What is PSP?
Progressive Supranuclear Palsy (PSP) is a Parkinson’s-like neurological condition caused by the premature loss of nerve cells in certain parts of the brain. Over time this leads to difficulties with balance, movement, vision, speech and swallowing.
PSP is a very individual condition and symptoms can be experienced with varying degrees of severity and at different stages of progression. Early symptoms may include loss of balance, falls (often backwards), stiffness and eye problems – this might be difficulty in looking up or down, focusing, double or tunnel vision and dislike of bright lights. Some people can also experience behavioural and cognitive changes including depression and apathy.
Like many other chronic conditions there is currently no cure for PSP. However many of the symptoms can be managed to help you achieve the best possible quality of life.
What is CBD?
Corticobasal Degeneration (CBD) is a degenerative brain disease affecting people from the age of 40 onwards. Although there are similarities to PSP, with similar nerve cell damage and the build-up of a protein called tau in certain parts of the brain, the classical clinical picture is quite distinct.
Cognitive problems are common in CBD and are often one of the first symptoms that families notice, particularly apathy, impulsive behaviour, changes in empathy and language changes.
Other signs of CBD may include progressive numbness and loss of use of one hand. There may also be jerking of the fingers, slowness and awkwardness and the feeling of having an ‘alien limb’ – with complex unintentional movements of one limb causing problems with normal motor tasks.
Gradually the arm and/or leg on one side is affected and then the arm and/or leg on the other. People with CBD often have trouble controlling one hand when doing everyday things such as writing or tying shoelaces – tasks that involve individual muscle movements we take for granted. Eye movements can also be disturbed but this is less common than in PSP.
There are currently no treatments for CBD but there are a number of ways to help manage the symptoms and simple practical solutions that can help get around some of the problems people living with CBD experience.
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