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Neurol Sci. 2012 Apr;33(2):335-8. doi: 10.1007/s10072-011-0674-5. Epub 2011 Jul 1.

Continuous involuntary hand movements and schizencephaly: epilepsia partialis continua or dystonia?

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Department of Neurosciences Ophthalmology and Genetics, Institute of Neurology, University of Genova, Largo Daneo 3, 16132 Genoa, Italy.


Schizencephaly is regarded as a malformation of cortical development (due to abnormal neuronal organization) and may be associated with continuous involuntary hand movements. The mechanisms underlying these movements are not clear and both dystonia and epilepsia partialis continua have been considered in previously reported cases. We describe a young patient affected by schizencephaly and continuous involuntary movements of the contralateral hand. Functional MRI showed bilateral cerebral activation, while the subject performed tapping movements with the affected hand and no significant difference in the activation pattern after diazepam infusion. Standard and back-averaged EEG showed no alterations. The results obtained from these investigations and the clinical features of the involuntary movements are not in favor of an epileptic genesis, while support the diagnosis of secondary dystonia.

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