2022 Dystonia Coalition Pilot Projects Program Award Announcement

DMRF Canada, along with Merz Therapeutics, is pleased to partially support the 2022 Dystonia Coalition Pilot Projects Program Award, “Moodscreen for Cervical Dystonia: A Diagnostic Accuracy Study of Depression and Anxiety” with lead investigator, Davide Martino, MD, PhD, of the University of Calgary.

This study aims to improve care for individuals with dystonia by identifying the most useful methods to screen individuals for co-occurring depression and anxiety.

The goal of the 2022 Dystonia Coalition Pilot Projects Program is to foster the most promising clinical and translational studies of direct relevance to dystonia.


About the study: Moodscreen for Cervical Dystonia: A Diagnostic Accuracy Study of Depression and Anxiety. lead investigator, Davide Martino, MD, Ph.D., University of Calgary

The primary aim of the study is to assess different clinical rating instruments for depression and anxiety in patients with cervical dystonia compared to a gold standard assessment. The secondary aim is to measure whether these instruments are universally useful across age, educational level, body spread of dystonia, and ongoing therapies.

Depression and anxiety frequently have a negative impact on how individuals with dystonia feel and function—and often cause more disability than involuntary movements and postures. This is especially the case in cervical dystonia (CD) and additional forms of adult-onset, isolated idiopathic dystonia.

There is a need to update the model of care for dystonia patients to detect and treat disabling non-motor symptoms. Selecting the most accurate, feasible, and cost-effective screening system for depression and anxiety will be essential to this care model upgrade and is the core intention of this project.

This will be a cross-sectional, multi-center observational study to collect general demographic and clinical data and perform psychiatric assessments.


This is the first research partnership with the Dystonia Coalition, a collaboration of medical researchers and patient advocacy groups focusing on accelerating clinical research in the field. The Dystonia Coalition is sponsored by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), the Office of Rare Diseases Research (ORDR) in the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS) in the United States, as well as several patient advocacy groups. 

We thank Merz Therapeutics for their support of this award and look forward to providing updates in the months ahead. 


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Last update: Oct 2022