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Wilson’s Disease

Definition :

Wilson’s disease is an inherited disorder that causes too much copper to accumulate in your liver, brain and other vital organs. Another term for Wilson’s disease is hepatolenticular degeneration.

Copper plays a key role in the development of healthy nerves, bones, collagen and the skin pigment melanin. Normally, copper is absorbed from your food, and any excess is excreted through bile — a substance produced in your liver.

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Normal absorption and distribution of copper. Cu = copper, CP = ceruloplasmin, green = ATP7B carrying copper.

But in people with Wilson’s disease, copper isn’t eliminated properly and instead accumulates, possibly to a life-threatening level. Left untreated, Wilson’s disease is fatal. When diagnosed early, Wilson’s disease is treatable, and many people with the disorder live normal lives.

The excess copper can build up in the liver and/or brain causing liver damage and/or neurological problems. It can also collect in other parts of the body including the eyes and the kidneys.
Copper begins to accumulate immediately after birth but the symptoms usually appear in the 2nd to 3rd decade. The first signs are hepatic (liver) in about 40% of cases, neurological (brain) in about 35% of cases and psychiatric, renal (kidney), haematological (blood), or endocrine (glands) in the remainder.

The condition is due to mutations in the Wilson disease protein (ATP7B) gene. A single abnormal copy of the gene is present in 1 in 100 people, who do not develop any symptoms (they are carriers). If a child inherits the gene from both parents, they may develop Wilson’s disease. Symptoms usually appear between the ages of 6 and 20 years, but cases in much older people have been described. Wilson’s disease occurs in 1 to 4 per 100,000 people.  Wilson’s disease is named after Samuel Alexander Kinnier Wilson (1878–1937), the British neurologist who first described the condition in 1912


Symptoms:
The most pathognomonic sign of Wilson’s disease results from a buildup of copper in the eyes. These rings are
called Kayser – Fleischer rings. Rings are brownish, visible aroound the corneo – scleral junction (limbus).
95% of Wilson’ s disease patients presenting with neurological signs will have Kayser – Fleischer rings and 65% of Wilson’s disease patients presenting with hepatic signs will present a ring.

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Wilson’s disease causes a wide variety of signs and symptoms that are often mistaken for other diseases and conditions. Signs and symptoms vary depending on what parts of your body are affected by Wilson’s disease.
Signs and symptoms of Wilson’s disease include:

*Clumsiness
*Depression
*Difficulty speaking
*Difficulty swallowing
*Difficulty walking
*Drooling
*Easy bruising
*Fatigue
*Involuntary shaking
*Joint pain
*Loss of appetite
*Nausea
*Skin rash
*Swelling of arms and legs
*Yellowing of the skin and eyes (jaundice)

The main sites of copper accumulation are the liver and the brain, and consequently liver disease and neuropsychiatric symptoms are the main features that lead to diagnosis.  People with liver problems tend to come to medical attention earlier, generally as children or teenagers, than those with neurological and psychiatric symptoms, who tend to be in their twenties or older. Some are identified only because relatives have been diagnosed with Wilson’s disease; many of these, when tested, turn out to have been experiencing symptoms of the condition but haven’t received a diagnosis.:

Causes:
Wilson’s disease occurs when a genetic mutation leads to an accumulation of copper in  one’s body.

How the genetic mutation occurs
The genetic mutation that causes Wilson’s disease is most commonly passed from one generation to the next. Wilson’s disease is inherited as an autosomal recessive trait, which means that to develop the disease you must inherit two copies of the defective gene, one from each parent. If you receive only one abnormal gene, you won’t become ill yourself, but you’re considered a carrier and can pass the gene to your children.

How the genetic mutation causes Wilson’s disease
The mutation that causes Wilson’s disease occurs in a gene called ATP7B. When a mutation occurs on this gene, it leads to problems with a protein that’s responsible for moving excess copper out of your liver.

Your body collects copper from the food you eat during the digestive process. The copper is transported to your liver where liver cells use it for everyday tasks. Most people eat more copper than they need. In these cases, the liver takes what it needs and excretes the rest in bile, a digestive juice made by the liver.

