A physician conducting a physical examination will find slowness in movements, stiffness in the muscles of the neck and limbs, and some gait unsteadiness. Typically, the first diagnosis made is Parkinson's disease.
However a physician familiar with Progressive Supranuclear Palsy (PSP) may notice:
- A staring face
- Reduced blink rate
- Furrowed forehead
- Strained, slow voice
- Slow, dream-like gestures and movements
- Tendency to drop uncontrolledly into a chair instead of lowering oneself
An MRI of the brain may show some areas with shrunken volume, particularly of the midbrain.
Blood tests and spinal fluid cannot confirm a diagnosis of PSP, but they can rule out other possible causes for the symptoms.
A physician who is familiar with PSP can make a clinical diagnosis based on symptoms, a brain MRI, and absence of a better explanation for the patient’s problems.