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Neurology. 2003 Mar 25;60(6):910-6.

Clinical features and natural history of progressive supranuclear palsy: a clinical cohort study.

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  • 1Department of Neurology, School of Health Sciences, University of Newcastle upon Tyne, UK.



To describe clinical features and identify prognostic predictors in progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP).


Record-based diagnosis according to National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke-Society for Progressive Supranuclear Palsy criteria was performed in 187 cases of PSP. Clinical information was abstracted from patient records. Sixty-two patients (33%) were examined by the investigators. Forty-nine of 62 patients (79%) underwent standardized clinical assessment. Predictors of survival were examined after a mean of 6.4 years.


The most common symptoms at disease onset related to mobility (69%). Of patients undergoing standardized clinical assessment, diplopia occurred in 61%, photophobia in 43%, and eyelid apraxia in 43%. Seventy-five cases (40%) died during follow-up. Older age at onset and classification as probable PSP were associated with poorer survival. Onset of falls (hazard ratio 3.28, 95% CI 1.17 to 9.13), speech problems (hazard ratio 4.74, 95% CI 1.10 to 20.4), or diplopia (hazard ratio 4.23, 95% CI 1.23 to 14.6) within 1 year and swallowing problems within 2 years (hazard ratio 3.91, 95% CI 1.39 to 11.0) were associated with a worse prognosis.


Mobility problems are the commonest early feature in PSP and visual symptoms are often functionally disabling. Early falls, speech and swallowing problems, diplopia, and early insertion of a percutaneous gastrostomy predict reduced survival.

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