Changes in the relationship between movement velocity and movement distance in primary focal hand dystonia

Janey Prodoehl, Daniel M. Corcos, Sue Leurgans, Cynthia L. Comella, Annette Weis-McNulty, Colum D. MacKinnon

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7 Scopus citations


The authors examined the relationship between movement velocity and distance and the associated muscle activation patterns in 18 individuals with focal hand dystonia (FHD) compared with a control group of 18 individuals with no known neuromuscular condition. Participants performed targeted voluntary wrist and elbow flexion movements as fast as possible across 5 movement distances. Individuals with FHD were slower than controls across all distances, and this difference was accentuated for longer movements. Muscle activation patterns were triphasic in the majority of individuals with FHD, and muscle activation scaled with distance in a similar manner to controls. Cocontraction did not explain movement slowing in individuals with dystonia, but there was a trend toward underactivation of the 1st agonist burst in the dystonic group. The authors concluded that slowness is a consistent feature of voluntary movement in FHD and is present even in the absence of dystonic posturing. Underactivation of the 1st agonist burst appears to be the most likely reason to explain slowing.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)301-314
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Motor Behavior
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2008

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The?authors?thank?the?staff? at?the?Section?for?Movement?Disorders?in?the?Department?of?Neurological?Sciences?at?Rush?University?Medical?Center?and?Dr.? Tanya?Simuni?in?the?Department?of? Neurology?at?Northwestern?Memorial?Hospital?for?their?assistance? in?participant?recruitment.?This?study?was?supported?in?part?by? the?National?Institutes?of?Health?Grants?NS21827,?NS40902,?and? NS52318.?


  • Agonist
  • Cocontraction
  • Focal hand dystonia


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