Motor and Sensory Dysfunction in Musician's Dystonia

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Abstract

Musicians' dystonia is a task-specific and painless loss of motor control in a previously well-executed task. It is increasingly recognized in the medical and musical community. Recent advances in neuroimaging, transcranial magnetic stimulation and novel techniques in electroencephalography have shed light on its underlying pathophysiology. To date, a deranged cortical plasticity leading to abnormal sensorimotor integration, combined with reduced inhibition across several levels of the motor pathway are likely mechanisms.This paper reviews the various phenomenology of musician's dystonia across keyboard, string, brass, flute and drum players. Treatment is often challenging. Medical therapies like botulinum toxin injection and rehabilitation method with sensorimotor training offer symptomatic relief and return to baseline performance to some musicians.

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