What Is The Difference Between Progressive Supranuclear Palsy & Parkinson’s disease?

Both PSP and Parkinson’s disease show similar symptoms such as stiffness, movement difficulties, and clumsiness, but the severity of the condition is often based on the symptoms.1

Progressive supranuclear palsy is more progressive when compared to Parkinson’s disease.2

PSP is a rare brain disorder that causes serious and progressive problems whereas Parkinson’s disease is a nervous system disorder that affects movements.3,4

Many studies were conducted based on the facts of the two diseases that presented very similar symptoms, but they are quite different from each other when analyzed in detail.

PSP and Parkinson’s have overlapping symptoms, but diagnosis often becomes complicated. However, experts suggest that PSP is more severe with cognitive impairment when compared to Parkinson’s disease. Concentration and memory are most severely affected in patients with progressive supranuclear palsy.

What Is The Difference Between Progressive Supranuclear Palsy & Parkinson’s Disease?

Speaking about the differences between the two conditions is generally challenging because patients experiencing either one of the conditions do not exhibit distinct symptoms. So, let us understand the two degenerative diseases and distinguish the difference.

Progressive Supranuclear Palsy

PSP is a progressive brain disorder that is often misdiagnosed as Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s. Both PSP and Parkinson’s disease show similar symptoms such as stiffness, movement difficulties, and clumsiness, but the severity of the condition is often based on the symptoms.

Because of their similarities, they are often grouped as Parkinson’s plus syndrome or Atypical Parkinsonism. But experts believe progressive supranuclear palsy is more progressive when compared to Parkinson’s disease.

PSP is a rare brain condition that causes serious and progressive problems not only with motor symptoms but also with certain forms of mental impairment. PSP usually affects people who are aged 40 and over however, people who are 60 have an increased chance of getting this syndrome. It affects 5 people in every 100000.1

The symptoms are caused by the progressive deterioration of brain cells in several parts of the brain. One of these areas is substantia nigra which is also affected by Parkinson’s. Similarly, PSP and Alzheimer share the same misfolding of Tau protein therefore treatment for progressive supranuclear palsy also helps Alzheimer to a certain extent.

There is no cure and effective treatment in the management of PSP. Most of the symptoms do not respond to drug therapy. However, medical experts suggest that certain anti-Parkinson drugs provide therapeutic benefits to PSP patients.

Parkinson And Its Hallmark Symptoms

Parkinson’s is a neurodegenerative disease that leads to shaking, stiffness, and difficulty with walking, and causes a person to lose control over some body functions.

Syndrome progresses gradually and differs from individual to individual. Parkinson’s patients also experience mood swings accompanied by depression and anxiety.2

MRI Technique In Distinguishing PSP And Parkinson’s Disease

A medical study was conducted on 10 patients who showed motor symptoms. All the 10 patients have Parkinson’s and 5 patients were experiencing vertical supranuclear gaze palsy with increased imaging biomarker values and slowness in vertical saccades.

MRI was performed on these patients that included both MRPI and MRPI 2.0. The values showed different ranges between these patients and it also helped to identify the condition during the early stage of the symptoms.

Clinical variables assessed the motor functions and cognitive functions. Results were prepared based on the imaging biomarkers and clinical variables and it showed that disease progression was most severe in PSP when compared to Parkinson’s disease.3,4

References:

  1. Association, European Parkinson’s Disease. “Progressive Supranuclear Palsy (PSP).” Progressive Supranuclear Palsy (PSP) | European Parkinson’s Disease Association, www.epda.eu.com/about-parkinsons/types/progressive-supranuclear-palsy-psp/.
  2. Rahilly, Anne. “Distinguishing between Progressive Supranuclear Palsy and Parkinson’s Disease.” Medical Xpress – Medical Research Advances and Health News, Medical Xpress, 10 Oct. 2014, medicalxpress.com/news/2014-10-distinguishing-supranuclear-palsy-parkinson-disease.html.
  3. Ratan-NM. “Progressive Supranuclear Palsy (PSP) Versus Parkinson’s Disease.” News, 29 Oct. 2018, www.news-medical.net/health/Progressive-Supranuclear-Palsy-(PSP)-Versus-Parkinsons-Disease.aspx.
  4. Jose Marques Lopes, PhD. “MRI Technique Helps Distinguish Between Parkinson’s and…” Parkinson’s News Today, 20 Feb. 2019, parkinsonsnewstoday.com/2019/02/18/mri-strategy-helps-distinguish-parkinsons-psp-p/.

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