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Progressive supranuclear palsy

Other Names for this Disease
  • Familial progressive supranuclear palsy (type)
  • PSP
  • Steele-Richardson-Olszewski Syndrome
  • Supranuclear palsy, progressive
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Tests & Diagnosis

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How is progressive supranuclear palsy diagnosed?

Progressive supranuclear palsy is often difficult to diagnose because its symptoms can be very much like those of other, more common movement disorders, and because some of the most characteristic symptoms may develop late or not at all. The key to diagnosing progressive supranuclear palsy is identifying early gait instability and difficulty moving the eyes, the hallmark of the disease, as well as ruling out other similar disorders, some of which are treatable.[1]

An exam of the nervous system (neurological examination) may show features from the following categories from which primary complaints of this condition fall:[2][1]

  • Symptoms of disequilibrium, such as unsteady walking or abrupt and unexplained falls without loss of consciousness
  • Visual complaints, including blurred vision, difficulties in looking up or down, double vision, light sensitivity, burning eyes, or other eye trouble
  • Slurred speech
  • Various mental complaints such as slowness of thought, impaired memory, personality changes, and changes in mood
Last updated: 3/12/2012

  1. Progressive Supranuclear Palsy Fact Sheet. National Institute for Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS). August 16, 2011; Accessed 8/18/2011.
  2. Progressive supranuclear palsy. MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia. May 2010; Accessed 8/18/2011.