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What is Athetosis?

Athetosis is a continuous stream of slow, flowing, writhing involuntary movements. It usually affects the hands and feet. Hemiballismus is a type of chorea, usually involving violent, involuntary flinging of one arm and/or one leg.

What is Athetosis?

  • Athetosis is a movement dysfunction. It's characterized by involuntary writhing movements. These movements may be continuous, slow, and rolling. They may also make maintaining a symmetrical and stable posture difficult.
  • With athetosis, the same regions of the body are repeatedly affected. These typically include the hands, arms, and feet. The neck, face, tongue, and trunk can be involved, too.
  • While athetosis may be continuous, it can get worse with attempts to control movement. For example, if a person with the condition tries to type on a computer keyboard, they may have extreme difficulty controlling where their fingers land and how long they remain.

What causes Athetosis?

The most common cause of athetosis is an injury to the basal ganglia, which is the part of the brain responsible for motor control. It also influences executive functions, emotions, behaviors, and motor learning.

What is the difference between chorea and Athetosis?

Chorea is an ongoing random-appearing sequence of one or more discrete involuntary movements or movement fragments. Athetosis is a slow, continuous, involuntary writhing movement that prevents maintenance of a stable posture.

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