Rodi Zutt thesis defence

On February 7th 2018, Rodi Zutt has defended her thesis called 'Myoclonus. A diagnostic challenge.'

An involuntary muscle shock when you almost fall asleep - that is an example of myoclonus. Patients with this type of movement disorder experience such shocks all day. Myoclonus can be present in the face, the limbs, the neck and / or the trunk. Neurologist Rodi Zutt investigated the disorder in her doctoral research. Together with colleagues from the expertise center for movement disorders in the UMCG, she developed a new diagnostic protocol that helps to determine if a patient have myoclonus, and if so, which subtype. In addition, the protocol offers guidance in determining the underlying condition and the best treatment. The protocol is already being used all over the world.

Zutt explains in her thesis that the symptoms of myoclonus can be very diverse. Patients can suffer from shocks when they are at rest, but mostly, the shocks occur when patients are doing things or hearing unexpected sounds. These involuntary movements can be a burden to patients in their daily functioning, such as eating, drinking and walking. Myoclonus has many possible causes. The shocks often occur as a side effect of medication in patients with various diseases including Alzheimer's disease, but also as an expression of a functional (psychogenic) complaint. In addition, there are now more than a hundred genetic disorders known which can give myoclonus. Due to rapid developments in clinical genetics, it is possible to examine all genetic causes with 'next generation sequencing'.

Determining myoclonus is often complex and it is not always possible to determine the subtype. Zutt shows in her research the additional value of neurophysiological research. She wrote an article on this subject, which has recently been published in the leading journal 'Neurology' (January 2018). In her thesis, Zutt describes a new neurophysiological test for the determination of functional muscle twitches. In summary, her research shows the importance of accurately diagnosing (the different subtypes) of myoclonus and which diagnostic tests can help.

Rodi Zutt (1984) studied medicine at the University of Amsterdam and followed the general neurology training at the University Medical Center Groningen. Zutt now works as a neurologist / specialist in movement disorders in the Haga Hospital in The Hague. The title of her thesis is: "Myoclonus. A diagnostic challenge ".