Striatonigral Degeneration

Striatonigral degeneration is a neurological disorder caused by a disruption in the connection between two areas of the brain-the striatum and the substantia nigra. These two areas work together to enable balance and movement.

Striatonigral degeneration is a type of multiple system atrophy (MSA). The cause of MSA is unknown and no specific risk factors have been identified. Around 55% of cases of MSA occur in men, with typical age of onset in the late 50s to early 60s. The overall prevalence of MSA is estimated at 4.6 cases per 100,000 people. No racial or ethnic predilection is evident.

Symptoms of striatonigral degeneration resemble some of those seen in Parkinson’s disease, including:

  • Rigidity
  • Instability
  • Impaired speech
  • Slow movements

Striatonigral degeneration progresses slowly. Some patients have normal life expectancy.

There is no cure for striatonigral degeneration, and treatments for the disorder have variable success. Treatments used for Parkinson’s disease are recommended. However, unlike Parkinson’s disease, striatonigral degeneration is not responsive to levodopa. Dopamine and anticholinergics provide some benefit. Management by rehabilitation professionals for problems with walking/movement, daily tasks, and speech problems is essential. Generally, treatment is reevaluated as the disorder progresses.