Continuous involuntary hand movements and schizencephaly: epilepsia partialis continua or dystonia?

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Schizencephaly is regarded as a malformation of cortical development (due to abnormal neuronal organization) and may be associated with continuous involuntary hand movements. The mechanisms underlying these movements are not clear and both dystonia and epilepsia partialis continua have been considered in previously reported cases. We describe a young patient affected by schizencephaly and continuous involuntary movements of the contralateral hand. Functional MRI showed bilateral cerebral activation, while the subject performed tapping movements with the affected hand and no significant difference in the activation pattern after diazepam infusion. Standard and back-averaged EEG showed no alterations. The results obtained from these investigations and the clinical features of the involuntary movements are not in favor of an epileptic genesis, while support the diagnosis of secondary dystonia.

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Correspondence to Lucio Marinelli.

Electronic supplementary material

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The video shows the pattern of the involuntary repetitive movements of the left hand. Finger movements are also clumsy. (MPG 9221 kb)

Supplementary Table (doc 19 kb) allows an easy comparison between our and the two previously reported cases.

The video shows the pattern of the involuntary repetitive movements of the left hand. Finger movements are also clumsy. (MPG 9221 kb)

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Marinelli, L., Bonzano, L., Saitta, L. et al. Continuous involuntary hand movements and schizencephaly: epilepsia partialis continua or dystonia?. Neurol Sci 33, 335–338 (2012) doi:10.1007/s10072-011-0674-5

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  • Dystonia
  • Epilepsia partialis continua
  • Functional MRI
  • Involuntary movements
  • Schizencephaly