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Torsion dystonia is a rare inherited disease that causes sustained, twisting spasms. These spasms may only affect one limb at first but often spread to other limbs and the midsection.
Torsion dystonia is usually diagnosed between the ages of 6 and 16. After it is diagnosed, it progresses rapidly. Torsion dystonia does not affect mental functioning. It is more common in people of Jewish heritage.
Treatment of torsion dystonia includes medicines to control muscle spasms. Sometimes brain surgery is done. Support groups and counseling can be helpful for people with torsion dystonia and for their families. Genetic testing is available to identify carriers of the disease and help guide decisions about having children.
Last Revised: March 28, 2012
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review: Patrice Burgess, MD - Family Medicine & Siobhan M. Dolan, MD, MPH - Reproductive Genetics
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