Movement Disorders

To find patient care programs and faculty treating movement disorders at Kennedy Krieger Institute, as well as research investigating this disorder, please see the right-hand column below. Additional helpful information, including definitions, symptoms, Institute press releases, Potential magazine articles, and other resources outside the Institute, have also been provided for readers on this page.

Movement Disorders Overview:

Movement disorders describe a group of neurological conditions characterized by abnormalities in the quality and quantity of spontaneous movements. While the clinical presentation ranges from an almost inability to move to severe constant and excessive movement, they are usually divided into groups primarily with excessive movement (hyperkinetic movement disorders) and those with diminished movements (bradykinetic movement disorders). These disorders affect the speed, quality and ease of movement, and do not lead to weakness or paralysis.

Commonly recognized adult movement disorders include Parkinson's disease and Huntington's disease. In children, specific diseases are less commonly identified and the disorders are often described by the type of movement observed, such as dystonia, choreoathetosis and hemiballismus. Most adult and pediatric movement disorders are felt to result from abnormalities in the basal ganglia, which are groups of neurons deep in the brain linked in circuits and responsible for the planning and execution of movement.

Kennedy Krieger Institute has a Movement Disorders Program where children, adolescents and adults are treated with carefully designed treatment programs, including oral medications including trihexiphenidyl and levodopa, as well intrathecal medications such as baclofen. Patients with severe disorders which do not respond to these interventions may be referred for neurosurgical procedures involving the basal ganglia. While these interventions do not "cure" these disorders, they are frequently associated with improvements in ability to move and quality of life.

Examples, Subsets and Synonyms for Movement Disorders:

  • Ataxia
  • Cerebral Palsy
  • Choreoathetosis
  • Dystonia
  • Hypotonia
  • Kernicterus
  • Motor Stereotypies
  • Spasticity
  • Tourette Syndrome