Background. The somatosensory temporal discrimination threshold (STDT) is defined as the shortest interval at which an individual recognizes two stimuli as asynchronous. Some evidence suggests that STDT depends on cortical inhibitory interneurons in the basal ganglia and in primary somatosensory cortex. Several studies have reported that the STDT in patients with dystonia is abnormal. No longitudinal studies have yet investigated whether STDT values in different forms of focal dystonia change during the course of the disease. Methods. We designed a follow-up study on 25 patients with dystonia (15 with blepharospasm and 10 with cervical dystonia) who were tested twice: upon enrolment and 8 years later. STDT values from dystonic patients at the baseline were also compared with those from a group of 30 age-matched healthy subjects. Results. Our findings show that the abnormally high STDT values observed in patients with focal dystonia remained unchanged at the 8-year follow-up assessment whereas disease severity worsened. Conclusions. Our observation that STDT abnormalities in dystonia remain unmodified during the course of the disease suggests that the altered activity of inhibitory interneurons - either at cortical or at subcortical level - responsible for the increased STDT does not deteriorate as the disease progresses.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Clinical Neurology