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Classification and external resources
ICD-10 R27
ICD-9-CM 781.3

Dysdiadochokinesia, dysdiadochokinesis, dysdiadokokinesia, dysdiadokokinesis (from Greek δυς dys "bad", διάδοχος diadochos "succeeding", κίνησις kinesis "movement"), often abbreviated as DDK, is the medical term for an impaired ability to perform rapid, alternating movements (i.e. diadochokinesia). Complete inability is called adiadochokinesia.


Dysdiadochokinesia is a feature of cerebellar ataxia and may be the result of lesions to either the cerebellar hemispheres or the frontal lobe (of the cerebrum), it can also be a combination of both.[1] It is thought to be caused by the inability to switch on and switch off antagonising muscle groups in a coordinated fashion due to hypotonia, secondary to the central lesion.[2]

Dysdiadochokinesia is also seen in Friedreich's ataxia and multiple sclerosis, as a cerebellar symptom (including ataxia, intention tremor and dysarthria). It is also a feature of ataxic dysarthria. Dysdiadochokinesia often presents in motor speech disorders (dysarthria), therefore testing for dysdiadochokinesia can be used for a differential diagnosis.[3]

Dysdiadochokinesia has been linked to a mutation in SLC18A2, which encodes vesicular monoamine transporter 2 (VMAT2).[4]

Tests are often done in medical surgeries to establish the patient's levels of dysdiadochokinesia, with one being the ability to change the orientation of the hand flat on the other hand. A human without impaired coordination would be expected to be able to carry out the test, however exceptions must be made.


Abnormalities in diadochokinesia can be seen in the upper extremity, lower extremity and in speech. The deficits become visible in the rate of alternation, the completeness of the sequence, and in the variation in amplitude involving both motor coordination and sequencing.[1][5] Average rate can be used as a measure of performance when testing for dysdiadochokinesia.[3] It is demonstrated clinically by asking the patient to tap the palm of one hand with the fingers of the other, then rapidly turn over the fingers and tap the palm with the back of them, repeatedly. This movement is known as a pronation/supination test of the upper extremity. A simpler method using this same concept is to ask the patient to demonstrate the movement of trying a doorknob or screwing in a light bulb. When testing for this condition in legs ask the patient to tap your hand as quickly as possible with the ball of each foot in turn. Movements tend to be slow or awkward. The feet normally perform less well than the hands.[6] When testing for dysdiadochokinesia with speech the patient is asked to repeat syllables such as /pə/, /tə/, and /kə/; variation, excess loudness, and irregular articular breakdown are signs of dysdiadochokinesia.[3]


  1. ^ a b Deshmukh, A; Rosenbloom, MJ; Pfefferbaum, A; Sullivan EV (2002). "Clinical signs of cerebellar dysfunction in schizophrenia, alcoholism, and their comorbidity.". Schizophr Res. 57 ((2-3)): 281–291. doi:10.1016/s0920-9964(01)00300-0. PMID 12223260. 
  2. ^ "Dysdiadochokinesia", UBM Medica, United States. (2011). Retrieved May 11, 2011.
  3. ^ a b c Wang, YT; Kent, RD; Duffy, JR; Thomas, JE (2008). "Analysis of diadochokinesis in ataxic dysarthria using the motor speech profile program". Folia Phoniatrica et Logopaedica 61 (1): 11. doi:10.1159/000184539. PMC 2790744. PMID 19088478. 
  4. ^ Rilstone, Jennifer; Alkhater, R; Minassian, B (2013). "Brain Dopamine-Serotonic Vesicular Transport Disease and Its Treatment". New England Journal of Medicine 386 (6): 543–550. doi:10.1056/NEJMoa1207281. PMID 23363473. 
  5. ^ Diener, HC; Dichgans, J (1992). "Pathophysiology of Cerebellar Ataxia". Movement Disorders 7 (2): 95–109. doi:10.1002/mds.870070202. PMID 1584245. 
  6. ^ Bates Guide to Physical Examination, 8th Ed.

External links[edit]

Video Demonstrations

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dysdiadochokinesia — Please support Wikipedia.
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631 videos foundNext > 

Dysdiadochokinesia in under 60 seconds - Normal and Abnormal

A demonstration and explanation of Dysdiadochokinesia. This is this inability to perform rapid alternating movements.

Dysmetria, Dysdiadochokinesia, & Rebound Phenomenon

Dysmetria, Dysdiadochokinesia, & Rebound Phenomenon screenings, by Shannon McDermott, Sarah Magnamo, & Taylar Gallup Resources: Gutman, S. A. ...

How to perform Cerebellar Tests - Dysmetria, Dyssynergia, Dysdiadochokinesia

How to perform Cerebellar Tests - Dysmetria, Dyssynergia, Dysdiadochokinesia by Dr Timothy Conwell is a condensed instructional video that demonstrates ...


This video shows an example of dysdiadochokinesia, or difficulty with rapid alternating movements.

The Case of RC - Dysdiadochokinesia

Cerebellar Test.


http://yassermetwally.com Dysdiadechokinesis.


problem with rapid alternating movements.

Dysdiadochokinesia Song

An easy way to learn and to remember the definition of dysdiadochokinesia, a key neurologic sign in cerebellar disorders. Words: ...

Abnormal Coordination Exam ; Hand Rapid Alternating Movements

Hand Rapid Alternating Movements Movements are slow and irregular with imprecise timing. Inability to perform repetitive movements in a rapid rhythmic ...

Dysdiadochokinesia - simulation in cerebellar lesion

We have just tried to imitate a patient here.Your feedbacks are most welcome -- Dr.Raju Suresh Kumar (email:raju6712in@gmail.com)

631 videos foundNext > 

4 news items

Slate Magazine (blog)

Slate Magazine (blog)
Mon, 02 Feb 2015 08:54:03 -0800

Defeated alternation. It's easier (unless you have dysdiadochokinesia) to make repeating or consistently alternating gestures than it is to make an uneven pattern, and once a pattern's set it's harder to break it than to stay with it. So if you ...

Clinical Advisor

Clinical Advisor
Tue, 05 Apr 2011 11:08:52 -0700

Diagnosis can be made based on family history of SCA7 and/or symptoms of SCA7 in a sibling or close relative and cerebellar ataxia with progressive incoordination, symptoms of dysarthria/dysphagia, dysmetria, and dysdiadochokinesia. SCA7 patients also ...
Dynamic Chiropractic
Thu, 09 Jun 2011 14:27:48 -0700

When rapid alternating movements are not possible, the condition is dysdiadochokinesia. Movements that are described as "ratchet like," "jerky" or "choppy" are also common in cerebellar and coordination dysfunction. Normal movement is smooth. When one ...

Medical News Today

Medical News Today
Mon, 31 Aug 2009 00:20:05 -0700

Ataxia is a lack of muscle coordination which may affect speech, eye movements, the ability to swallow, walking, picking up objects and other voluntary movements. A person with persistent ataxia may have damage in the part of the brain that controls ...

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