Magnetic stimulation may help treat musicians muscle spasms

December 27th, 2007 - 2:00 pm ICT by admin  

Washington, Dec 27 (ANI): A new research has found that musicians dystonia, a movement disorder that causes muscles spasms in musicians, may be treated by a therapy that stimulates the hand muscles.

Musicians dystonia occurs in musicians who have practiced particular complicated movements for years. The muscle spasms, which are said to usually be painless, generally occur only while playing the instrument.

For the study, researchers at the University College London Institute of Neurology applied low-amplitude vibration to the hand muscles of 24 people, out of which, six had musicians dystonia, six were professional musicians with no dystonia, another six were healthy non-musicians, and the last group of six had writers cramp, which is another type of dystonia that occurs in people while they write.

Using transcranial magnetic stimulation, the researchers evaluated the reaction in the sensorimotor area of the brain back to the muscle during vibration of a single hand muscle.

In healthy people, the vibration of a muscle increases the amount of brain messages back to the muscle and at the same time reduces the amount of messages to muscles that did not receive vibration.

In people with musicians dystonia, vibration in any one-hand muscle increases the amount of messages to all hand muscles, and in writers cramp, vibration to one muscle has no effect on any muscle.

Now, in an intervention that lasts only 15 minutes, muscle vibration was applied to a thumb muscle, and the participants attention was either directed on that muscle itself or away from it. The reaction of the brains sensorimotor areas to the muscles was then tested again using transcranial magnetic stimulation.

Our hope is that stimulation can retrain how the brain responds, said study author Karin Rosenkranz, MD, with UCL Institute of Neurology in London, United Kingdom.

The study found that the vibration intervention in which subjects had to attend to their thumb muscle tended to restore a more normal pattern in the sensorimotor area of the brain in people with musicians dystonia. This effect was less pronounced in people with writers cramp.

More research is needed to see if prolonged use of stimulation can improve hand motor function. These results also suggest that the underlying mechanism of the disorder may be different in musicians dystonia and writers cramp, Rosenkranz said.

The study is published in the December 26, 2007, online issue of Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology. (ANI)

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