Learn About Progressive Supranuclear Palsy

What is the definition of Progressive Supranuclear Palsy?

Progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP) is a movement disorder that occurs from damage to certain nerve cells in the brain.

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What are the alternative names for Progressive Supranuclear Palsy?

Dementia - nuchal dystonia; Richardson-Steele-Olszewski syndrome; Palsy - progressive supranuclear

What are the causes of Progressive Supranuclear Palsy?

PSP is a condition that causes symptoms similar to those of Parkinson disease.

It involves damage to many cells of the brain. Many areas are affected, including the part of the brainstem where cells that control eye movement are located. The area of the brain that controls steadiness when you walk is also affected. The frontal lobes of the brain are also affected, leading to personality changes.

The cause of the damage to the brain cells is unknown. PSP gets worse over time.

People with PSP have deposits in brain tissues that look like those found in people with Alzheimer disease. There is a loss of tissue in most areas of the brain and in some parts of the spinal cord.

The disorder is most often seen in people over 60 years old, and is somewhat more common in men.

What are the symptoms of Progressive Supranuclear Palsy?

Symptoms may include any of the following:

  • Loss of balance, repeated falls
  • Lunging forward when moving, or fast walking
  • Bumping into objects or people
  • Changes in expressions of the face
  • Deeply lined face
  • Eye and vision problems such as different sized pupils, difficulty moving the eyes (supranuclear ophthalmoplegia), lack of control over the eyes, problems keeping the eyes open
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Tremors, jaw or face jerks or spasms
  • Mild-to-moderate dementia
  • Personality changes
  • Slow or stiff movements
  • Speech difficulties, such as low voice volume, not able to say words clearly, slow speech
  • Stiffness and rigid movement in the neck, middle of the body, arms, and legs
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What are the current treatments for Progressive Supranuclear Palsy?

The goal of treatment is to control symptoms. There is no known cure for PSP.

Medicines such as levodopa may be tried. These drugs raise the level of a brain chemical called dopamine. Dopamine is involved in the control of movement. The medicines may reduce some symptoms, such as rigid limbs or slow movements for a time. But they are usually not as effective as they are for Parkinson disease.

Many people with PSP will eventually need around-the-clock care and monitoring as they lose brain functions.

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What is the outlook (prognosis) for Progressive Supranuclear Palsy?

Treatment sometimes can reduce symptoms for a while, but the condition will get worse. Brain function will decline over time. Death commonly occurs in 5 to 7 years.

Newer drugs are being studied to treat this condition.

What are the possible complications of Progressive Supranuclear Palsy?

Complications of PSP include:

  • Blood clot in veins (deep vein thrombosis) due to limited movement
  • Injury from falling
  • Lack of control over vision
  • Loss of brain functions over time
  • Pneumonia due to trouble swallowing
  • Poor nutrition (malnutrition)
  • Side effects from medicines
When should I contact a medical professional for Progressive Supranuclear Palsy?

Contact your provider if you often fall, and if you have a stiff neck/body, and vision problems.

Also, call if a loved one has been diagnosed with PSP and the condition has declined so much that you can no longer care for the person at home.

Central nervous system and peripheral nervous system
What are the latest Progressive Supranuclear Palsy Clinical Trials?
Biomarkers in Neurodegenerative Diseases

Summary: With the increase in life expectancy of our population due to advancement of medical diagnosis and treatments, the incidence of age dependent neurodegenerative diseases increased, including Alzheimer's disease (AD), parkinsonian syndromes (PS), small vessel disease (SVD) and motor neuron disease (MND). In spite of the progress of knowing the pathogenesis of various neurodegenerative diseases at mo...

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An Open Label, Single Center Study to Evaluate the Safety and Test-retest Characteristics of [18F]PI-2620 as PET Radioligand for Imaging Tau Deposition in the Brains of Patients With Progressive Supranuclear Palsy Richardson Syndrome (PSP-RS) Compared to Non-demented Controls (NDC)

Summary: The overall goal of this protocol is to evaluate the imaging characteristics of [18F]PI-2620 using positron emission tomography (PET) in patients with progressive supranuclear palsy, Richardson's syndrome (PSP-RS)

What are the Latest Advances for Progressive Supranuclear Palsy?
Real-life benefits of intrajejunal levodopa infusion therapy in four patients with the parkinsonian variant of progressive supranuclear palsy: A 1-year follow-up data report.
Subcutaneous apomorphine in the treatment of progressive supranuclear palsy and corticobasal syndrome: A preliminary study of 7 cases.
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Who are the sources who wrote this article ?

Published Date: April 25, 2022
Published By: Joseph V. Campellone, MD, Department of Neurology, Cooper University Hospital, Camden, NJ. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David C. Dugdale, MD, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team. Editorial update 09/20/2022.

What are the references for this article ?

Jankovic J. Parkinson disease and other movement disorders. In: Jankovic J, Mazziotta JC, Pomeroy SL, Newman NJ, eds. Bradley and Daroff's Neurology in Clinical Practice. 8th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier;2022:chap 96.

Ling H. Clinical approach to progressive supranuclear palsy. J Mov Disord. 2016;9(1):3-13. PMID: 26828211 pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26828211/.

National Institute of Neurological Disorders website. Progressive supranuclear palsy fact sheet. www.ninds.nih.gov/health-information/patient-caregiver-education/fact-sheets/progressive-supranuclear-palsy-fact-sheet. Reviewed July 25, 2022. Accessed September 20, 2022.