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Parkinsonism Relat Disord. 2013 Oct;19(10):901-5. doi: 10.1016/j.parkreldis.2013.05.004. Epub 2013 Jun 6.

Markedly asymmetric presentation in multiple system atrophy.

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Sobell Department of Motor Neuroscience and Movement Disorders, UCL Institute of Neurology, London, United Kingdom.



Multiple system atrophy (MSA) presents with fairly symmetrical, levodopa unresponsive parkinsonism and additional features like autonomic dysfunction, cerebellar and corticospinal tract involvement. Marked asymmetry in atypical parkinsonism suggests alternative diagnosis like Corticobasal syndrome (CBS).


We describe five unusual cases, who presented initially with markedly asymmetric parkinsonism, rigid dystonic abnormal limb posturing and subsequently developed clinical and/or radiological features consistent with probable MSA-P.


Using the internationally accepted diagnostic criteria, the patients fulfilled the diagnostic criteria for probable MSA-P after 5 years from disease onset. Case 4 and 5 had characteristic MRI features and Case 2 was pathologically confirmed.


We use these cases to highlight that MSA-P MSA-P can present rarely with very marked asymmetry, dystonic limb and myoclonic jerks leading to a diagnosis of CBS at onset.


Asymmetry; Atypical parkinsonism; Corticobasal degeneration; Corticobasal syndrome; Multiple system atrophy; Parkinsonism

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