In corticobasal degeneration, areas of your brain (including the cerebral cortex and basal ganglia) shrink and your nerve cells degenerate and die over time. This degeneration results in growing difficulty in movement on one or both sides of your body.

The condition may cause you to have poor coordination, stiffness, tremor, thinking (cognitive) difficulties, speech difficulty or other problems.

  • Expertise and experience. Mayo Clinic doctors have extensive experience in diagnosing and treating people with corticobasal degeneration and other neurological conditions. Corticobasal degeneration is estimated to occur in about 5 to 7 out of 100,000 people. Mayo Clinic doctors evaluate and treat more than 20 people with corticobasal degeneration each year.
  • Teamwork. At Mayo Clinic, an integrated team of doctors trained in nervous system conditions (neurologists), nervous system conditions and psychological conditions (neuropsychologists), nervous system conditions and radiology (neuroradiologists), speech and language (speech-language pathologists), mental health conditions (psychiatrists), physical medicine and rehabilitation, and sleep medicine evaluates and treats your condition.
  • Individual treatment program. Your treatment team will tailor your treatment program to your individual needs.
  • Newest research and developments. Mayo Clinic doctors provide state-of-the-art care and access to new developments and appropriate clinical trials.

Diagnosis

Mayo Clinic doctors trained in nervous system conditions (neurologists) and other areas work together to evaluate your condition.

To diagnose corticobasal degeneration, your doctor will review your symptoms to exclude other conditions that may be causing your signs and symptoms. Your doctor will conduct a neurological examination and check for signs of other conditions.

Corticobasal degeneration may be difficult to diagnose because it has similar symptoms to Parkinson's disease, progressive supranuclear palsy, multiple system atrophy, Alzheimer's disease, frontotemporal dementia and other conditions.

Your doctor may order several tests to diagnose your condition and rule out other conditions.

  • Mental status and neuropsychological tests. Your doctor may ask you questions and conduct tests to measure your thinking skills (cognitive skills).

    Your doctor may ask your family members questions about your emotional state and daily routines. You also may have a psychiatric assessment to test for behavior changes, depression or other mental illness.

  • Speech and language assessments. Doctors may assess your ability to speak and understand speech, and read and write, to determine which communication abilities may be affected.
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). An MRI uses powerful radio waves and magnets to create a detailed view of your brain. Your doctor may use this test to detect abnormalities or changes in your brain.
  • Computerized tomography (CT scan). A CT scan uses a series of X-rays to obtain cross-sectional images of your brain. Your doctor may use this test to detect abnormalities or changes in your brain.
  • Positron emission tomography (PET) scan or single-photon emission computerized tomography (SPECT). In these tests, a doctor injects you with a small amount of radioactive material and places emission detectors on your brain. PET provides visual images of brain activity. SPECT measures blood flow to various regions of your brain.
  • Levodopa therapy. Doctors may give you levodopa, a drug to treat Parkinson's disease, and evaluate your response. Symptoms of corticobasal degeneration generally don't significantly improve with levodopa.

Treatment

Mayo Clinic doctors trained in nervous system conditions (neurologists) and other areas coordinate care for people with corticobasal degeneration.

Your doctors will work with you to develop an individualized treatment plan to meet your needs. Corticobasal degeneration can't be cured, but doctors can help you manage your condition.

You may have physical, occupational and speech therapy to potentially improve your daily functioning and quality of life. You may also work with a nutrition specialist (dietitian) to manage your diet and nutrition.

Medications may help manage some of your symptoms, such as tremor and rigidity. Clonazepam (Klonopin), propranolol (Innopran XL, Inderal LA), gabapentin (Neurontin) and others may be prescribed to manage tremor.

Medications such as baclofen (Gablofen, Lioresal) may help manage rigidity.

Your treatment team will educate you and your family about corticobasal degeneration. Your doctors will work closely with your primary doctor in providing your follow-up care.

Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., ranks #1 for neurology and neurosurgery in the U.S. News & World Report Best Hospitals rankings. Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, Ariz., is ranked among the Best Hospitals for neurology and neurosurgery, and Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Fla., is ranked high performing for neurology and neurosurgery by U.S. News & World Report. Mayo Clinic also ranks among the Best Children's Hospitals for neurology and neurosurgery.

At Mayo Clinic, we assemble a team of specialists who take the time to listen and thoroughly understand your health issues and concerns. We tailor the care you receive to your personal health care needs. You can trust our specialists to collaborate and offer you the best possible outcomes, safety and service.

Mayo Clinic is a not-for-profit medical institution that reinvests all earnings into improving medical practice, research and education. We're constantly involved in innovation and medical research, finding solutions to improve your care and quality of life. Your doctor or someone on your medical team is likely involved in research related to your condition.

Our patients tell us that the quality of their interactions, our attention to detail and the efficiency of their visits mean health care — and trusted answers — like they've never experienced.

Why Choose Mayo Clinic

What Sets Mayo Clinic Apart

Mayo Clinic works with hundreds of insurance companies and is an in-network provider for millions of people. In most cases, Mayo Clinic doesn't require a physician referral. Some insurers require referrals or may have additional requirements for certain medical care. All appointments are prioritized on the basis of medical need.

Doctors trained in neurology, psychiatry and other areas care for people who have corticobasal degeneration at Mayo Clinic in Arizona.

Mayo Clinic in Arizona is part of the Arizona Alzheimer's Research Consortium, a statewide research collaboration that studies ways to detect, diagnose, treat and prevent Alzheimer's disease, corticobasal degeneration and related conditions.

For appointments or more information, call the Central Appointment Office at 800-446-2279 (toll-free) 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mountain Standard Time, Monday through Friday or complete an online appointment request form.

Doctors trained in neurology, psychiatry and other areas care for people who have corticobasal degeneration at Mayo Clinic in Florida. The neurosciences research program investigates corticobasal degeneration and related conditions.

For appointments or more information, call the Central Appointment Office at 904-953-0853 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Eastern time, Monday through Friday or complete an online appointment request form.

Mayo Clinic doctors trained in neurology, psychiatry and other areas care for people who have corticobasal degeneration at Mayo Clinic in Minnesota.

For appointments or more information, call the Central Appointment Office at 507-538-3270 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Central time, Monday through Friday or complete an online appointment request form.

See information on patient services at the three Mayo Clinic locations, including transportation options and lodging.

Mayo Clinic staff actively conducts research in corticobasal degeneration and related conditions. Researchers study causes, diagnostic techniques and treatment options for corticobasal degeneration.

The Mayo Alzheimer's Disease Research Center at Mayo Clinic in Minnesota and Mayo Clinic in Florida is one of 34 Alzheimer's disease research centers in the United States designated and funded by the National Institute on Aging of the National Institutes of Health.

Researchers in the center study corticobasal degeneration, dementia, Alzheimer's disease and related conditions. You may have the opportunity to participate in trials at the center. Mayo Clinic in Arizona is part of the Arizona Alzheimer's Research Consortium, a statewide research collaboration.

See a list of publications by Mayo Clinic doctors on corticobasal degeneration on PubMed, a service of the National Library of Medicine.

Bradley F. Boeve, M.D.

Dennis W. Dickson, M.D.

Daniel A. Drubach, M.D.

Yonas E. Geda, M.D.

Neill R. Graff-Radford, M.D.

Robert J. Ivnik, L.P., Ph.D., L.P.

Keith A. Josephs, M.D.

David S. Knopman, M.D.

Joseph E. Parisi, M.D.

Ronald C. Petersen, M.D., Ph.D.

Leonard Petrucelli, Ph.D.

Rosa Rademakers, Ph.D.

Glenn E. Smith, Ph.D., L.P.

Jennifer Whitwell, Ph.D.

Mar. 12, 2014