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Movement Disorders Program

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The Movement Disorders Program at Children’s National Medical Center offers evaluation, diagnosis, and treatment to more than 400 children each year with conditions that affect the speed, quality, and ease of their movement.

Involuntary movements that occur while a child is stationary, moving, or attempting to move, characterize such disorders. Movement disorders may be associated with genetic disorders, infectious diseases, trauma, endocrinologic or neoplastic conditions, or may be related to vascular causes.

Because treating movement disorders is complex, patients benefit from our multidisciplinary approach to care from a comprehensive team of specialists in:
Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
• Social work
We commonly care for with children with the following conditions:
• Acquired and genetic dystonia
• Chorea
• Complications of Cerebral Palsy
• Huntington’s Disease
• Infantile habits and mannerism
• Myoclonus
Obsessive compulsive movements
• Parkinson’s Disease
• Stereotypies
• Sydenham’s Chorea
Tourette Syndrome
• Tremor
• Torticolli

In addition, Children’s Movement Disorders Program cares for children with certain dystonic movement disorders with surgically-implanted deep brain stimulation devices. Deep brain stimulation is a surgical treatment option that has shown promise in treatment centers for adults with movement disorders, such as Parkinson’s disease. The treatment provides relief for intractable symptoms that do not improve with use of medications.

Functioning like a "pacemaker" for the brain, DBS uses electrodes implanted in the brain to send electrical impulses to areas that are linked to movement disorders. While the treatment can relieve symptoms of dystonia, such as tremors, rigidity, slowness of movement, and stiffness, it does not cure patients of this condition.

Website Resources

Tourette’s Syndrome Association of Greater Washington: The Division of Neurology, in collaboration with the Tourette’s Syndrome Association of Greater Washington, has sponsored a summer camp for children with Tourette’s syndrome, Children’s Camp Connect. This one-week camp, one of approximately three such camps in the US, allows children to participate in a co-educational camp experience that helps them build self-esteem, gain independence, and meet others who live with the condition.
Dystonia Medical Research Foundation
Research at Children’s National
We are committed to continuously improving therapies and discovering effective treatments for movement disorders and associated conditions. Our team is engaged in cutting-edge research and clinical trials, which are advancing care for patients.

Current activities include a clinical trial to evaluate the use of prescription alternatives for patients with Tourette’s syndrome and dystonia who have not had success with other medications.

For more information about our studies and how to enroll your child in a clinical trial, speak with your child’s primary care physician, a nurse, or program staff. 

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