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chorea or choreia

Term: Chorea or chorea

Origin: Anc Greek  χορεία/choreia (=dance) since  large groups of muscles are usually involved  lead to writhing dancing movement.

Coined: at least since the 16th century.

A eurological disorder that is characterised by involuntary movements. Chorea is caused by overactivity of the neurotransmitter dopamine in the areas of the brain that control movement.


Chorea is one of the major symptom of genetic degenerative disorder Huntington’s Chorea (described by George Huntington in 1872).  Huntington’s Chorea previously was known as St Vitos’s dance. 
1850 – March 3, 1916
Physician , spoke of Chorea Santi Viti while lay people adopted literal translation. The name derived from the frenzied mass dancing in the aftermath of European plague epidemics in the 14th, 15th and 16 th centuries.  Apart from these epidemics, sufferers from anxiety made annual June pilgrimages(June 15) to the chapel of St Vitus where the danced and danced until their symptoms disappeared: the dance in short, was both the disease and cure. The most common sort of St Vatu’s dance was childhood disease (Sydenham’s chorea)  that usually went away on its own.

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