The earliest recognition of cranial dystonia, including blepharospasm and oromandibular dystonias (OMD), is probably found in paintings of the Flemish artist Brueghel from the 16th century, who painted subjects with apparent blepharospasm and involuntary jaw opening (JO) (1). Whether or not the subjects of these portraits actually had anymedical or neurological problems is not known. The conditions were first medically described by Talkow in Germany and Wood in the United States in 1871. In 1899, Gowers described various conditions associated with tonic and clonic contractions of the neck and jaw. Henry Meige published his landmark paper on blepharospasm and OMD in 1910, and the eponym “Meige’s syndrome” is often used to designate idiopathic cranial-cervical dystonia.Various authors have ascribed eponymsofWood, Brueghel, and Blake (an artist who also painted dystonic postures) to describe this syndrome. Marsden et al. designated blepharospasm-OMD syndrome to be a variant of adult-onset torsion dystonia (2) Although often discussed together because of many similarities, they are probably distinct neurological entities. The terms blepharospasm, OMD, and cranial dystonia (combined upper and lower facial dystonia) are used throughout the chapter.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationHandbook of Dystonia
PublisherCRC Press
Number of pages16
ISBN (Electronic)9781420019988
ISBN (Print)0849376122, 9780849376122
StatePublished - Jan 1 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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