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Basal ganglia dysfunction

  • Alternative Names

    Extra-pyramidal syndrome


    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 movements
      • 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 health care provider will perform a complete physical and neurological exam. Depending on the results, blood tests and imaging studies of the brain may be needed. This may include:

    • CT and MRI of the head
    • 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