PhD defense Marenka Smit

On May 10, Marenka Smit defended her PhD thesis 'Motor and non-motor symptoms in cervival dystonia'.

In past two years, Smit investigated the role of serotonin in the development of cervical dystonia. In addition, she studied the non-motor symptoms of this condition.

The two main conclusions of Smit's thesis are the following: (1) Non-motor symptoms, such as sleep disorders, pain and depression, are prevalent among patients patients with cervical dystonia. And (2) These non-motor symptoms are the main cause for the lower quality of life in patients with cervical dystonia. In order to improve care for these patients, Smit developed a first set-up for a screening tool for these non-motor symptoms.

Marenka Smit (1986) studied medicine at the University of Amsterdam. She performed her PhD research at BCN-BRAIN research institute of the University Medical Center Groningen. The research was paid from the Healthy Aging Pilot Fund of the UMCG and the Dystonie Science Fund. Currently, Smit works as a resident in Neurology in the UMCG.