Idiopathic Basal Ganglia Calcification

January 31, 2011


E-Pearl of the Week

Brought to you by the Resident and Fellow Section of the journal Neurology®.

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.


    1. Manyam BV. What is and what is not 'Fahr's disease'. Parkinsonism and Related Disorders 2005; 11: 73-80.

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.

For more clinical pearls and other articles of interest to neurology trainees, visit and click on the link to the Resident and Fellow Pages.

Visit the E-Pearl of the Week Archive.

Llisten to this week's Neurology® Podcast.