Olivopontocerebellar atrophy

Alternative Names

OPCA; Olivopontocerebellar degeneration; Multiple system atrophy – cerebellar predominance; MSA-C

Definition of Olivopontocerebellar atrophy

Olivopontocerebellar atrophy is a disease that causes areas deep in the brain, just above the spinal cord, to shrink.

Causes, incidence, and risk factors

Olivopontocerebellar atrophy can be passed down through families (inherited form), or it may affect people without a known family history (sporadic form).

Symptoms

Symptoms tend to start sooner at a younger age in people with the inherited form. The main symptom is clumsiness () that slowly gets worse. There may also be problems with balance, slurring of speech, and difficulty walking.

Signs and tests

A thorough medical and neurological examination, as well as a symptom and family history, are needed to make the diagnosis.

Treatment

There is no specific treatment or cure for this disease. Therapy is aimed at treating symptoms and preventing complications. This may include:

Expectations (prognosis)

The disease slowly gets worse, and there is no cure. The outlook is generally poor. However, it may be years before someone becomes significantly disabled.

Review

Daniel B. Hoch, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor of Neurology, Harvard Medical School, Department of Neurology, Massachusetts General Hospital. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc. – 8/27/2010

Central nervous system

ADAM Medical Encyclopedia

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