Progressive Supranuclear Palsy (PSP) is a rare disorder in which an increased number of brain cells become damaged over time. There are as few as 4,000 cases of PSP in the UK, with most occurring in people over 60 years of age.
Progressive Supranuclear Palsy is often misdiagnosed due to the similarity of its progressive symptoms with other disorders. Symptoms include balance and mobility problems, muscle rigidity, behavioural changes, difficulty swallowing, speech problems, inability to control eye movements, slowness of thought, and memory problems.
Brain cells become damaged due to the insufficient breakdown and relative build-up of the protein tau. Excess tau can clump together to form harmful brain plaques. Genetic mutations have been linked to Progressive Supranuclear Palsy, but these are spontaneously acquired rather than inherited.
There is no cure for Progressive Supranuclear Palsy, so treatment primarily involves managing symptoms. This includes supportive therapy, such as physiotherapy and speech and language therapy, medication, feeding tubes, and botulinum toxin (botox) injections for eye problems.