Fewer than 100 people in the world are known to be affected by a movement disorder called rapid-onset dystonia-parkinsonism (RDP), but its symptoms are life-changing. Seemingly normal young people are suddenly and dramatically unable to control movement of their arms or legs and have trouble speaking or swallowing. A normal life is nearly impossible.
RDP is caused by a genetic mutation (ATP1A3) that often runs in families. Now Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center researchers believe that same the genetic predisposition might also be associated with psychiatric problems, such as anxiety, mood disorders and substance abuse/dependence.