At a nearby internet café, I printed off some information from the website of the Dystonia Medical Research Foundation in Canada ( ordered a large cappuccino and an even larger piece of cake, and wept as I read about blepharospasm (spasm of the eyelid).
The condition is a form of dystonia, the third most common neurological disorder after Parkinson's disease and multiple sclerosis; it is a little-recognised condition, although there may be as many as 40,000 sufferers in this country. As a divorced mother of four, I was terrified about the effect this would have on my children.
However, it is unknown if the gene that causes Early Onset Torsion Dystonia is responsible for the other dystonias as well. However, there are several medical approaches that can be taken in order to lessen the symptoms of the disease.
A fourth option in the treatment for the symptoms of torsion dystonia is surgery.
Surgery is performed only if the patient does not respond to the oral medications or the injections.
It commonly begins with contractions in one general area such as an arm or a leg that continue to progress throughout the rest of the body.
It takes roughly 5 years for the symptoms to completely progress to a debilitating state.
The medications focus on the chemicals released by neurotransmitters in the nervous system, which control muscle movement.
The medications on the market today are anticholinergics, benzodiazepines, baclofen, dopaminergic agents/dopamine-depleting agents, and tetrabenazine.I first thought something was odd when my eyes watered as I cycled to work, one day in February 2002. In the office, I had to screw up my eyes to look at the computer.Later in the evening, one of the other people on my creative writing course asked if I was extremely bored or very tired, as my eyes kept closing.The doctor said it could be treated with Botox injections.I made a face, said I thought it was getting better and waltzed off.The occurrence of torsion dystonia in the Ashkenazi Jewish population as stated by the Department of Epidemiology and Public Health of Yale University School of Medicine in New Haven, CT; "Reports dating to the beginning of this century describe Ashkenazi Jewish (AJ) families with multiple cases of ITD either in siblings (Schwalbe 1908; Bernstein 1912; Abrahamson 1920) or in parents and offspring (Wechsler and Brock 1922; Mankowsky and Czerny 1929; Regensberg 1930).