A Brief Guide to Corticobasal Degeneration (CBD)
Corticobasal Degeneration (CBD) is a degenerative brain disease affecting people from the age of 40 onwards. Although there are similarities to PSP, with similar nerve cell damage and the build-up of a protein called tau in certain parts of the brain, the classical clinical picture is quite distinct.
However people diagnosed with CBD may go on to develop features of PSP and vice versa. Overlap between the two conditions is now well recognised.
Cognitive problems are common in CBD and are often one of the first symptoms that families notice, particularly apathy, impulsive behaviour, changes in empathy and language changes.
Other signs of CBD may include progressive numbness and loss of use of one hand. There may also be jerking of the fingers, slowness and awkwardness and the feeling of having an ‘alien limb’ – with complex unintentional movements of one limb causing problems with normal motor tasks.
Gradually the arm and/or leg on one side is affected and then the arm and/or leg on the other. People with CBD often have trouble controlling one hand when doing everyday things such as writing or tying shoelaces – tasks that involve individual muscle movements we take for granted. Eye movements can also be disturbed but this is less common than in PSP.
There are currently no treatments for CBD but there are a number of ways to help manage the symptoms and simple practical solutions that can help get around some of the problems people living with CBD experience.
As with PSP, there are no simple tests or brain scans for CBD to help neurologists diagnose the condition. CBD is often initially misdiagnosed as a stroke or Parkinson’s disease.