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Suffolk Center for Speech

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What is Supranuclear Palsy?

  • Also known as Progressive Supranuclear Palsy (PSP), or Steele-Richardson-Olszewski syndrome, Supranuclear Palsy is an uncommon degenerative brain disease due to damaged nerve cells in the brain affecting various motor skills and cognition.
    • Results in many changes to various structures in the brain such as, the cerebral cortex, cerebellum, pons and medulla tegmentum in addition to the basal ganglia.
  • Effects on Speech

    • A person with PSP’s speech progresses to a slur within four years of the disease.
  • A person with PSP’s speech is uneven, spastic (tense), ataxic (slurred), or soft due to their weakened muscles.
  • The patients’ speech can be a combination of the above mentioned speech features.
  • A person with PSP can also have difficulty with problem solving and word finding abilities.
  • Effects on Swallowing

  • During an assessment of dysphagia using videofluorography, it was noted that a person with PSP takes a longer time to transfer the bolus (food or drink) from the oral cavity (mouth) to the pharynx (throat).
  • Due to weakness in the throat muscles after having PSP, swallowing solid foods or thin liquids is challenging.
    • The muscles in the oral/pharyngeal cavity have difficulty executing the swallow of thin liquids.
    • Patients could also suffer from aspiration pneumonia. This is pneumonia caused by excessive liquid entering the lungs when swallowing.

Resources:

https://medlineplus.gov/progressivesupranuclearpalsy.html

https://www.psp.org/iwanttolearn/progressive-supranuclear-palsy/

https://www.ninds.nih.gov/Disorders/Patient-Caregiver-Education/Fact-Sheets/Progressive-Supranuclear-Palsy-Fact-Sheet

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