Learn about this rare condition that affects your nerve cells and may cause difficulties in speech, movement and thinking.
Corticobasal degeneration is a rare disease in which areas of your brain shrink and your nerve cells degenerate and die over time. The disease affects the area of the brain that processes information and brain structures that control movement. This degeneration results in growing difficulty in movement on one or both sides of your body.
The condition may cause you to have poor coordination, stiffness, difficulty thinking, trouble with speech or language, or other problems.
Signs and symptoms of corticobasal degeneration include:
Corticobasal degeneration progresses over six to eight years. Eventually, people with corticobasal syndrome can become unable to walk.
The causes of corticobasal degeneration are unknown, but research suggests that a protein in the brain called tau may play a role in the disease. A buildup of tau in brain cells may lead to their deterioration and the symptoms of corticobasal degeneration.
It's important to know that you can have signs and symptoms that look like corticobasal degeneration but that are caused by another degenerative disease of the brain, such as progressive supranuclear palsy, Alzheimer's disease, Pick's disease and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. Half of the people who have signs and symptoms of corticobasal degeneration have another disease.
The symptoms of corticobasal degeneration progress to serious complications, such as pneumonia or sepsis, a life-threatening response to an infection. Corticobasal degeneration complications ultimately lead to death.
A diagnosis of corticobasal degeneration is made based on your signs and symptoms. However, your signs and symptoms could be due to another degenerative disease such as progressive supranuclear palsy, Alzheimer's disease, Pick's disease and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.
Researchers are looking at whether positron emission tomography (PET) and single-photon emission computerized tomography (SPECT) scans can uncover changes in the brain that are consistent with corticobasal degeneration. However, more research needs to be done in this area.
There are no treatments that help slow the progression of corticobasal degeneration. Your doctor may recommend medications to try to manage your symptoms. Getting occupational, physical and speech therapy may help you prevent falls and manage the disabilities caused by corticobasal degeneration.
You may start by seeing your primary care provider. Or, you may be referred immediately to a specialist, such as a neurologist.
Here's some information to help you get ready for your appointment.
When you make the appointment, ask if there's anything you need to do in advance, such as fasting before having a specific test. Make a list of:
Take a family member or friend along, if possible, to help you remember the information you're given.
For corticobasal degeneration, some basic questions to ask your doctor include:
Don't hesitate to ask other questions.
Your doctor is likely to ask you several questions, such as:
October 30th, 2021