Unmasking Progressive Supranuclear Palsy: An Introduction

Unmasking Progressive Supranuclear Palsy: An Introduction

In the intricate and complex world of neurodegenerative diseases, certain conditions are widely known and discussed, such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease. Yet, there are also lesser-known conditions that affect a significant number of people worldwide. Among these is Progressive Supranuclear Palsy (PSP).

Despite PSP being less recognized, it is no less important in our understanding of neurodegenerative diseases. So let's peel back the layers and unveil what Progressive Supranuclear Palsy really is.

What is Progressive Supranuclear Palsy?

Progressive Supranuclear Palsy, also known as Steele-Richardson-Olszewski syndrome, is a rare brain disorder that affects movement, control of walking (gait), and balance. The disease impacts approximately 6 out of every 100,000 people and typically starts in individuals aged 60 years and above, but can occur earlier.

The term 'Progressive Supranuclear Palsy' breaks down as follows:

  • 'Progressive' points to the worsening nature of the condition over time.
  • 'Supranuclear' refers to the specific areas of the brain affected, namely those above the tiny regions known as nuclei.
  • 'Palsy' is a term that denotes weakness or problems with muscle control.

Symptoms of PSP

The most noticeable early symptoms of PSP involve issues with balance and mobility. Patients frequently report unexplained falls, often backwards, or a sense of imbalance. As the disease progresses, other symptoms, such as changes in personality, difficulties with speech and swallowing, double vision, or difficulty moving the eyes, particularly in the upward and downward direction, become more pronounced.

It's worth noting that PSP can sometimes be misdiagnosed as Parkinson's disease due to the similarity in some symptoms. However, PSP generally lacks the tremors that are characteristic of Parkinson's.

Causes of PSP

The exact cause of PSP remains unknown, but research indicates it is associated with the accumulation of a protein called tau in the brain. In healthy brains, tau helps with the function and structure of neurons. But in PSP, these proteins misfold and aggregate, leading to cell damage and death.

While PSP is not a hereditary disease, some genetic variants have been associated with an increased risk. Most cases of PSP, however, appear sporadically with no clear family history.

Managing PSP

While there is currently no cure for PSP, management strategies can significantly improve the quality of life. Medications such as levodopa may provide modest improvement in some symptoms. Physical, occupational, and speech therapy can also help manage the condition. Regular exercise and maintaining a healthy diet are crucial, and assistive devices can be used to help with walking and daily activities.

The Future of PSP

Research into PSP and other neurodegenerative diseases is ongoing, with scientists around the world striving to understand the complexities of this condition and find effective treatments. Clinical trials are an essential part of this process, and individuals with PSP are encouraged to consider participation.

Progressive Supranuclear Palsy can be a challenging condition to navigate, both for those diagnosed and their loved ones. However, with increasing research, growing awareness, and strong support networks, managing life with PSP can be made significantly easier. By continuing to unmask PSP, we can enhance understanding, improve care, and foster hope for a future without PSP.

Back to blog

Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.

PSP Awareness Shop

Make a purchase with purpose. Each sale supports the fight against Atypical Parkinsonism through the Coleen Cunningham Foundation for PSP Awareness!

Shop Now
  • Lighting Up Burlington Pier for PSP Awareness: A Beacon of Hope

    Lighting Up Burlington Pier for PSP Awareness: ...

    Laura Louizos

    On May 30th, from 8 PM to midnight, the Burlington Pier will be bathed in a radiant teal glow. This illuminating event is more than just a beautiful spectacle; it’s...

    Lighting Up Burlington Pier for PSP Awareness: ...

    Laura Louizos

    On May 30th, from 8 PM to midnight, the Burlington Pier will be bathed in a radiant teal glow. This illuminating event is more than just a beautiful spectacle; it’s...

  • Ice Cream Challenge

    Ice Cream Challenge

    Laura Louizos

    Atypical Parkinsonism Ice Cream Challenge for PSP, MSA, CBD and DLB PSP- Progressive Supranuclear Palsy MSA- Multiple System Atrophy CBD- Corticobasal Degeneration DLB- Dementia with Lewy Bodies  May is Awareness...

    Ice Cream Challenge

    Laura Louizos

    Atypical Parkinsonism Ice Cream Challenge for PSP, MSA, CBD and DLB PSP- Progressive Supranuclear Palsy MSA- Multiple System Atrophy CBD- Corticobasal Degeneration DLB- Dementia with Lewy Bodies  May is Awareness...

  • 🌟 You’re Invited to Tim Talks! 🌟

    🌟 You’re Invited to Tim Talks! 🌟

    Laura Louizos

    Join us this Thursday, April 25th, from 7-9 PM ET for an inspiring session with PSP Warrior, Tim Brown! This month, we’re diving into awareness topics to gear up for...

    🌟 You’re Invited to Tim Talks! 🌟

    Laura Louizos

    Join us this Thursday, April 25th, from 7-9 PM ET for an inspiring session with PSP Warrior, Tim Brown! This month, we’re diving into awareness topics to gear up for...

  • Happy National Volunteer Week!

    Happy National Volunteer Week!

    Laura Louizos

    As we celebrate this special week, we want to extend a heartfelt thank you to all our dedicated volunteers. Your selfless contributions and unwavering commitment have been instrumental in making...

    Happy National Volunteer Week!

    Laura Louizos

    As we celebrate this special week, we want to extend a heartfelt thank you to all our dedicated volunteers. Your selfless contributions and unwavering commitment have been instrumental in making...

1 of 4