But in people with Wilson’s disease, the extra copper doesn’t leave your body. Instead, copper builds up in the liver, where it can cause serious and sometimes irreversible damage. In time, excess copper leaves the liver and begins accumulating in and harming other organs, especially the brain, eyes and kidneys.

Complications:
Wilson’s disease can cause serious complications such as:

*Scarring of the liver (cirrhosis). As liver cells try to make repairs to damage done by excess copper, scar tissue forms in the liver. The scar tissue makes it more difficult for the liver to function.

*Liver failure. Liver failure can occur suddenly (acute liver failure), or it can develop slowly over many years. If liver function progresses, a liver transplant may be a treatment option.

*Liver cancer. Damage to the liver caused by Wilson’s disease may increase the risk of liver cancer.

*Persistent neurological problems. Neurological problems usually improve with treatment for Wilson’s disease. However, some people may experience persistent neurological difficulty, despite treatment.
*Kidney problems. Wilson’s disease can damage the kidneys, leading to kidney problems, such as kidney stones and an abnormal number of amino acids excreted in the urine (aminoaciduria).

Diagnosis:
Wilson’s disease may be suspected on the basis of any of the symptoms mentioned above, or when a close relative has been found to have Wilson’s. Most have slightly abnormal liver function tests such as a raised aspartate transaminase, alanine transaminase and bilirubin level. If the liver damage is significant, albumin may be decreased due to an inability of damaged liver cells to produce this protein; likewise, the prothrombin time (a test of coagulation) may be prolonged as the liver is unable to produce proteins known as clotting factors. Alkaline phosphatase levels are relatively low in those with Wilson’s-related acute liver failure. If there are neurological symptoms, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the brain is usually performed; this shows hyperintensities in the part of the brain called the basal ganglia in the T2 setting.  MRI may also demonstrate the characteristic “face of the giant panda” pattern.

There is no totally reliable test for Wilson’s disease, but levels of ceruloplasmin and copper in the blood, as well of the amount of copper excreted in urine during a 24-hour period, are together used to form an impression of the amount of copper in the body. The gold standard or most ideal test is a liver biopsy

Ceruloplasmin
Levels of ceruloplasmin are abnormally low (<0.2 g/L) in 80–95% of cases. It can, however, be present at normal levels in people with ongoing inflammation as it is an acute phase protein. Low ceruloplasmin is also found in Menkes disease and aceruloplasminemia, which are related to, but much rarer than Wilson’s disease.

The combination of neurological symptoms, Kayser–Fleisher rings and a low ceruloplasmin level is considered sufficient for the diagnosis of Wilson’s disease. In many cases, however, further tests are needed.
Serum and urine copper
Serum copper is paradoxically low but urine copper is elevated in Wilson’s disease. Urine is collected for 24 hours in a bottle with a copper-free liner. Levels above 100 ?g/24h (1.6 ?mol/24h) confirm Wilson’s disease, and levels above 40 ?g/24h (0.6 ?mol/24h) are strongly indicative.[1] High urine copper levels are not unique to Wilson’s disease; they are sometimes observed in autoimmune hepatitis and in cholestasis (any disease obstructing the flow of bile from the liver to the small bowel).

In children, the penicillamine test may be used. A 500 mg oral dose of penicillamine is administered, and urine collected for 24 hours. If this contains more than 1600 ?g (25 ?mol), it is a reliable indicator of Wilson’s disease. This test has not been validated in adults.

Liver biopsy
Once other investigations have indicated Wilson’s disease, the ideal test is the removal of a small amount of liver tissue through a liver biopsy. This is assessed microscopically for the degree of steatosis and cirrhosis, and histochemistry and quantification of copper are used to measure the severity of the copper accumulation. A level of 250 ?g of copper per gram of dried liver tissue confirms Wilson’s disease. Occasionally, lower levels of copper are found; in that case, the combination of the biopsy findings with all other tests could still lead to a formal diagnosis of Wilson’s.

