January 31, 2011
The differential diagnosis of bilateral basal ganglia calcifications includes hyperparathyroidism, pseudo-hyperparathyroidism, and bilateral striatopallidodentate calcinosis (Fahr disease). They also may be incidental findings on head CT, particularly in the elderly.
Symptoms and signs, including pyramidal and cerebellar signs, choreathetosis, parkinsonism, and cognitive or psychiatric disturbances, depend on the location and severity of the calcifications. Treatment is symptomatic and, if applicable, aimed at the underlying cause.
Submitted by Christopher R. Newey, DO, MS; Dolora Wisco, MD; and Shazia Alam, DO of the Cleveland Clinic Foundation, Department of Neurology, Cleveland, Ohio.
The authors contributed equally to the writing of this E-pearl. They have no financial disclosures to report.
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