Supranuclear Palsy

Question: A member of my family fell and hit the back of her head a few years back (6 years) and slowly started to show the symptoms that your website detailed on the cerebellum, a neurologist diagnosed her with PSP, which I dispute as the reason for her ailments. Can anything still be done for her despite the length of time and her worsening disabilities?  

Answer:  As you know from reading our website, damage to the cerebellum can cause issues with coordination of voluntary movements, gross and fine motor movement impairments (not being able to move smoothly), postural control issues, problems with balance and eye movement issues. From what I know of progressive supranuclear palsy, this is a fairly rare brain disorder that has many of the same symptoms as damage to the cerebellum does. It seems to me that one of the defining features of PSP is that there is an inability to move the eyes and this may result in blurred vision. I have attached a link to the National Institute on Neurological disorders and stroke that discusses PSP.

Has your family member had any neuroimaging scans (CT or MRI) to try to definitively diagnose her condition? Did you family member experience issues with balance and other cerebellum type symptoms shortly after she fell or have these symptoms just now started to appear? Most often, if the issues were caused by damage to the cerebellum from a fall, the symptoms would be exhibited shortly after the fall.

In terms of therapy or treatments, I would suggest physical therapy to help her maintain the balance she currently has as well as vision therapy, if she is having visual issues. Many times physical therapy can help with both PSP and cerebellum damage and may teach your family member ways to accommodate her issues.