In the earlier stages of the disease, the biopsy typically shows steatosis (deposition of fatty material), increased glycogen in the nucleus, and areas of necrosis (cell death). In more advanced disease, the changes observed are quite similar to those seen in autoimmune hepatitis, such as infiltration by inflammatory cells, piecemeal necrosis and fibrosis (scar tissue). In advanced disease, finally, cirrhosis is the main finding. In acute liver failure, degeneration of the liver cells and collapse of the liver tissue architecture is seen, typically on a background of cirrhotic changes. Histochemical methods for detecting copper are inconsistent and unreliable, and taken alone are regarded as insufficient to establish a diagnosis.

Genetic testing
Mutation analysis of the ATP7B gene, as well as other genes linked to copper accumulation in the liver, may be performed. Once a mutation is confirmed, it is possible to screen family members for the disease as part of clinical genetics family counselling

Treatment:
DietaryIn general, a diet low in copper-containing foods is recommended, with the avoidance of mushrooms, nuts, chocolate, dried fruit, liver, and shellfish.

Medication
Various treatments are available for Wilson’s disease. Some increase the removal of copper from the body, while others prevent the absorption of copper from the diet.

Generally, penicillamine is the first treatment used. This binds copper (chelation) and leads to excretion of copper in the urine. Hence, monitoring of the amount of copper in the urine can be done to ensure a sufficiently high dose is taken. Penicillamine is not without problems: about 20% experience a side effect or complication of penicillamine treatment, such as drug-induced lupus (causing joint pains and a skin rash) or myasthenia (a nerve condition leading to muscle weakness). In those who presented with neurological symptoms, almost half experience a paradoxical worsening in their symptoms. While this phenomenon is also observed in other treatments for Wilson’s, it is usually taken as an indication for discontinuing penicillamine and commencing second-line treatment.  Intolerant to penicillamine may instead be commenced on trientine hydrochloride, which also has chelating properties. Some recommend trientine as first-line treatment, but experience with penicillamine is more extensive.  A further agent with known activity in Wilson’s disease is tetrathiomolybdate. This is still regarded as experimental,  although some studies have shown a beneficial effect.

Once all results have returned to normal, zinc (usually in the form of a zinc acetate prescription called Galzin) may be used instead of chelators to maintain stable copper levels in the body. Zinc stimulates metallothionein, a protein in gut cells that binds copper and prevents their absorption and transport to the liver. Zinc therapy is continued unless symptoms recur, or if the urinary excretion of copper increases.

In rare cases where none of the oral treatments are effective, especially in severe neurological disease, dimercaprol (British anti-Lewisite) is still occasionally necessary. This treatment is injected intramuscularly (into a muscle) every few weeks, and has a number of unpleasant side effects such as pain.

People who are asymptomatic (for instance those diagnosed through family screening or only as a result of abnormal test results) are generally treated, as the copper accumulation may cause long-term damage in the future. It is unclear whether these people are best treated with penicillamine or zinc acetate.

Physical therapy
Physiotherapy is beneficial for those patients with the neurologic form of the disease. The copper chelating treatment may take up to six months to start working, and physical therapy can assist in coping with ataxia, dystonia, and tremors, as well as preventing the development of contractures that can result from dystonia.

Transplantation
Liver transplantation is an effective cure for Wilson’s disease, but is used only in particular scenarios because of the numerous risks and complications associated with the procedure. It is used mainly in people with fulminant liver failure who fail to respond to medical treatment, or in those with advanced chronic liver disease. Liver transplantation is avoided in severe neuropsychiatric illness, in which its benefit has not been demonstrated
Lifestyle and home remedies:

Doctors sometimes recommend limiting the amount of copper you consume in your diet during the first year of your treatment for Wilson’s disease. As your signs and symptoms recede and the copper levels in your body drop, you may be able to include copper-containing foods in your diet.

Copper-containing foods
Foods that contain high levels of copper include:

*Copper-containing vitamin and mineral supplements
*Liver
*Shellfish
*Mushrooms
*Nuts
*Chocolate
*Dried fruit
*Dried peas, beans and lentils
*Avocados
*Bran products

Copper in tap water
Have your tap water’s copper levels tested if you have copper pipes in your home or if your water comes from a well. Most municipal water systems don’t contain high levels of copper.

If you have copper pipes, run the tap for several seconds before collecting water for drinking or cooking. Water that sits in the copper pipes can pick up copper particles. Running the water flushes that contaminated water out of the pipes.

