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:
Increased muscle tone
Muscle spasms and muscle rigidity
Problems finding words
Uncontrollable, repeated movements, speech, or cries (tics)
Exams 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
Treatment depends on the cause of the disorder.
How well a person does depends on the cause of the dysfunction. Some causes are reversible, while others require lifelong treatment.
When to Contact a Medical Professional
Call your health care provider if you have any abnormal or involuntary movements, unexplainable falls, or if you or others notice that you are shaky or slow.
Lang A. Parkinsonism. In: Goldman L, Ausiello D, eds. Cecil Medicine. 23rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007:chap 433.
Lang A. Other movement disorders. In: Goldman L, Ausiello D, eds. Cecil Medicine. 23rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007:chap 434.
David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine; Daniel B. Hoch, PhD, MD, Assistant Professor of Neurology, Harvard Medical School, Department of Neurology, Massachusetts General Hospital. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.