Late-onset oro-facial dyskinesia in Spinocerebellar Ataxia type 2: A case report

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Background: Genetic familiar causes of oro-facial dyskinesia are usually restricted to Huntington's disease, whereas other causes are often missed or underestimated. Here, we report the case of late-onset oro-facial dyskinesia in an elderly patient with a genetic diagnosis of Spinocerebellar Ataxia type 2 (SCA2). Case presentation: A 75-year-old man complained of progressive balance difficulty since the age of 60 years, associated with involuntary movements of the mouth and tongue over the last 3 months. No exposure to anti-dopaminergic agents, other neuroleptics, antidepressants, or other drugs was reported. Family history was positive for SCA2 (brother and the son of the brother). At rest, involuntary movements of the mouth and tongue were noted; they appeared partially suppressible and became more evident during stress and voluntary movements. Cognitive examination revealed frontal-executive dysfunction, memory impairment, and attention deficit. Brain magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) disclosed signs of posterior periventricular chronic cerebrovascular disease and a marked ponto-cerebellar atrophy, as confirmed by volumetric MRI analysis. A dopamine transporter imaging scan demonstrated a bilaterally reduced putamen and caudate nucleus uptake. Ataxin-2 (ATXN2) gene analysis revealed a 36 cytosine-adenine-guanine (CAG) repeat expansion, confirming the diagnosis of SCA2. Conclusions: SCA2 should be considered among the possible causes of adult-onset oro-facial dyskinesia, especially when the family history suggests an inherited cerebellar disorder. Additional clinical features, including parkinsonism and motor neuron disease, may represent relevant cues for an early diagnosis and adequate management.

Original languageEnglish
Article number156
JournalBMC Neurology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Apr 27 2020


  • Movement disorders
  • Oro-facial dyskinesia
  • Spinocerebellar ataxia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology


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