Copper pots and pans
Don’t use copper pots, pans or storage containers for your food or drinks.

Disclaimer: This information is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advise or help. It is always best to consult with a Physician about serious health concerns. This information is in no way intended to diagnose or prescribe remedies.This is purely for educational purpose

Resources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wilson’s_disease
http://www.eurowilson.org/en/living/guide/what/index.phtml
http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/wilsons-disease/DS00411

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Essential Tremor

Alternative Names:  Tremor – essential; Familial tremor; Tremor – familial

Definition:
Essential tremor is a disorder of the nervous system that causes a rhythmic shaking. Essential tremor (ET) goes by many names (benign essential tremor and familial tremor being two others), but regardless of the name it is characterized by a shaking in primarily the hands and arms, but it can be found in the jaw and throat and even more rarely the legs. ET is a widely varying disease that can affect many body parts and can vary in its intensity. Some people have a minor tremor in their hands, while others will have a highly noticeable tremor that affects the afflicted’s quality of life and can be mistaken for Parkinson’s Disease by the lay person. Many diseases have a tremor associated with them, but what sets ET apart from other diseases is its lack of any symptom outside of the tremor. Most people will never be diagnosed as having ET, and even when diagnosed there are few treatments available. Essential tremor is inherited by more people on a year by year basis than any other movement disease, this being because it is a simple dominant autosomal trait……...click & see

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Although usually not a dangerous condition, essential tremor worsens over time and can be severe in some people.Essential tremor can occur at any age but is most common in older adults……....you may click  to read more

Symptoms:
The tremor is usually most obvious in the hands, but may affect the arms, head, eyelids, or other muscles. The tremor rarely affects the legs or feet. People with essential tremor may have trouble holding or using small objects such as silverware or a pen.

The shaking usually involves small, rapid movements — more than 5 times a second.

Specific symptoms may include:

*Begin gradually

*Worsen with movement

*Usually occur in the hands first, affecting one hand or both hands

*Are aggravated by emotional stress, fatigue, caffeine or extremes of temperature

*Head nodding (Can include a “yes-yes” or “no-no” motion of the head)

*Shaking or quivering sound to the voice if the tremor affects the voice box

*Difficulty writing, drawing, drinking from a cup, or using tools if the tremor affects the hands

The tremors may:

*Occur when you move (action-related tremor), and may be less noticeable with rest

*Come and go, but generally get worse as you age

*Get worse with stress, caffeine, and certain medications

*Not affect both sides of the body the same way

Essential tremor vs. Parkinson’s disease

Many people associate tremors with Parkinson’s disease, but the two conditions differ in key ways:

*When tremors occur. Essential tremor of the hands typically occurs when you use your hands. Tremors from Parkinson’s are most prominent when your hands are at your sides or resting in your lap.

*Associated conditions. Essential tremor doesn’t cause other health problems, whereas Parkinson’s is associated with a stooped posture, slow movement and a shuffling gait. However, people with essential tremor may sometimes develop other neurological signs and symptoms — such as an unsteady gait (ataxia).

*Parts of body affected. Essential tremor can involve your hands, head, voice and legs. Tremors from Parkinson’s typically affect your hands but not your head or voice.

Causes:
Essential tremor is the most common type of tremor. In general, tremors occur when there is a problem with the nerves supplying certain muscles. However, everyone has some essential tremor but the movements are usually so small that they can’t be seen.

About half of essential tremor cases appear to occur because of a genetic mutation. This is referred to as familial tremor. What causes essential tremor in people without a known genetic mutation isn’t clear.

Some research suggests that the cerebellum, the part of the brain that controls muscles movements, does not work correctly in patients with essential tremor.

Noticeable essential tremors can be seen at any age but are most common in people older than 65.

Essential tremor can also occur with other neurological conditions, including dystonia, parkinsonism, and certain inherited nerve conditions such as Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease.

If an essential tremor occurs in more than one member of a family, it is called a familial tremor. This type of essential tremor is passed down through families (inherited), which suggests that genes play a role in its cause.

