Denise Gibson, who has the neurological movement disorder dystonia, met with WSU Speech and Hearing Sciences student Emma Rae Destromp to study how dystonia affects her voice.

Dystonia is one of those medical conditions with an unusual name that few people know about. It’s not fatal, there are no celebrities who claim to have it and there aren’t any catchy marketing schemes created to help raise money to research it.

But dystonia is a mysterious, often painful, neurological movement disorder that causes problems for the people who have it. For example, it can cause muscle contractions that cause its victims’ heads or necks to pitch to the side or tilt forward.

Last fall, WSU Speech and Hearing Sciences Associate Professor Nancy Potter and her students devoted two class sessions to dystonia and were so engaged with the stories of their panel members that they decided to sponsor a free public forum so that members of the public could learn about it too.

That forum will be held Tuesday, October 6 at 6 p.m. in Walgreens Auditorium in the Pharmaceutical and Biomedical Sciences Building.

Denise Gibson, a Spokane woman who has dystonia, helped Potter find panel members for the forum. She’s the co-founder of a support group for people with dystonia. That’s Gibson in the photo above (left) with WSU Speech and Hearing Sciences student Emma Rae Destromp, who met with Gibson to study how the dystonia has affected her voice.

You can read more about dystonia, about how Denise Gibson lives with it and about the forum here.