Studying neural network reorganization in dystonia after childhood basal ganglia stroke
Dystonia is a disabling and often painful disorder characterized by involuntary, repetitive muscle contractions, twisting movements and abnormal posturing. It is often resistant to treatment, and many children with dystonia develop fixed deformities with significant lifelong impact.
The basal ganglia are an interconnected network of deep brain structures which integrate and control movement, learning and emotion. Disturbances within the basal ganglia are implicated as a common pathway of dystonia, and in children with basal ganglia stroke, post-stroke dystonia is one of the most common movement disorders to develop. This offers a unique window to examine the neural network differences between pediatric stroke patients with and without post-stroke dystonia.
This knowledge will improve our understanding of why dystonia occurs, when it occurs, and in whom it occurs, potentially providing opportunities for the development of targeted therapies to improve the quality of life of children, adults, and their communities.
This grant was supported in part by Dystonia Medical Research Foundation Canada.