Familial tremor is usually a dominant trait, which means that you only need to get the gene from one parent to develop the disorder. It usually starts in early middle age, but may be seen in people who are older or younger.

Risk Factors:
There are two known risk factors for essential tremor:

*Genetic mutation. The inherited variety of essential tremor is an autosomal dominant disorder, which means that a defective gene from just one parent is needed to pass on the condition. If you have a parent with a genetic mutation for essential tremor, you have a 50 percent chance of developing the disorder yourself.

*Age. Essential tremor is more common in middle age and older.

Complications:
Essential tremor is not life-threatening, but symptoms often worsen over time. If the tremors become severe, you may find it difficult to:

*Hold a cup or glass without spilling

*Eat normally

*Put on makeup or shave

*Talk, if your voice box or tongue is affected

*Write — handwriting may become increasingly large, shaky and illegible

Diagnosis:

Your doctor can make the diagnosis by performing a physical exam and asking questions about your medical and personal history.

A physical exam will show shaking with movement, usually small movements that are faster than 5 times per second. There are usually no problems with coordination or mental function.

Further tests may be needed to rule out other reasons for the tremors. Other causes of tremors may include:

•Alcohol withdrawal
•Cigarette smoking
•Hyperthyroidism
•Pheochromocytoma
•Too much caffeine
•Use of certain medications
•Wilson’s disease
Blood tests and imaging studies (such as a CT scan of the head, brain MRI, and x-rays) are usually normal.
The most common way to diagnose ET is by having a patient draw the Archimedes Spiral, which is shown immediately below.

If there is a shakiness detected while drawing the spiral, ET can be diagnosed assuming there are no neurological or biological reasons to be found. Below is a picture of what the Archimedes Spiral looks like when drawn by a person with a relatively severe tremor:

Treatment:
Treatment may not be necessary unless the tremors interfere with your daily activities or cause embarrassment.

When diagnosed with ET there are several courses of action depending on the severity of the tremor.
Medicines may help relieve symptoms. How well medicines work depend on the individual patient.

Two medications used to treat tremors include:

•Propranolol, a drug that blocks the action of stimulating substances called neurotransmitters, particularly those related to adrenaline
•Primidone, an antiseizure drug that also controls the function of some neurotransmitters
The drugs can have significant side effects.

Side effects of propranolol include:

•Fatigue
•Nose stuffiness
•Shortness of breath (people with asthma should not use this drug)
•Slow heart beat
Side effects of primidone include:

•Drowsiness
•Difficulty concentrating
•Nausea
•Problems with walking, balance, and coordination
Other medications that may reduce tremors include:

•Antiseizure drugs such as gabapentin and topiramate
•Mild tranquilizers such as alprazolam or clonazepam
•Blood pressure drugs called calcium-channel blockers such as flunarizine and nimodipine
Botox injections, given in the hand, have been used to reduce tremors by weakening local muscles.

In severe cases, surgery to implant a stimulating device in the brain may be an option.

Prognosis:

An essential tremor is not a dangerous condition, but some patients find the tremors annoying and embarrassing. In some cases, it may be dramatic enough to interfere with work, eating, or drinking.

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Prevention:
Stress and caffeine can make tremors worse. Avoid caffeinated drinks such as coffee, tea, and soda, and other stimulants. Exercise and counseling to reduce emotional stress may also help.

Alcoholic beverages in small quantities may decrease tremors but can lead to alcohol dependence and alcohol abuse, especially if you have a family history of such problems. How alcohol helps relieve tremors is unknown.


Disclaimer: This information is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advise or help. It is always best to consult with a Physician about serious health concerns. This information is in no way intended to diagnose or prescribe remedies.This is purely for educational purpose

Resources:
http://wiki.ggc.usg.edu/mediawiki/index.php/Essential_Tremor
http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/essential-tremor/DS00367
http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000762.htm

Movement Disorders

Introduction:
Movement disorders are a group of nervous system (neurological) conditions that cause you to have abnormal voluntary or involuntary movements, or slow, reduced movements.
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Even a simple action such as picking up a pencil engages several different parts of the brain. The conscious thought areas of the brain trigger the motor area to send signals to the muscles of the arm.

