Support Groups

There are many benefits to joining a dystonia support group. Find the support group nearest you and enjoy the rewards.

Get Involved

You can connect with others in the dystonia community who are committed to making a difference. Getting involved is empowering.

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The Dystonia Medical Research Foundation (DMRF) has stood up for the dystonia community since 1976. Join us in our global effort to find a cure.

Dystonia News

Latest Developments
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Message from President Art Kessler

For many of us with dystonia, a dog offers the opportunity to improve our quality of life. Dogs (and other pets) are not only faithful companions and friends, always there without question and judgment, they also offer the support needed to help their owners simply get through the day, a task many often find physically […]

Dystonia Advocacy Day on Capitol Hill

Apply for the Douglas Kramer Young Advocate Award

The Dystonia Medical Research Foundation (DMRF) is seeking individuals between the ages of 20-35 who are committed to making a difference in the dystonia community, to apply for the Douglas Kramer Young Advocate Award. Eligible candidates must be interested and available to work with the DMRF to support legislative advocacy efforts at the Federal and […]

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Groundbreaking Investigations Seek Cure for Disabling Childhood Dystonia

The Dystonia Medical Research Foundation (DMRF) announced its latest post-doctoral fellowship awards to advance research toward improved dystonia treatments and a cure. For more than 40 years, the DMRF has funded dystonia science and created opportunities for young investigators to establish careers in this growing field. Dystonia is the third most common movement disorder, affecting […]

Dystonia Events

Find an Event Near You
VirtualWalk2018

Virtual Walk

February 1-28, 2019

dystonia legislative advocacy

Dystonia Advocacy Day

March 26-27, 2019

Join us, and be a part of the global effort to find a cure for dystonia


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Current Dystonia Research Investigations

The Dystonia Medical Research Foundation (DMRF) prides itself on a long history of supporting and stimulating dystonia research.
Neuroanatomical Substrates for Disrupted Eif2alpha Signaling in Dystonia

Although dystonia is among the top three most common conditions evaluated in neurological movement disorder clinics, the precise mechanisms for dystonia are poorly understood and there are no known disease-modifying treatments. This project proposes to advance our understanding of dystonia mechanisms and to explore specific cellular pathways to target in order to treat the disease. Observations in multiple forms of dystonia have implicated a specific cellular pathway in the brain as a central source of dysfunction. This pathway is involved in responding to cellular stressors and mediating plasticity responses in the brain. This study proposes to identify the brain regions, cell types, and developmental periods in which the pathway’s activation is disrupted in dystonia mouse models and to test whether a genetic manipulation that would boost the pathway’s activity will reduce negative effects of the DYT1 mutation. This knowledge will advance our understanding of the cellular mechanism of dystonia and provide key proof-of-principle experiments to determine whether targeting the pathway is beneficial.

Nicole Calakos, MD, PhD Duke University (USA)
Myoclonus-Dystonia, a Study of Motor and Non-Motor Symptoms: Is there a Role for Serotonin?

This study will compare the present symptoms of myoclonus-dystonia (M-D) patients to the symptoms they had 10 years ago to assess how the symptoms evolve over time. Since M-D patients frequently experience non-motor symptoms including psychological difficulties, sleep disturbances, and fatigue, it is believed these symptoms are part of the disease, not secondary consequences, and may result from an altered metabolism of a brain neurotransmitter called serotonin. This study will analyze serotonin levels in the blood of M-D patients, healthy controls, and cervical dystonia patients. A genetic study of serotonin-related genes will also be performed.

Marina A.J. de Koning-Tijssen, MD, PhD University of Groningen (The Netherlands)
Striatal Neuron Activity Patterns in Dystonia

The causes of dystonia are not clearly understood but abnormal signaling within the striatum, a region of the brain that controls movement, is thought to be involved. It is now possible to record the firing patterns of dozens of neurons simultaneously in the striatum of awake dystonic mice to reveal the abnormal neural code associated with dystonia. Technology known as in vivo microscopy will be used in mice with dystonia to visualize the firing patterns of neurons within the striatum. Mice will be recorded while they are dystonic and after they have been treated with drugs that alleviate the dystonia. By comparing the different firing patterns with and without dystonia, these experiments will reveal the neural code associated with dystonia for the first time. In the short term, these experiments will provide important information that could be useful to guide stimulation parameters for deep brain stimulation in dystonia patients. In the long-term, understanding the neural code of dystonia will provide important information for the development of novel therapeutics that target the abnormal neural code.

Ellen Hess, PhD Emory University (USA)
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