health of the nervous system

Multi systemic atrophy: classification

Multi systemic atrophy is a neurodegenerative disease characterized by the progressive loss of neurons in some areas of the central nervous system ( CNS ).

Since it usually affects the basal ganglia (where the substantia nigra is located), the cerebellum and the brainstem, this incurable neurological disease generally determines:

  • Motor and muscle problems, including bradykinesia, difficulty in starting movements, stiffness and tension in the skeletal muscles, cramps, shuffling and curved gait in walking.

    Consequent to the involvement of the substantia nigra, these symptoms are the same as those affecting the Parkinson's patient.

  • Problems of coordination, balance and language . Failed coordination and lack of balance cause frequent falls; language disorders induce dysarthria.
  • Problems in the control of automatic functions . This leads to the onset of urinary incontinence, the need to urinate often, orthostatic hypotension, sleep disorders, erectile dysfunction, constipation etc.

That said, doctors and experts in neurodegenerative diseases have established that there are at least three subtypes of multi systemic atrophy, subtypes that differ from one another due to the predominant symptomatic picture.

The first subtype is called " striatonigral degeneration " and those affected by it show above all parkinsonian symptoms, ie those that recall Parkinson's disease.

Probably, in these patients, neurodegeneration mainly affects the substantia nigra .

The second subtype is the so-called " sporadic olive-ponto-cerebellar atrophy ". People with this form of multi systemic atrophy suffer particularly from problems of coordination and balance (cerebellar ataxia) and speech disorders.

Finally, the third subtype is the " Shy-Drager syndrome ", characterized above all by the inability to control automatic functions.