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Is Progressive Supranuclear Palsy A Serious Condition & Can It Be Reversed?

Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) may ameliorate motor symptoms in some patients with progressive supranuclear palsy.(1)

Only a few patients respond to dopaminergic or anticholinergic drugs, and responses often are short-lived and incomplete.(1)

Is Progressive Supranuclear Palsy A Serious Condition?

Progressive supranuclear palsy as the name suggests is a very serious and growing condition that usually presents at the age of about 60 years(2). Rarely has been cases seen before this age group but sometimes the seriousness of this condition also depends upon the hereditary input because more the genetic background for this condition more is the development of abnormal tau proteins which gets accumulated in the basal ganglia. It produces a lot of nervous system problems special associated with eye movements and affects the gaze center of the eye.

The imminent threat posed by progressive supranuclear palsy can be measured by the fact be that the person suffering from this condition usually dies within a period of 5 to 7 years. It is almost a fatal disease either directly by affecting a large part of the brain or indirectly due to dangers posed by its symptoms such as pseudobulbar palsy. It can lead to various upper respiratory tract infections such as pneumonia etc. or it can lead to dysphagia which may cause diminished appetite etc. Also, these patients are prone to accidents and fall because of the downward gaze palsy that is they are unable to see on the path(3).

Progressive supranuclear palsy also has a very debilitating effect on the quality of life of the individual. The patient is unable to perform various daily routine works such as eating, walking, neck movements, etc. There are associated with cognitive, behavioral, and personality changes that also affect the judgment of the individual.

Can Progressive Supranuclear Palsy Be Reversed?

Various studies have been published to date and further research is also going on but no effective cure has been found for progressive supranuclear palsy to date. It is because of the pathological processes that are involved in this condition. There are normal tau proteins present in the neurons but the person who is suffering from this condition has such proteins like their truncated chains that are not capable of performing their function(4). They also get deposited in the neuron cells in the form of neurofibrillary tangles leading to the death of the neurons. It spreads pretty quickly and the patient is likely to have a fatal consequence within 10 years.

Although a complete cure has not been possible but symptomatic relief can be provided for the short term by using various pharmacological agents. Anticholinergic, dopamine agonists, tricyclic antidepressants are few of the common group of drugs which are used to provide the relief from progressive supranuclear palsy symptoms.

Since progressive supranuclear palsy cannot be relaxed so it is important for the patient and their family members to fully understand the condition, its symptoms, and potential complications to reduce them as much as possible. The patient usually requires a lot of time and effort because it may become a severely debilitating disease in a short period.


It can be easily concluded without a doubt that progressive supranuclear palsy is a serious condition and often results in unfavorable outcomes and fatal consequences. If any of the related symptoms are seen in the family members or elders in the vicinity then they should be told to contact the physician for the same as soon as possible. Although the outcome cannot be changed much the effort can be put to improve the quality of life for the remaining life.

After the development of recent advances, neurologists and scientists have become more attracted to these groups of disorders. We may find a cure shortly.


Also Read:

Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:August 1, 2020

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