Childhood movement disorders

Mered Parnes MD (Dr. Parne of Baylor College of Medicine has no relevant financial relationships to disclose.)
Joseph Jankovic MD, editor. (Dr. Jankovic, Director of the Parkinson's Disease Center and Movement Disorders Clinic at Baylor College of Medicine, received research funding from Allergan, Allon, Ceregene, Chelsea, EMD Serono, Impax, Ipsen, Lundbeck, Medtronic, Merz, and Teva, and compensation for his services as a consultant or an advisory committee member by Allergan, Auspex, EMD Serono, Lundbeck, Merz, Neurocrine Biosciences, and Teva.)
Originally released August 27, 2005; last updated August 19, 2015; expires August 19, 2018


Childhood movement disorders are a diverse group of neurologic conditions manifested by excessive abnormal involuntary movements (hyperkinesias), paucity of movement, or other disorders of motor control (eg, ataxia). Diagnosis and treatment rest on recognition of the primary phenomenology of the movements. The authors have categorized the principal childhood movement disorders based on phenomenology. Once phenomenology has been identified, treatment can be initiated and differential etiology can be narrowed. In this article, the most common causes of each category of movement disorders will be expounded. Pediatric movement disorders is a rapidly developing area of medicine with many recent genetic advances and an ever expanding understanding of clinical phenotypes and pathophysiology of the previously described entities. Recent advances include many of the genetic dystonias and ataxias, NMDA receptor encephalitis, and neuronal degeneration with brain iron accumulation. The scope of this article is to give a general overview of movement disorders affecting the pediatric population. Individual conditions are often discussed in more detail in other MedLink Neurology articles. Relevant review references are also provided.

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