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Ann Neurol. 1989 Nov;26(5):612-20.

Idiopathic dystonia among Ashkenazi Jews: evidence for autosomal dominant inheritance.

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Dystonia Clinical Research Center, Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center, New York, NY.


We studied families to clarify the mode of inheritance of idiopathic torsion dystonia among the Ashkenazim. Probands had symptoms before 28 years of age, had at least one Ashkenazi grandparent, and were ascertained independently of family history and not referred by another relative. All available first- and second-degree relatives were examined, and videotapes were made. Examination notes and blinded review of videotapes led to rating of dystonia as definite, probable, possible, or absent. We determined rates of illness for first- and second-degree relatives and calculated age-adjusted lifetime risks. The methods of maximum likelihood and likelihood ratio goodness-of-fit tests were used to estimate parameters and to test dominant and recessive models of inheritance. We studied 43 probands, 146 (90.1%) of 162 living first-degree relatives, and 96 (40.2%) of 239 living second-degree relatives. Nineteen relatives had definite dystonia, and 2 had probable dystonia. Using definite cases only, the age-adjusted risk for all first-degree relatives was 15.5% and for all second-degree relatives 6.5%, with no significant sex differences; parent, offspring, and sibling risks did not differ significantly. The risks were consistent with autosomal dominant inheritance with a penetrance estimated at 29.4% using definite cases only or 32.2% using definite and probable cases. Assuming a disease frequency of 1/15,000, the gene frequency was estimated to be 1/9000.

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