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Comprehensive Movement Disorders Clinic

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Each year, more than 1,000 patients with movement disorders are treated by the experts at UPMC’s Comprehensive Movement Disorders Clinic. While most movement disorders cannot be cured, they often can be effectively treated through medications, lifestyle changes, and surgical interventions that help to reduce symptoms and improve the patient’s quality of life. The American Parkinson Disease Association has designated UPMC’s Movement Disorders division as a Center for Advanced Research, one of just eight such centers in the U.S.

Conditions We Treat

Our team of neurologists offers highly specialized care, both medical and surgical, that can greatly improve quality of life for patients with movement disorders, including:

  • Parkinson’s disease (and other “synucleinopathies”): Parkinson’s disease is a progressive movement disorder with symptoms including slowness, tremor, stiffness, and trouble with balance. Related synucleinopathies include dementia with Lewy bodies and multiple system atrophy.
  • Huntington’s disease: a progressive hereditary disease with involuntary movements, cognitive impairment and psychiatric symptoms.
  • “Tauopathies”: including corticobasal degeneration and progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP).
  • Dystonia: Patients with dystonia experience involuntary muscle contractions, abnormal twisting, and repetitive movements.
  • Essential Tremor: Patients with essential tremor experience uncontrolled shaking, often of the hands or arms, that worsens when the person exerts effort, rather than when resting. Essential tremor may also affect other parts of the body, such as the head and neck and voice.

Individualized Treatment

Our program is staffed by experts in movement disorders who develop individual treatment plans designed for the specific needs of each patient. Patients may also be invited to participate in clinical trials when appropriate.

For patients with dystonia and other movement disorders, EMG-guided botulinum neurotoxin injections may be provided through the weekly clinic. This treatment has been shown to provide significant symptom relief for many people by relaxing the muscles and reducing muscle contractions.

A Leader in Deep Brain Stimulation

Patients whose symptoms are not adequately treated through medication may be referred to our neurosurgical team for evaluation for Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) or other surgical interventions.

DBS has proven to be an effective treatment for involuntary movements associated with Parkinson’s disease, essential tremor, and dystonia, such as tremors, slowness of movement, rigidity, and problems with walking and balance. UPMC offers both traditional “awake” DBS and the newer MRI-guided “asleep” DBS, using the ClearPoint® Neuro Intervention System.

Meet Our Experts