• Functional gait disorders: A sign-based approach

      Nonnekes, J.; Reich, S.G.; Bloem, B.R. (Wolters Kluwer Health, Inc., 2020)
      Functional gait disorders are common in clinical practice. They are also usually disabling for affected individuals. The diagnosis is challenging because no single walking pattern is pathognomonic for a functional gait disorder. Establishing a diagnosis is based not primarily on excluding organic gait disorders but instead predominantly on recognizing positive clinical features of functional gait disorders, such as an antalgic, a buckling, or a waddling gait. However, these features can resemble and overlap with organic gait disorders. It is therefore necessary to also look for inconsistency (variations in clinical presentation that cannot be reconciled with an organic lesion) and incongruity (combination of symptoms and signs that is not seen with organic lesions). Yet, these features also have potential pitfalls as inconsistency can occur in patients with dystonic gait or those with freezing of gait. Similarly, patients with dystonia or chorea can present with bizarre gait patterns that may falsely be interpreted as incongruity. A further complicating factor is that functional and organic gait disorders may coexist within the same patient. To improve the diagnostic process, we present a sign-based approach-supported by videos-that incorporates the diverse clinical spectrum of functional gait disorders. We identify 7 groups of supportive gait signs that can signal the presence of functional gait disorders. For each group of signs, we highlight how specific clinical tests can bring out the inconsistencies and incongruencies that further point to a functional gait disorder. Copyright 2020 The Author(s).
    • Risk of spread in adult-onset isolated focal dystonia: A prospective international cohort study

      Berman, B.D.; Groth, C.L.; Reich, S.G. (BMJ Publishing Group, 2019)
      Objective: Isolated focal dystonia can spread to muscles beyond the initially affected body region, but risk of spread has not been evaluated in a prospective manner. Furthermore, body regions at risk for spread and the clinical factors associated with spread risk are not well characterised. We sought here to prospectively characterise risk of spread in recently diagnosed adult-onset isolated focal dystonia patients. Methods: Patients enrolled in the Dystonia Coalition with isolated dystonia affecting only the neck, upper face, hand or larynx at onset of symptoms were included. Timing of follow-up visits was based on a sliding scale depending on symptom onset and ranged from 1 to 4 years. Descriptive statistics, Kaplan-Meier survival curves and Cox proportional hazard regression models were used to assess clinical characteristics associated with dystonia spread. Results: 487 enrolled participants (68.3% women; mean age: 55.6±12.2 years) met our inclusion/exclusion criteria. Spread was observed in 50% of blepharospasm, 8% of cervical dystonia, 17% of hand dystonia and 16% of laryngeal dystonia cases. Most common regions for first spread were the oromandibular region (42.2%) and neck (22.4%) for blepharospasm, hand (3.5%) for cervical dystonia and neck for hand (12.8%) and laryngeal (15.8%) dystonia. Increased spread risk was associated with a positive family history (HR=2.18, p=0.012) and self-reported alcohol responsiveness (HR=2.59, p=0.009). Conclusions: Initial body region affected in isolated focal dystonia has differential risk and patterns of spread. Genetic factors likely influence the risk of spread. These findings can aid clinical prognostication and inform future investigations into potential disease-modifying treatments. Copyright Author(s).