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A.D.A.M. Medical Encyclopedia [Internet]. Atlanta (GA): A.D.A.M.; 2013.

A.D.A.M. Medical Encyclopedia.

Basal ganglia dysfunction

Extra-pyramidal syndrome

Last reviewed: August 28, 2012.

Basal ganglia dysfunction is a problem with the deep brain structures that help start and control movement.

Causes, incidence, and risk factors

Conditions that cause injury to the brain can damage the basal ganglia. Such conditions include:

  • Carbon monoxide poisoning
  • Copper poisoning
  • Drug overdose
  • Head injury
  • Liver disease
  • Metabolic problems
  • Side effects of certain medications
  • Stroke
  • Tumors

Many brain disorders are associated with basal ganglia dysfunction. They include:

This list may not be all-inclusive.

Symptoms

Damage to the basal ganglia cells may cause problems with one's ability to control speech, movement, and posture. A person with basal ganglia dysfunction may have difficulty starting, stopping, or sustaining movement. Depending on which area is affected, there may also be problems with memory and other thought processes.

In general, symptoms vary and may include:

  • Movement changes, such as involuntary or slowed movements
  • Increased muscle tone
  • Muscle spasms and muscle rigidity
  • Memory loss
  • Problems finding words
  • Tremor
  • Uncontrollable, repeated movements, speech, or cries (tics)
  • Walking difficulty

Signs and tests

The doctor or nurse will examine you and ask questions about your symptoms and medical history. Blood and imaging tests may be needed. This may include:

  • CT and MRI of the head
  • Genetic testing
  • Magnetic resonance angiography to look at the blood vessels in the neck and brain
  • Positron emission tomography (PET) to look at the metabolism of the brain
  • Blood tests to check blood sugar, thyroid function, liver function, and iron and copper levels

Treatment

Treatment depends on the cause of the disorder.

Expectations (prognosis)

How well a person does depends on the cause of the dysfunction. Some causes are reversible, while others require lifelong treatment.

Calling your health care provider

Call your health care provider if you have any abnormal or involuntary movements, unexplainable falls, or if you or others notice that you are shaky or slow.

References

  1. Lang AE. Parkinsonism. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 416.
  2. Jankovic J. Movement disorders. In: Daroff RB, Fenichel GM, Jankovic J, Mazziotta JC, eds. Bradley’s Neurology in Clinical Practice. 6th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2012:chap 71.
  3. Lang AE. Other movement disorders. In: Goldman L, SchaferAI, eds. Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 417.

Review Date: 8/28/2012.

Reviewed by: Luc Jasmin, MD, PhD, Department of Neurosurgery at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles, and Department of Anatomy at UCSF, San Francisco, CA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc.

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The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only — they do not constitute endorsementscof those other sites. © 1997–2011 A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.

Copyright © 2013, A.D.A.M., Inc.

A.D.A.M., Inc. is accredited by URAC, also known as the American Accreditation HealthCare Commission (www.urac.org). URAC's accreditation program is an independent audit to verify that A.D.A.M. follows rigorous standards of quality and accountability. A.D.A.M. is among the first to achieve this important distinction for online health information and services. Learn more about A.D.A.M.'s editorial policy, editorial process and privacy policy. A.D.A.M. is also a founding member of Hi-Ethics and subscribes to the principles of the Health on the Net Foundation (www.hon.ch).

The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only — they do not constitute endorsementscof those other sites. © 1997–2011 A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.

Copyright © 2013, A.D.A.M., Inc.

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