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Sonographic detection of basal ganglia abnormalities in spasmodic dysphonia



Background and purpose

Abnormalities of the lenticular nucleus (LN) on transcranial sonography (TCS) are a characteristic finding in idiopathic segmental and generalized dystonia. Our intention was to study whether TCS detects basal ganglia abnormalities also in spasmodic dysphonia, an extremely focal form of dystonia.


Transcranial sonography of basal ganglia, substantia nigra and ventricles was performed in 14 patients with spasmodic dysphonia (10 women, four men; disease duration 16.5 ± 6.1 years) and 14 age- and sex-matched healthy controls in an investigator-blinded setting.


Lenticular nucleus hyperechogenicity was found in 12 spasmodic dysphonia patients but only in one healthy individual (Fisher's exact test, P < 0.001) whilst other TCS findings did not differ. The area of LN hyperechogenic lesions quantified on digitized image analysis correlated with spasmodic dysphonia severity (Spearman test, r = 0.82, P < 0.001).


Our findings link the underlying pathology of spasmodic dysphonia to that of more widespread forms of dystonia.