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Movement Disorders

Washington University is a multidisciplinary movement disorders center.

Among the conditions diagnosed and treated are dystonias, such as torticollis, blepharospasm, and writer’s cramp; Parkinsonism and related illnesses; essential tremor, Huntington’s disease, Tourette syndrome, and Ataxia, or unsteady gait.

For clinical studies call: (314) 362-0420

Our board-certified specialists see patients in areas of their special interests.

Joel Perlmutter, MD, Section Chief
Kevin Black, MD, Neuropsychiatry
Susan Criswell, MD     
Marc Diamond, MD

Morvarid Karimi, MD
Paul Kotzbauer, MD

William Landau, MD

Scott Norris, MD
Brad Racette, MD
Bradley Schlaggar, MD, PhD, Pediatric Movement Disorders
Samer Tabbal, MD

In addition to the physicians, the following individuals see patients:
Gammon Earhart, PhD, PT
Ryan Duncan, PT, DPT
Johanna Hartlein, RN, APN
Erin Foster, OTD

Two Patient Locations
Neuroclinical Research Unit, McMillan Building
517 S. Euclid Avenue, Lower Level
St. Louis, MO 63110

Neuroscience Center
Center for Advanced Medicine
4921 Parkview Place, 6th floor, Suite C
St. Louis, MO 63110

For more information visit the Huntington’s Disease Center of Excellence


The dystonias are movement disorders in which sustained muscle contractions cause twisting and repetitive movements or abnormal postures. The movements, which are involuntary and sometimes painful, may affect a single muscle; a group of muscles such as those in the arms, legs, or neck; or the entire body. Those with dystonia usually have normal intelligence and no associated psychiatric disorders.

Parkinsonism and Related Illnesses
Parkinsonism is any of a group of nervous disorders similar to and including Parkinson's disease, marked by muscular rigidity, tremor, and impaired motor control. They may having a specific cause, such as the use of certain drugs or frequent exposure to toxic chemicals. Parkinson's disease (PD) belongs to a group of conditions called motor system disorders, which are the result of the loss of dopamine-producing brain cells. The four primary symptoms of PD are tremor, rigidity, bradykinesia, or slowness of movement; and postural instability, impaired balance and coordination.

Essential Tremor
Essential tremor, the most common form of abnormal tremor, is a nerve disorder in which tremors or shakes occur without an identifiable cause. The tremor resembles an exaggerated shaking and occurs when a person is moving or trying to move, but not while they are at rest. The shaking may first become noticeable while engaging in normal activities such as pouring a cup of coffee, writing, or using a tool, such as a screwdriver.

Some degree of tremor during movements is normal for everyone and this shaking primarily involves the hands. Stress, fatigue, anger, fear, caffeine, and cigarettes may temporarily worsen this type of normal tremor to the point that it interferes with the job at hand.

Huntington's disease
Huntington's Disease (HD) is a hereditary degenerative brain disorder that leads to both physical and mental disabilities. Symptoms range from forgetfulness, personality change, and involuntary movement to difficulty swallowing. Each person is affected individually and may display different symptoms. It affects woman and men as well as all races. The Washington University Huntington's Disease Center of Excellence serves the Midwest area treating patients from Missouri, Kansas, Iowa, Arkansas and Southern Illinois.

Tourette syndrome (TS)
Tourette syndrome is a neuropsychiatric disorder characterized by repetitive movements (motor tics) and sounds (vocal tics). TS is generally lifelong, though specific tics tend to come and go, and severity changes over time. There are other, generally rare causes of tics, such as infection or stroke, but when no specific cause is apparent and tics fall into the pattern described above, TS is diagnosed. About one in 1,000 people have TS, often in a fairly mild form.

Movement Disorder Clinical Studies

Click here to read more information on movement disorder clinical studies.
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Copyright 2015 Washington University School of Medicine
Copyright 2015 Washington University School of Medicine