The development of focal dystonia in musicians as a consequence of maladaptive plasticity: implications for intervention

Nancy N. Byl, Alberto Priori

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


This chapter discusses evidence from animal and human studies suggesting that focal hand dystonia is due to multiple risk factors, one of which may be maladaptive plasticity. There is consistent evidence for somatosensory degradation as well an imbalance between inhibition and excitation at multiple levels of the central nervous system. Based on the hypothesis of aberrant learning, effective treatment must accomplish a reversal of the degradation of the central nervous system. One way to reverse learning-induced, negative behavioural changes underlying focal hand dystonia is for the patient to learn their way out of it by retraining the brain.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMusic, Motor Control and the Brain
PublisherOxford University Press
ISBN (Print)9780191700903, 9780199298723
Publication statusPublished - Mar 22 2012



  • Aberrant learning
  • Central nervous system
  • Focal hand dystonia
  • Maladaptive plasticity
  • Somatosensory degradation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)

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