Protecting human subjects in neurosurgical trials: The challenge of psychogenic dystonia

Katrina A. Bramstedt*, Paul J. Ford

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


The discomfort and suffering of medically refractory organic dystonia has lead to the pursuit of new potential treatment interventions, namely, pallidotomy and deep brain stimulation (DBS). The risks inherent in surgical procedures require a heightened awareness to the need for protecting the welfare of research subjects participating in surgical trials. To this end, excluding patients who are not appropriate candidates is a key part of the trial process. We argue that psychogenic dystonia, a condition that is both difficult to diagnose and difficult to treat, should be an exclusion criterion for DBS therapy, and neurosurgery in general. However, since there exists no definitive test for psychogenic dystonia, researchers must determine fair and just criteria for excluding patients whose dystonia is suspected to be primarily psychogenic.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)161-164
Number of pages4
JournalContemporary Clinical Trials
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2006
Externally publishedYes


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