We Must Talk about Sex and Focal Dystonia

Shameer Rafee, Sean O'Riordan, Richard Reilly, Michael Hutchinson

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debate

7 Scopus citations


In a recent workshop on “Defining research priorities in dystonia,”, there was absolutely no reference to sex as a factor in disease pathogenesis. In this viewpoint paper, we argue that the most distinctive aspects of adult onset isolated focal dystonia are the marked sex-related differences demonstrated by epidemiological, clinical, and laboratory studies in patients with adult onset dystonia, particularly in cervical dystonia, the most common presentation. We propose that the future focus of research should be on neurobiological mechanisms underlying the profound sexual dimorphism in this disorder. Targeting research into gamma aminobutyric acid (GABA)ergic function, which also shows similar sexual dimorphism, would be most productive in elucidating the pathogenesis of adult onset dystonia.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)604-608
Number of pages5
JournalMovement Disorders
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • basal ganglia
  • cervical
  • dystonia
  • sex differences
  • superior colliculus


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