaken for a psychogenic movement disorder.

Methods:

We describe 4 patients who showed extreme task specificity in writer's cramp. They initially only had problems writing either a single letter or number. Although they were largely thought to be psychogenic, they progressed to typical writer's cramp.

Conclusions:

Early recognition of this condition may provide an opportunity for early initiation of treatment. © 2011 Movement Disorder Society

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