(PSP) Progressive Supranuclear Palsy

Progressive Supranuclear Palsy (PSP)

PSP average age of onset is around 60 years with an average duration of 6 years

PSP features:
•    Rigidity
•    Slowness of movement
•    Early falls or tendency to fall backwards
•    Unsteady gait
•    Vertical supranuclear gaze palsy
•    Cognitive impairment consistent with FTD
•    Difficult or unclear articulation of speech
•    “Stone face” (expressionless face)
•    Difficulty swallowing
•    Difficult word retrieval

PSP is considered a rare disease but may be misdiagnosed as Parkinson’s disease. Levadopa, a common treatment for PD has no beneficial effect. Some patients report that they think they may have suffered a minor stroke when words become difficult to retrieve and speech is difficult. An observer may suspect the PSP sufferer is abusing alcohol due to the unsteady gait, falling down and speech difficulties*. Depression and apathy may also be present.

*Watch or read the Barbara Walters interview with Dudley Moore. Mr. Moore was passed over for parts in films because he was thought to be drinking heavily; he was later diagnosed with PSP.

For more information on PSP, FTLDA recommends “The Human Frontal Lobes, Functions and Disorders” 2nd Edition. Edited by Bruce Miller and Jeffrey L. Cummings.