Researchers Clarify Complex Neurological Causes for Blepharospasm


Drs. David Peterson and Terrence Sejnowski at University of California San Diego have developed a model and hypothesis to explain the origins of blepharospasm, a focal dystonia of the eyelid and brow muscles that cause involuntary blinking and eye closure.
Many researchers believe dystonia occurs due to an underlying vulnerability in the brain combined with an external trigger, but the mechanism is not understood. Blepharospasm patients, for example, have plasticity abnormalities in brain circuits associated with blinking, and symptom onset is frequently preceded by complaints of dry eye, light sensitivity, and other eye symptoms. By combining concepts from neuroscience, engineering, and mathematics, Drs. Peterson and Sejnowski have created a novel framework that may explain the complex combination of conditions in the nervous system that leads to blepharospasm symptoms. This model can be tested using available animal models and may ultimately provide a guide to prevent or reverse the disorder.

Dr. Peterson is a popular speaker at the Dystonia Support & Advocacy Group of San Diego County.

Peterson DA, Sejnowski TJ (2017) A Dynamic Circuit Hypothesis for the Pathogenesis of Blepharospasm. Front Comput Neurosci. 2017; 11:11.

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