Falls in Progressive Supranuclear Palsy.


BACKGROUND: Despite falls being an almost universal clinical feature and central to the presentation and diagnostic criteria of progressive supranuclear palsy, our understanding of falls is surprisingly limited and there are few effective treatment options. OBJECTIVES: To provide an overview of the topic of the impact, assessment, mechanism, and management of falls in progressive supranuclear palsy. METHODS: We performed a literature search for "falls" and "progressive supranuclear palsy" and included additional relevant literature known to us. We synthesized this literature with experience from clinical practice. RESULTS: We review current understanding of the pathophysiology of falls, highlighting the roles of the indirect pathway and the pedunculopontine nucleus. We go on to identify shortcomings in commonly used assessments to measure falls. We discuss medical and nonmedical fall prevention strategies, and finally we discuss balancing falls risk against promoting independence. CONCLUSION: Falls are central to progressive supranuclear palsy presentation and diagnosis. Indirect locomotor and pedunculopontine nucleus dysfunction are thought to be the neural substrate of falls in this condition. Attempts to measure and prevent falls, by medical and nonmedical means, are currently limited. A personalized approach is advocated in the management of falls.