Research: Dystonia Medication Can Work on Multiple Areas of the Brain

A medication that’s long been used to treat the symptoms of dystonia could also impact other portions of the brain, according to a study presented at the 20th International Congress of Parkinson’s Disease & Movement Disorders.

The study, led by Roxana Burciu and a team from the University of Florida, Gainesville, studied an anti-cholinergic (neurotransmitter blocking) medication called trihexyphenidyl. Anti-cholinergic drugs are thought to affect the basal ganglia in the base of the brain, according to a news announcement of the study.

Results of the study suggest that those drugs can also impact other areas of the brain.

Study participants – those with cervical dystonia and those without – were examined using a 3T MRI scanner.

Participants with cervical dystonia initially “had reduced motor activity compared to the healthy subjects,” the news announcement said. “After administration of trihexyphenidyl, there was an increase in motor-related activity in middle frontal gyrus and primary somatosensory cortex. The results suggest that somatosensory processing in cervical dystonia can be acutely changed through trihexyphenidyl administration.”

The International Congress of Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders took place in Berlin last week.

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Laurie Watanabe is the editor of Mobility Management. She can be reached at

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