About Progressive Supranuclear Palsy (PSP)

Progressive Supra-nuclear Palsy (PSP) is a brain disease that affects approximately 3 to 6 people out of 100,000 worldwide and there is approximately 20,000 people living with PSP in the United States. Understanding symptoms and signs of PSP help identify disease progression, differentiate between other neurological diseases, and improve quality of life by addressing individual symptoms.

What are the Symptoms of PSP?

PSP Symptoms include:

  • Lack of balance resulting in falls
  • Slurred or increased pace of speech
  • Vision issues that may include difficulty looking up and down,double vision, tunnel vision, difficulty controlling eye lids, prolonged or infrequent blinking, difficulty closing eye lids, and difficulty maintaining eye contact
  • Changes in mood and behavior to include difficulty showing apathy, irritability, and symptoms of depression
  • Cognitive changes may occur to include difficulty with judgement, insight, forgetfulness, and problem solving.
  • Flat affact/monotone/lack of facial expressions
  • Slow movement
  • Dysphagia (swallowing difficulty/disorder)

How is PSP Diagnosed?

PSP can be difficult to diagnose due to familiar symptoms of other neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s and there is no single test for diagnostic purposes. Tests may include patient report, neuropsychological testing, and a wide range of diagnostic tools including positron emission tomography (PET) scan and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan. Diagnosis should only be made by a consultant with expertise in neurodegenerative diseases.

PSP Variants described by the International Movement Disorders Society (MDS) in 2017:

1. PSP-RS (PSP-Richardson) Typical “PSP”, with symptoms of severe falling and eye movement problems
2. PSP-P (PSP-Parkinsons) Almost identical to Parkinson’s disease
3. PSP-OM (Ocular movement) with eye movement difficulty
4. PSP-PI (Postural instability) with severe walking difficulty and falls
5. PSP-CBD, PSP-F, PSP-SL These varieties are rare.

Are there treatments or a cure?

There is currently no effective treatment or cure for PSP, however management of individual symptoms is utilized to improve patient’s quality of life.

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

What causes PSP?

The cause of PSP is currently unknown National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Strokes discuss theories of causes related to PSP.

PSP affects approximately 3 to 6 people out of 100,000

Phone: 540-425-0467

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