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Celine Dion diagnosed with Stiff-Person Syndrome

Celine Dion has revealed she has been diagnosed with a rare neurological disorder called Stiff-Person Syndrome.

She said the disorder affects approximately one in a million people.

In a video message posted on Instagram, Dion said the disorder was causing spasms that affect her ability to walk and sing. “While we’re still learning about this rare condition, we now know this is what’s been causing all of the spasms that I’ve been having. Unfortunately, the spasms affect every aspect of my daily life, sometimes causing difficulties when I walk and not allowing me to use my vocal cords to sing the way I’m used to.”

Because of the impact on her ability to perform, Dion explained, she had no option but to again postpone her upcoming “Courage” tour, which was set to begin in February after being postponed three times. “I miss you so much,” she said, her voice filled with emotion and with tears in her eyes. “I miss seeing all of you, being on the stage, performing for you. I always give 100% when I do my shows, but my condition is not allowing me to give you that right now.”

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Celine Dion diagnosed with Stiff-Person Syndrome

What is Stiff-Person Syndrome?

According to Ninds.nih 

Stiff-person syndrome (SPS) is a rare neurological disorder with features of an autoimmune disease.  

SPS is characterized by fluctuating muscle rigidity in the trunk and limbs and a heightened sensitivity to stimuli such as noise, touch, and emotional distress, which can set off muscle spasms.  

Abnormal postures, often hunched over and stiffened, are characteristic of the disorder.  People with SPS can be too disabled to walk or move, or they are afraid to leave the house because street noises, such as the sound of a horn, can trigger spasms and falls. 

SPS affects twice as many women as men.  

 It is frequently associated with other autoimmune diseases such as diabetes, thyroiditis, vitiligo, and pernicious anemia.  Scientists don’t yet understand what causes SPS, but research indicates that it is the result of an autoimmune response gone awry in the brain and spinal cord. 

The disorder is often misdiagnosed as Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, fibromyalgia, psychosomatic illness, or anxiety and phobia.  A definitive diagnosis can be made with a blood test that measures the level of glutamic acid decarboxylase (GAD) antibodies in the blood.  

People with SPS have elevated levels of GAD, an antibody that works against an enzyme involved in the synthesis of an important neurotransmitter in the brain.

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