One of the tests of the grand finale of ‘MasterChef 10’ consisted of preparing a menu designed and directed by the Roca brothers. A test that evidenced the illness suffered by chef Jordi Roca since 2010, since the pastry chef had to be subtitled due to a problem with his voice.
The acclaimed chef suffers from dystonia, a neurological disease that affects the vocal cords and makes it difficult to articulate words. For this reason he speaks in whispers. As detailed by specialists from the Mayo Clinic, dystonia is “a movement disorder in which muscles contract involuntarily and cause repetitive or twisting movements.
This pathology can affect a specific part of the body or all of them, and the muscle spasms it causes can be mild to severeas well as painful. It is a pathology for which there is still no cure, as it is a chronic process that requires personalized treatment. In this sense, some drugs that are administered to relieve symptoms are clonazepam, tetrabenazine, anticholinergics and some neuroleptics.
What are the warning signs
How to detect dystonia? What are the symptoms? This disease affects each patient in a different way and, depending on the parts of the body affected, some of the signs are the following:
- Cervical dystonia affects the neck, and the contractions cause “the head to twist and turn to one side, or move forward or backward, sometimes causing pain,” the Mayo Clinic notes.
- Rapid blinking or involuntary twitching causes the eyes to close and makes it difficult to see.
- Oromandibular dystonia affects the jaw or tongue and can make it difficult to speak or to salivate, chew and swallow. “Oromandibular dystonia can be painful and often occurs in combination with cervical dystonia or blepharospasm.”
- Spasmodic dystonia affects the larynx and vocal cords, and “you may have a tense or whispery voice.”
- Other types of dystonia happen when you do a repetitive activity, like writing or playing an instrument.
Where are you from
According to the Navarra University Clinic (CUN), dystonia is due to a “functional or structural alteration of the central nervous system that causes the malfunction of the brain circuits that control movement”. In this sense, they can be primary or secondary.
The primary ones are those “inherited or idiopathic genetic forms in which no other responsible disease or agent has been identified“. In certain cases there are precipitating factors of dystonia, such as exercise, fasting, or the intake of tea or coffee.
Secondaries are related to other factors such as “drugs, focal structural lesions of the brain, metabolic alterations, autoimmune diseases (such as encephalitis or multiple sclerosis) or degenerative diseases such as Huntington’s disease or parkinsonism due to mutation in PARK2”, they add.