About Corticobasal Degeneration (CBD)

Corticobasal Degeneration, also known as Corticobasal Ganglion Degeneration (CBD/CBGD), is a rare and progressive neurodegenerative disease. Initial symptoms typically begin around age 60 and may first appear on one side of the body however eventually affect both sides of the body.

How is CBD Diagnosed?

Corticobasal degeneration can be difficult to diagnose due to familiar symptoms and there is no single test for diagnostic purposes. Tests may include patient report and a wide range of diagnostic tools including positron emission tomography (PET) scan and single-photon emission computerized tomography (SPECT). Diagnosis should only be made by a consultant with expertise in neurodegenerative diseases.

What is the Prognosis?

Corticobasal degeneration progresses over the course of 6 to 8 years. Death is usually caused by pneumonia. Understanding the symptoms of CBD can help differentiate from it’s common cousins, identify the disease progression, and improve the patient’s quality of life by addressing the related symptoms.

What are the Symptoms of CBD?

  • Initial symptoms may include stiffness, slow or clumsy movement, difficulty with speech and comprehension
  • Alien limb or hand phenomenon (hand or limb isn’t under the control of the mind and moves as though it has its own mind)
  • Dystonia rigidity
  • Abnormal or slurred speech
  • Behavioral changes
  • Depression
  • Cognitive decline
  • Agitation
  • Compulsive behavior
  • Anomia: Problems finding the right words
  • Dysphagia (Swallowing disorder, problems swallowing)
  • Balance
  • Poor Coordination
  • Difficulty controlling face and mouth muscles
  • Visual Spatial difficulty
  • Difficulty completing specific tasks such as changing the channel or brushing ones teeth
  • Impulsive behavior

What causes CBD?

There is currently no known cause of CBD. The symptoms and gradual loss of brain tissue may begin between ages 45 and 70. Areas of the brain, including the cerebral cortex and basal ganglia, show shrinkage and  and nerve cells degeneration.

Are there Treatments or a Cure?

There are currently no effective treatments or a cure for CBD. Medications may be utilized to help with symptoms of the diseases, such as tremors and stiffness. Managing symptoms of the disease can improve quality of life.

Individualized care should include consultations with speech-language pathologists, occupational and physical therapists who specialize in neurodegenerative diseases.

Read more in depth about criteria for the diagnosis of corticobasal degeneration.

CBD affects approximately 1 out of 100,000 people.

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