Learn About Cerebellar Multiple System Atrophy

What is the definition of Cerebellar Multiple System Atrophy?

Multiple system atrophy - cerebellar subtype (MSA-C) is a rare disease that causes areas deep in the brain, just above the spinal cord, to shrink (atrophy). MSA-C used to be known as olivopontocerebellar atrophy (OPCA).

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What are the alternative names for Cerebellar Multiple System Atrophy?

MSA-C; Cerebellar multiple system atrophy; Olivopontocerebellar atrophy; OPCA; Olivopontocerebellar degeneration

What are the causes of Cerebellar Multiple System Atrophy?

MSA-C can be passed down through families (inherited form). It can also affect people without a known family history (sporadic form).

Researchers have identified certain genes that are involved in the inherited form of this condition.

The cause of MSA-C in people with the sporadic form is not known. The disease slowly gets worse (is progressive).

MSA-C is slightly more common in men than in women. The average age of onset is 54 years old.

What are the symptoms of Cerebellar Multiple System Atrophy?

Symptoms of MSA-C tend to start at a younger age in people with the inherited form. The main symptom is clumsiness (ataxia) that slowly gets worse. There may also be problems with balance, slurring of speech, and difficulty walking.

Other symptoms may include:

  • Abnormal eye movements
  • Abnormal movements
  • Bowel or bladder problems
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Cold hands and feet
  • Lightheadedness when standing
  • Headache while standing that is relieved by lying down
  • Muscle stiffness or rigidity, spasms, tremor
  • Nerve damage (neuropathy)
  • Problems in speaking and sleeping due to spasms of the vocal cords
  • Sexual function problems
  • Abnormal sweating
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What are the current treatments for Cerebellar Multiple System Atrophy?

There is no specific treatment or cure for MSA-C. The aim is to treat the symptoms and prevent complications. This may include:

  • Tremor medicines, such as those for Parkinson disease
  • Speech, occupational and physical therapy
  • Ways to prevent choking
  • Walking aids to help with balance and prevent falls
Who are the top Cerebellar Multiple System Atrophy Local Doctors?
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What are the support groups for Cerebellar Multiple System Atrophy?

The following groups can provide resources and support for people with MSA-C:

  • Defeat MSA Alliance -- defeatmsa.org/patient-programs/
  • The MSA Coalition -- www.multiplesystematrophy.org/msa-resources/
What is the outlook (prognosis) for Cerebellar Multiple System Atrophy?

MSA-C slowly gets worse, and there is no cure. The outlook is generally poor. But, it may be years before someone is very disabled.

What are the possible complications of Cerebellar Multiple System Atrophy?

Complications of MSA-C include:

  • Choking
  • Infection from inhaling food into the lungs (aspiration pneumonia)
  • Injury from falls
  • Nutrition problems due to difficulty swallowing
When should I contact a medical professional for Cerebellar Multiple System Atrophy?

Call your health care provider if you have any symptoms of MSA-C. You will need to be seen by a neurologist. This is a doctor who treats nervous system problems.

Central nervous system and peripheral nervous system
What are the latest Cerebellar Multiple System Atrophy Clinical Trials?
Coordination of Rare Diseases at Sanford
Summary: CoRDS, or the Coordination of Rare Diseases at Sanford, is based at Sanford Research in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. It provides researchers with a centralized, international patient registry for all rare diseases. This program allows patients and researchers to connect as easily as possible to help advance treatments and cures for rare diseases. The CoRDS team works with patient advocacy groups, in...
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Sporadic Degenerative Ataxia With Adult Onset: Natural History Study (SPORTAX-NHS)
Summary: The key goals of SPORTAX-NHS is to compare the phenotype of multiple system atrophy of cerebellar type (MSA-C) and sporadic adult onset ataxia of unknown aetiology (SAOA) and to determine the rate of disease progression in both groups including determination of the factors that predict the development of MSA-C vs. SAOA, and at which time after onset of ataxia, a reliable distinction between both d...
What are the Latest Advances for Cerebellar Multiple System Atrophy?
Video Representation of Dopamine-Responsive Multiple System Atrophy Cerebellar Type.
Summary: Video Representation of Dopamine-Responsive Multiple System Atrophy Cerebellar Type.
Magnetic resonance T1w/T2w ratio and voxel-based morphometry in multiple system atrophy.
Summary: Magnetic resonance T1w/T2w ratio and voxel-based morphometry in multiple system atrophy.
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Neurological Autoimmunity Associated With Homer-3 Antibody: A Case Series From China.
Summary: Neurological Autoimmunity Associated With Homer-3 Antibody: A Case Series From China.
Who are the sources who wrote this article ?

Published Date: June 23, 2020
Published By: Amit M. Shelat, DO, FACP, FAAN, Attending Neurologist and Assistant Professor of Clinical Neurology, Renaissance School of Medicine at Stony Brook University, Stony Brook, NY. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

What are the references for this article ?

Ciolli L, Krismer F, Nicoletti F, Wenning GK. An update on the cerebellar subtype of multiple system atrophy. Cerebellum Ataxias. 2014;1-14. PMID: 26331038 pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26331038/.

Gilman S, Wenning GK, Low PA, et al. Second consensus statement on the diagnosis of multiple system atrophy. Neurology. 2008;71(9):670-676. PMID: 18725592 pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18725592/.

Jancovic J. Parkinson disease and other movement disorders. In: Daroff RB, Jankovic J, Mazziotta JC, Pomeroy SL, eds. Bradley's Neurology in Clinical Practice. 7th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2016:chap 96.

Ma MJ. Biopsy pathology of neurodegenerative disorders in adults. In: Perry A, Brat DJ, eds. Practical Surgical Neuropathology: A Diagnostic Approach. 2nd ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier, 2018:chap 27.

Walsh RR, Krismer F, Galpern WR, et al. Recommendations of the global multiple system atrophy research roadmap meeting. Neurology. 2018;90(2):74-82. PMID: 29237794 pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29237794/.