Movement Disorders

Movement disorders refers to a group of neurological conditions characterized by impaired or involuntary movements. Athena Diagnostics tests for spinocerebellar ataxias (lack of coordination of muscle movement), dystonia (abnormal movements due to muscle contraction), and Parkinson's disease.

Video: Ataxia and HSP Next Generation Sequencing

Testing for Genetic Movement Disorders

Athena Diagnostics offers a comprehensive suite of testing for several movement disorders

  • Ataxia - Ataxia refers to loss of muscle coordination, often resulting in difficulty walking or balancing. Many of the spinocerebellar ataxias can be difficult to distinguish by clinical examination alone, and a genetic test can provide recurrence risk and valuable prognostic information.
  • Dystonia - Hereditary dystonias are characterized by sustained muscle contractions that result in abnormal posturing, twisting, and repetitive movements. An estimated 16.43/100,000 are affected (GeneReviews).
  • Parkinson's Disease (PD) - PD is one of the most common neurodegenerative diseases affecting over 1 million in the US and 7-10 million worldwide, with 60,000 diagnoses in the US each year (Parkinson's Disease Foundation). It is caused by degeneration of neurons in the substantia nigra of the brain, and symptoms include tremor, difficulty with balance, and cognitive decline.

A definitive molecular diagnosis of a movement disorder can:

  • Limit the need for expensive repeat diagnostics
  • Provide prognostic information and distinguish between clinically similar syndromes
  • Provide genetic and recurrence risk to the family
  • Allow patients to participate in clinical trials

Our staff of genetic counselors and laboratory directors is available to assist you in the ordering process.


Further Educational Information

Letters of Medical Necessity

Medical Affairs Resources

Athena Diagnostics Client Services - (800) 394-4493 Option 2

Athena Diagnostics Genetic Counselors -

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