Career Killer: Focal Dystonia On The Rise

While it may not be as well-known as crippling conditions like Parkinson’s, focal dystonia is wrecking the careers of a growing number of professional musicians. The terrifying disease, which causes musicians to forget the muscle movements necessary to play their instruments, “ended the careers of pianist Gary Graffman, Tokyo String Quartet violinist Peter Oundjian and Chicago Symphony Orchestra oboist Alex Klein.” There are treatments, but no guaranteed fixes, and the condition frequently worsens when victims, ashamed of their deteriorating skills and unaware of the cause, fail to report the problem to a doctor.