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Conditions We Treat: Stiff Person Syndrome

Stiff person syndrome (SPS) is a very rare disease affecting only one or two people per million. It causes progressive muscle stiffness and painful spasms that can be triggered by a variety of things including sudden movement, cold temperature or unexpected loud noises.

Stiff Person Syndrome: Why Choose Johns Hopkins

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  • Johns Hopkins’ Stiff Person Syndrome Center follows more people with this condition than anywhere in the world and maintains a huge database of clinical findings and outcomes. This means we have access to the latest knowledge in stiff person syndrome and can apply that insight to each patient.
  • Patients with stiff person syndrome will benefit from our multifaceted approach to treatment, with insights from experts in autoimmune disorders, neurology, neuro-visual problems, movement disorders and chronic pain management.
  • You will get a thorough assessment that may include a series of tests and evaluations over several days (if needed) in order to develop an individualized treatment plan.
  • Regular follow-up care with our team helps your doctors support your optimal health for the long term.

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Stiff Person Syndrome Diagnosis

Tests for diagnosing stiff person syndrome may include the following:

  • serum anti-GAD (glutamic acid decarboxylase) 65 antibody
  • serum amphiphysin antibody
  • several other serum autoantibodies, hemoglobin A1c and vitamin levels
  • lumbar puncture
  • MRI of the brain and spine
  • neurophysiological studies (electromyography, or EMG)
  • whole body fluorodeoxyglucose-positron emission tomography (FDG-PET) with computerized tomography (CT) scan
  • mammogram 

Stiff Person Syndrome Treatment

The center offers a range of treatments for stiff person syndrome, including:

  • immunomodulating therapies such as plasmapheresis and intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG)
  • immunosuppressant therapies
  • symptomatic therapies
  • behavioral and physical therapy

New Center for Infusion Therapy

Johns Hopkins’ Neurosciences Consultation and Infusion Center is open and ready to welcome you at Pavilion II at Green Spring Station in Lutherville, Maryland.

Scott Newsome, D.O.

Scott Newsome, D.O., Director of the Stiff Person Syndrome Center

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Maryland Patients

Adult Neurology: 410-955-9441
Pediatric Neurology: 410-955-4259

Adult Neurosurgery: 410-955-6406
Pediatric Neurosurgery: 410-955-7337


Traveling for Care?

Whether you're crossing the country or the globe, we make it easy to access world-class care at Johns Hopkins.

Outside of Maryland (toll free)

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International Patients

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