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  • Print publication year: 2010
  • Online publication date: December 2010

Chapter 16 - Episodic ataxias


Paroxysmal dyskinesias are a heterogeneous group of disorders characterized by intermittent attacks of hyperkinetic involuntary movements without loss of consciousness. The paroxysmal movements may affect the arm or leg on one or both sides of the body, or all extremities. All kinds of paroxysmal dyskinesias may be symptomatic in origin. Twenty-two percent of one series of patients with paroxysmal movement disorders had underlying causative diseases. History and neurologic examination are the cornerstones on the way to the diagnosis of paroxysmal dyskinesias. The paroxysmal nature and predominantly short duration of the attacks, the aura symptoms and the response to even low doses of anticonvulsant drugs suggest that paroxysmal dyskinesias closely resemble epilepsy. Sandifer syndrome is a rare movement disorder in toddlers. During or immediately after feeding, affected children exhibit severe dystonic movements or postures of the head and neck. They often vomit and are malnourished.

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