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NINDS Chorea Information Page


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What is Chorea?

Chorea is an abnormal involuntary movement disorder, one of a group of neurological disorders called dyskinesias, which are caused by overactivity of the neurotransmitter dopamine in the areas of the brain that control movement. Chorea is characterized by brief, irregular contractions that are not repetitive or rhythmic, but appear to flow from one muscle to the next. Chorea often occurs with athetosis, which adds twisting and writhing movements. Chorea is a primary feature of Huntington's disease, a progressive, hereditary movement disorder that appears in adults, but it may also occur in a variety of other conditions. Syndenham's chorea occurs in a small percentage (20 percent) of children and adolescents as a complication of rheumatic fever. Chorea can also be induced by drugs (levodopa, anti-convulsants, and anti-psychotics) metabolic and endocrine disorders, and vascular incidents.

Is there any treatment?

There is no standard course of treatment for chorea. Treatment depends on the type of chorea and the associated disease. Treatment for Huntington's disease is supportive, while treatment for Syndenham's chorea usually involves antibiotic drugs to treat the infection, followed by drug therapy to prevent recurrence. Adjusting medication dosages can treat drug-induced chorea. Metabolic and endocrine-related choreas are treated according to the cause(s) of symptoms.

What is the prognosis?

The prognosis for individuals with chorea varies depending on the type of chorea and the associated disease. Huntington's disease is a progressive, and ultimately, fatal disease. Syndenham's chorea is treatable and curable.

What research is being done?

The NINDS supports research on movement disorders such as chorea. The goals of this research are to increase understanding of these disorders and to find ways to prevent and treat them.

NIH Patient Recruitment for Chorea Clinical Trials

Organizations

Column1 Column2
Hereditary Disease Foundation
3960 Broadway
6th Floor
New York, NY   10032
cures@hdfoundation.org
http://www.hdfoundation.org
Tel: 212-928-2121
Fax: 212-928-2172

Huntington's Disease Society of America
505 Eighth Avenue
Suite 902
New York, NY   10018
hdsainfo@hdsa.org
http://www.hdsa.org
Tel: 212-242-1968 800-345-HDSA (4372)
Fax: 212-239-3430

Related NINDS Publications and Information


Prepared by:
Office of Communications and Public Liaison
National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
National Institutes of Health
Bethesda, MD 20892



NINDS health-related material is provided for information purposes only and does not necessarily represent endorsement by or an official position of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke or any other Federal agency. Advice on the treatment or care of an individual patient should be obtained through consultation with a physician who has examined that patient or is familiar with that patient's medical history.

All NINDS-prepared information is in the public domain and may be freely copied. Credit to the NINDS or the NIH is appreciated.

Last updated April 16, 2014