Progressive Supranuclear Palsy: Symptoms & Signs

  • Medical Author:
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

Medically Reviewed on 4/3/2019

Progressive supranuclear palsy is a neurodegenerative disorder that gradually destroys cells in many areas of the brain, leading to serious and permanent neurologic symptoms. People often confuse it with Parkinson's disease because the symptoms may be similar.

Signs and symptoms of progressive supranuclear palsy include inability to walk, falling spells, changes in personality, forgetfulness, dizziness, stiffness, and problems with the control of gait and balance. There is damage in the area of the brain that coordinates eye movements, so most people have trouble controlling eye movements and maintaining eye contact during a conversation. Other symptoms can include dementia, depression, and loss of interest in socializing with friends and family.

Causes of progressive supranuclear palsy

The cause of progressive supranuclear palsy is unknown.


Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 4/3/2019

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