Focal Task-Specific Dystonia—From Early Descriptions to a New, Modern Formulation

  • Steven J. Frucht


Background: Vivid descriptions of the phenomenology of focal task‐specific dystonia (FTSD) date back to the late nineteenth century.

Methods: In this review, I summarize the natural history, phenomenology, and treatment of FTSD, focusing on nineteenth‐century neurologists' descriptions of the phenomenology, etiology, treatment, and mechanism.

Results: Examining these texts through a twenty‐first‐century lens, the “modern” ideas of a dystonic endophenotype, disordered physiology, and dystonic metabolic networks actually appeared in these texts more than a century ago.

Discussion: By incorporating these ideas with recent investigations, I present a new conceptual model for understanding this mysterious malady.