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January2011 Vol.48 Issue:        1        Table of Contents
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Khat. An Emerging Cause of Oromandibular Dystonia

Mohamed S. El-Tamawy, Hatem Samir

Department of Neurology, Cairo University, Cairo; Egypt



 Khat is a natural stimulant shrub originally cultivated in East Africa and the Arabian Peninsula. On chewing khat leaves, psychoactive sympathomimetic ingredients release serotonin and dopamine in central nervous system and noradrenaline from peripheral sympathetic neurons. Khat is chewed by a large proportion of the adult population of the Yemen, estimated to be up to 90% of adult males. The neuropsychiatric consequences of Khat chewing were recognized in many case reports that implicated it in memory impairment, depression and psychoses. Dystonia and dyskinesias can also be induced by qat as amphetamine-containing compounds are known inducer for movement disorders.  The relation between khat chewing and oromandibular dyskinesia and dystonia was rarely addressed. We proposed mechanical effect as qat chewing or could be considered as task-specific dystonia similar to writers’ cramps. Though recent reports strongly correlated the effects of this habit with the frequency; yet, this relationship to development of dystonia is questionable. [Egypt J Neurol Psychiat Neurosurg.  2011; 48(1): 1-2]


Key Words: Khat, Oromandibular, Task specific, Dystonia.

Correspondence to Dr. Mohamed S. El-Tamawy, 176 Tahrir St. Down Town, 11111, Cairo, Egypt.  Email:

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