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Olivopontocerebellar Atrophy

Abstract

You are reading a NORD Rare Disease Report Abstract. NORD’s full collection of reports on over 1200 rare diseases is available to subscribers (click here for details). We are now also offering two full rare disease reports per day to visitors on our Web site.

NORD is very grateful to Phillip L. Pearl, MD, Professor of Pediatrics, Neurology, and Music, George Washington University School of Medicine, and Division Chief of Neurology, Children's National Medical Center, for assistance in the preparation of this report.

Synonyms of Olivopontocerebellar Atrophy

  • No synonyms found.

Disorder Subdivisions

  • hereditary OPCA
  • sporadic OPCA

General Discussion

The term olivopontocerebellar atrophy (OPCA) has historically been used to describe a group of disorders that affect the central nervous system and are termed neurodegenerative diseases because they result in a progressive deterioration of nerve cells in certain parts of the brain. These conditions are characterized by progressive balance problems (disequilibrium), progressive impairment of the ability to coordinate voluntary movements (cerebellar ataxia), and difficulty speaking or slurred speech (dysarthria).

OPCA has been classified based on clinical, genetic, and neuropathological findings and there is significant controversy and confusion in the medical literature because of its association with two distinct groups of disorders, specifically multiple system atrophy (MSA) and spinocerebellar ataxia (SCA). Hereditary OPCA usually refers to the group of disorders that overlap with SCA. These conditions are discussed in detail in the NORD report on autosomal dominant hereditary ataxias. Sporadic OPCA refers to the group of disorders for which there is not yet evidence of a hereditary component. Some individuals with sporadic OPCA will develop MSA and this disorder is discussed in detail in the NORD report on MSA. In addition, there are rare types of OPCA that follow autosomal recessive inheritance including Fickler-Winkler type OPCA and the pontocerebellar hypoplasia conditions. One type of SCA follows X-linked inheritance. Currently, neurologists usually use the term OPCA as a preliminary diagnosis until a more specific diagnosis can be made with genetic testing or by ruling out other conditions.

Organizations related to Olivopontocerebellar Atrophy

Please note that some of these organizations may provide information concerning certain conditions potentially associated with this disorder.

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