Objective: Neurophysiologic studies demonstrated that patients with primary torsion dystonia (PTD) and with psychogenic dystonia (Psy-D) share similar abnormalities in the motor system. In this study, we evaluated somatosensory function in Psy-D by testing temporal discrimination threshold (TDT), and compared the results with those obtained in patients with PTD. Methods: TDT of tactile stimuli was assessed in 10 patients with Psy-D, 10 patients with PTD, and 16 control subjects. The 2 groups of patients were matched for age, gender, disease duration, and distribution of dystonia. Tactile stimuli consisted of pairs of non-noxious electrical shocks delivered to the right or left hand at interstimulus interval increasing from 0 to 400 msec, in 10-msec steps. TDT was defined as the value at which subjects recognized the 2 stimuli as asynchronous. Results: TDT was higher in Psy-D and PTD compared to control subjects, for both the right and the left hand. In a subgroup of patients with unilateral dystonia (Psy-D = 4, PTD = 5), TDT did not differ between the affected and the unaffected side in both groups of patients. Disease duration was not correlated to the increased TDT value. Conclusions: Our study suggests an impaired processing of somatosensory inputs in both Psy-D and PTD. These abnormalities might represent a neurophysiological trait predisposing to develop a dystonic posture triggered by psychiatric and psychological factors.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Clinical Neurology
- Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)