There are numerous illnesses and conditions about which the normal person is largely unaware, usually because they are fairly rare or may not get the public exposure that a “bigger” disease does. One such disease that aging parents and caregivers may not know about is called corticobasal syndrome.
About Corticobasal Syndrome
Corticobasal syndrome is one of the family of disorders grouped under the term frontotemporal degeneration; some also classify it as being in the Parkinson family. Some people classify it as a form of dementia because it can have an impact on cognitive function. It is a progressive neurological disorder — meaning that it affects the nervous system and tends to worsen over time.
When a person has corticobasal syndrome, they typically experience a decrease in movement on one side of the body, often with a tremor. For example, they may find that they have very limited movement in one arm. This may manifest itself in ways such as not being able to pick up or to manipulate the remote control for a television set. Aging parents with this condition may also find it difficult to use familiar items like a comb. Movements tend to be slower, and sometimes the limbs may bend in an atypical way.
Cognitive issues also may include being challenged by simple mathematical functions, as well as a decrease in speech and language ability. Often there is a decrease in visual-spatial function.
Much is still to be learned about corticobasal syndrome, so there is no official treatment for this rare disease at this time. Some doctors have found that using selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) or acetylcholinesterase inhibitors can help slow the progression of the disease. Antioxidants are also thought to be helpful in this regard. Proper therapy can help afflicted aging parents to handle the symptoms.
As with many other rare disorders, the exact cause is still under investigation. However, aging parents who follow a healthy diet and get sufficient physical activity are thought to be less likely to experience this disorder.