NZTC International - Word of the Week: dysdiadochokinesia


NZTC International - Word of the Week: dysdiadochokinesia

Medical terminology is full of highly specialised and challenging words, generally based on Greek and Latin roots, that can be hard to pronounce, even harder to remember, and opaque in meaning - unless you are a physician and/or have studied Greek and Latin.

The word dysdiadochokinesia is a good example of this. It refers to an impaired ability to perform rapid alternating actions like moving the arms or hands in unison. Under medical examination, its presence may be taken to indicate the possibility of a lesion affecting the brain.

The word is made up from the Greek words διάδοχος (diadochos = succeeding), and κίνησις (kinesis = movement), and the prefix δυς (dys = bad). Most European languages form such words using this same pattern, hence adiadococinésie in French or disdiadococinesia in Spanish.

In Chinese the equivalent for the term dysdiadochokinesia is 轮替运动障碍, literally meaning: an obstacle or disorder (障碍) of alternating (轮替) movements (运动).