Progressive Supranuclear Palsy, or PSP, is the most common atypical parkinsonism.  It is also known as Steele-Richardson-Olszewski syndrome, named for the three Canadian physicians who first described the condition in 1964.
 
In terms of affecting particular parts of the brain, PSP is characterized by a tau protein build up (Tauopathy) that affects frontal lobes, brainstem, cerebellum and substantia nigra.
 

The Facts

    • Average onset is late 50s/early 60s
    • Prevalence is 4 or 5/100,000
     

    Symptoms Include

    • Vision problems including
      -   trouble shifting gaze vertically (Supranuclear gaze palsy)
      -   inability to maintain eye contact
    • Early problems with balance and mobility, including a tendency to fall backward
    • Early cognitive/personality changes
    • Uncontrolled emotional outbursts (laughing or crying for no apparent reason)
    • Speech often becomes slower and slurred and swallowing becomes quite difficult

     

    Treatment

    There is no specific medication to treat PSP directly, rather current treatment options focus on attending to the symptoms most prevalent (ie: sleep and mood issues).  Some may find limited and/or temporary relief from levodopa when addressing issues of slowness, stiffness and balance.  Botox injections may help with eye issues.

     


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