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Flatau-Sterling syndrome

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Dystonia is a neurologic syndrome characterized by involuntary, sustained, patterned, and often repetitive muscle contractions of opposing muscles causing twisting movements or abnormal postures. The term dystonia musculorum deformans, coined by the German neurologist Hermann Oppenheim (1858-1919) in 1911, was criticized by Flatau and Sterling (1911) because fluctuating muscle tone was not necessarily characteristic of the disorder, the term musculorum incorrectly implied that the involuntary movement was due to a muscle disorder, and not all patients became deformed. They highlighted the genetic nature of the disorder and suggested the term progressive torsion spasm.

See also Ziehen-Oppenheim syndrome, under Georg Theodor Ziehen, German neurologist and psychiatrist, 1862-1950.


  • E. Flatau, W. Sterling:
    Progressiver Torsionspasms bei Kindern.
    Zeitschrift für die Gesamte Neurologie und Psychiatrie, Berlin, 1911, 7: 586-612.

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