Non-motor symptoms in dystonia and musician's dystonia

Our multidisciplinary Irish Dystonia Research Group, combining the expertise of Bioengineers in Trinity College Dublin and a network of Clinical Neurologists, has been working to determine the cause of a disabling movement disorder, adult onset dystonia, characterised by abnormal postures and excessive muscle activity. The causes of this disorder are completely unknown. We have a close relationship with the patient support organization Dystonia Ireland over the last 15 years. Dystonia has a significant non-motor component with an excess of anxiety, depression, sleep disturbance and pain, affecting quality of life. In order to address this we need to discuss it openly; for that reason we wish to fund education and information meetings, combining the expertise of the personal experience of people with dystonia, with evidence from research in Holland and our research programme.

Also, following a pilot study with the Hibernia Orchestra, we found that highly skilled musicians are faster at determining whether two sequential stimuli are separated in time (temporal discrimination); in musicians who develop musician's dystonia this ability in temporal discrimination is significantly worse. We have applied separately for further funding for a study of temporal discrimination in a larger group of musicians. Because musician's dystonia is rarely discussed we will collaborate with the Royal Irish Academy of Music to bring these research findings to an interested relevant audience. We aim to stimulate the development of collaborative research and treatment; to establish a clinic to provide therapy for musician's dystonia and other performance related medical problems.


Award Date
28 September 2017
Award Value
Principal Investigator
Professor Michael Hutchinson
Host Institution
University College Dublin
Knowledge Exchange and Dissemination Scheme