Clinical Introduction

Clinical Introduction

Movement disorders are among the most common neurodegenerative diseases.  For example, Parkinson’s disease affects approximately 1% of the population over age 60 in industrialized countries, and the prevalence is expected to increase with the trend toward longer life expectancies (Nussbaum and Ellis, 2003).  Below are some movement disorders classified based on whether they cause a decrease or slowness of movement (akinesia or bradykinesia) versus an excess or distortion of movements (hyperkinesias or dyskinesias).

Akinetic-Rigid Syndromes

  • Parkinson’s Disease (PD)
  • Lewy Body Dementia (LBD)
  • Progressive Supranuclear Palsy (PSP)
  • Cortico-Basal Ganglionic Degeneration (CBD)
  • Multiple Systems Atrophy (MSA)

Hyperkinetic/Dyskinetic Movement Disorders

  • Huntington’s Disease
  • Wilson’s Disease
  • Tourette’s Syndrome
  • Essential Tremor
  • Hereditary and Acquired Ataxic Syndromes
  • Dystonic Syndromes

I also evaluate patients who have abnormal movements or symptoms that are not part of a clearly recognized syndrome.  These abnormal symptoms can occur as a side effect of medications.

  • Tremor
    • regular, oscillatory, involuntary movement
  • Ataxia
    • problems of coordination and balance
  • Myoclonus
    • sudden and brief uncontrollable movements, consisting of involuntary contraction of muscles or loss of muscle tone
  • Ballism
    • irregular, violent flinging movements that can affect one limb (monoballism), the bilateral limbs (biballism), or half of the body (hemiballism)
  • Chorea
    • irregular, random, and purposeless involuntary movements
  • Dystonia
    • co-contractions of opposing muscle groups that causes twisting and repetitive movements or abnormal postures
  • Tics
    • stereotyped involuntary movements