- Parkinson's Disease and Progressive Supranuclear Palsy Center
- Dementia Slideshow Pictures
- Take the ADHD Quiz
- Brain Foods Slideshow
- Patient Comments: Progressive Supranuclear Palsy - Early Symptoms
- Patient Comments: Progressive Supranuclear Palsy - Treatment
- Patient Comments: Progressive Supranuclear Palsy - Later Symptoms
- Find a local Neurologist in your town
- Introduction to progressive supranuclear palsy
- What causes progressive supranuclear palsy?
- What are the early symptoms of progressive supranuclear palsy?
- What are some of the later symptoms of progressive supranuclear palsy?
- Does progressive supranuclear palsy affect a person mentally?
- How is progressive supranuclear palsy treated?
- Is there a cure for progressive supranuclear palsy?
Introduction to Progressive Supranuclear Palsy
Progressive supranuclear palsy, or PSP, is a rare neurodegenerative disease that is often misdiagnosed as Parkinson's disease because it carries similar symptoms. Because of its rarity, PSP is mostly unknown by the general public.
What Causes PSP?
PSP develops because of the deterioration of brain cells in a few small, but very important areas at the base of the brain. The most important affected area is the substantia nigra. When this area of the brain is affected by the disease, a lot of the palsy's symptoms become more visible. Research is still being conducted as to why the brain cells degenerate.
What Are the Early Symptoms of PSP?
The beginning stages of PSP include the inability to walk, falling spells, and stiffness. Falls experienced by a PSP patient are often described as having a state of dizziness, prior to actually falling. This dizziness description is sometimes misdiagnosed as an inner ear problem or a hardening of the arteries that are blocking blood flow to the brain.
Other common symptoms of PSP include:
- Change in personality
- Loss of interest in usual socializing with family and friends
What Are Some of the Later Symptoms of PSP?
The word "progressive" was included in the palsy's name because symptoms typically progressively worsen for a patient. After seven to nine years, PSP becomes more difficult to deal with. The disease usually causes physical imbalance and stiffness of the body to grow worse, making walking very difficult or sometimes impossible.
Problems with eyesight also occur in the later stages of PSP. Usually visual problems can become as much of an issue as impaired walking for the patient. Eyesight is most affected by the difficulty to aim the eye properly, making reading very hard. Another eyesight problem that is sometimes encountered is the inability to maintain visual contact with another person during conversation. PSP can also cause "tunnel vision", which sometimes causes problems while a person is trying to drive a car.
Does PSP Affect a Person Mentally?
Most PSP patients eventually experience a mild to moderate degree of mental problems. With PSP, dementia, or mental confusion, causes a person to have a slowed thinking process or difficulty synthesizing ideas. The slowing of thoughts and thinking makes it hard for the person to hold a conversation with others or to analyze problems.
How Is PSP Treated?
There is a range of medication that can help curb PSP's symptoms.
Antidepressants are often suggested by doctors, along with sleeping pills, to help PSP patients who are experiencing sleep problems. Many drugs being developed to treat other neurological disorders are also being utilized to help treat PSP.
Is There a Cure for PSP?
There is no cure for PSP. Attention for a doctor and family of a PSP patient should be focused on keeping the person comfortable and creating the best quality of life possible.
WebMD Medical Reference
IMAGESSee brain scan pictures of Alzheimer's and types of dementia See Images
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
Reviewed by Jon Glass on March 15, 2010
Top Progressive Supranuclear Palsy Related Articles
DementiaDementia is defined as a significant loss of intellectual abilities such as memory capacity, severe enough to interfere with social or occupational functioning. There are several different types of dementia, including cortical, subcortical, progressive, primary, and secondary dementias. Other conditions and medication reactions can also cause dementia. Dementia is diagnosed based on a certain set of criteria. Treatment for dementia is generally focused on the symptoms of the disease.
levodopa-carbidopa, Sinemet, Sinemet CR, Parcopa
Levodopa-carbidopa (Sinemet, Sinemet CR, Parcopa) is a combination medication of levodopa and carbidopa prescribed for the treatment of Parkinson's disease. Side effects, dosage, drug interactions, and pregnancy safety should be reviewed prior to taking this medication.
Frontotemporal Dementia (Pick's Disease and Semantic Dementia)Frontotemporal dementia (FTD) is a syndrome that is associated with shrinking of the frontal and temporal lobes of the brain. Frontotemporal dementia used to be referred to as Pick's disease. Frontotemporal dementia has a strong genetic component. Symptoms of frontotemporal dementia include changes in behavior or problems with language. There is no treatment that slows the progression of frontotemporal dementia. Medication may be prescribed to improve symptoms. The outcome for patient's with frontotemporal dementia is poor.