As the movement begins, sensors in the arm are activated, sending signals back into different areas of the brain that interpret them and then send further messages to the motor area to fine tune power, speed, coordination and balance.

Given such complexity, problems with the control of movement are understandably widespread. Essential tremor – the most common movement disorder – affects one in 20 people under the age of 40 and one in five people over 65. Up to one in ten people has restless legs syndrome.

Other conditions such as Parkinson’s disease (which affects one in 500 people) are less common, but can severely impair quality of life because they reduce the independence of those affected.

Types:
There are various types of  Movement disorders and that include :

*Ataxia. Ataxia is a neurological condition that affects the part of your brain that controls coordinated movement (cerebellum). Ataxia may cause uncoordinated movements, imbalance and other symptoms.

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*Dystonia. Dystonia is a neurological condition in which your muscles contract involuntarily and may cause twisting and repetitive movements. Dystonia may involve the entire body (generalized dystonia) or one part of the body (focal dystonia).

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*Essential tremor. Essential tremor is a neurological condition that causes involuntary shaking (tremors). Your hands often are affected, but other parts of your body also may be affected.

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*Huntington’s disease. Huntington’s disease is an inherited progressive, neurodegenerative disorder that causes certain nerve cells in your brain to deteriorate. This condition may cause uncontrolled movements, decreased thinking abilities (cognitive abilities), and emotional and mental health disturbances (psychiatric conditions).

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*Multiple system atrophy. Multiple system atrophy is an uncommon, progressive neurological disorder that affects many areas of your brain and nervous system. Multiple system atrophy may cause ataxia or parkinsonism. This condition frequently impairs body systems that modulate your blood pressure, heart rate and bladder function (autonomic function).

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*Myoclonus.:  Myoclonus is a condition in which you have sudden, jerky movements, twitching, or intermittent spasms of a muscle or group of muscles.

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*Parkinson’s disease. Parkinson’s disease is a progressive neurological disorder that affects your movement and may cause shaking (tremor), muscle stiffness (rigidity), slowing of movement, impaired balance or other symptoms. Parkinsonism describes a group of conditions that has symptoms similar to those of Parkinson’s disease.

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*Progressive supranuclear palsy. Progressive supranuclear palsy is a rare neurological disorder that causes you to have problems with walking, balance and eye movements. It resembles Parkinson’s disease but is a distinct condition.

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*Restless legs syndrome. Restless legs syndrome causes unpleasant, abnormal feelings in your legs while you’re relaxing or lying down. Your symptoms often are relieved by movement.
Tardive dyskinesia. Tardive dyskinesia is a neurological condition caused by long-term use of certain drugs used to treat psychiatric conditions (neuroleptic drugs). Tardive dyskinesia causes repetitive and involuntary movements such as grimacing, eye blinking and other movements.

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*Tourette syndrome. Tourette syndrome is a neurological condition which starts between childhood and teenage years and is associated with repetitive movements (motor tics) and vocal sounds (vocal tics).

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*Wilson’s disease. Wilson’s disease is an inherited (genetic) disorder that causes excessive amounts of copper to build up in your body, causing neurological problems.

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Treatment :Treatment depends upon the underlying disorder

Disclaimer: This information is not meant to be a substitute for professional medical advise or help. It is always best to consult with a Physician about serious health concerns. This information is in no way intended to diagnose or prescribe remedies.This is purely for educational purpose

Resources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Movement_disorder
http://www.bbc.co.uk/health/physical_health/conditions/movementdisorders1.shtml
http://www.ganeurosurg.org/specialties/movementdisorders.htm
http://www.mayoclinic.org/movement-disorders/

Dystonia


http://wiki.ggc.usg.edu/mediawiki/index.php/Essential_Tremor
http://www.bothbrainsandbeauty.com/academic-discussions/huntingtons-disease-991
http://www.chelationtherapyonline.com/anatomy/p3.htm

http://fisioterapiananeurologia.blogspot.com/2011/05/ataxia-de-friedreich.html

http://www.movementdisorders.org/james_parkinson/early_atypical.html

Restless Legs Syndrome

Tourette’s Syndrome Pictures

http://www.eurowilson.org/en/living/guide/what/index.phtml