Monday, September 15, 2008

Chorea or Basal Ganglia Dysfunction

It was that time again, to go to our appointment with Cole's neurologist. Everything looked good (I guess). Cole is healthy and the doctor feels like cognitively he is aware of his surroundings. He has classified the 'type' of CP that Cole has. He has spastic quadriplegic cerebral palsy. This just means he has spastic movements in all four limbs.

I was also told that he presents as having Chorea or Basal Ganglia Dysfunction.

Chorea is an abnormal voluntary movement disorder, which is caused by over activity of the neurotransmitter dopamine in the areas of the brain that control movement. Chorea is characterized by brief, irregular contractions that are not repetitive or rhythmic, but appear to flow from one muscle to the next. The quick movements of the feet or hands are vaguely comparable to dancing or piano playing.

Chorea is thought to be caused by damage to the basal ganglia. The basal ganglia can be divided into two fundamental pathways and, in some cases, chorea seems to result from damage to the indirect pathway.

It is suggested the the indirect pathway helps to inhibit unwanted movements, so it is possible that damage to this pathway allows the "escape" of movements that would ordinarily be suppressed. The random initiation of movements shows that the indirect pathway serves not only to suppress unwanted movements but also to prevent the initiation of movement. It is not known why some children with diffuse injury to the basal ganglia (such as occurs in cerebral palsy) develop choreoathetosis, while others develop dystonia.

Basal ganglia dysfunction is a problem with the basal ganglia, the deep brain structures that help start and control movement.

When the basal ganglia cells are damaged, there may be problems with the ability to control speech and movement. Difficulties with starting movement, sustaining movement and stopping movement are all possible when this area of the brain is injured.


  1. Awwwwww- I'm glad you offically got a DX's- glad everything looks good- Hannah is spastic quad CP too- I guess at the end of the day its best to remember that all DX's are is words on paper...can't change who they are or what they'll accomplish- hugs!!!

  2. I agree, you have words for his condition, but Cole is still sweetie pie Cole. Knowing what to anticipate is not the same as what to expect. I know he will continue to suprise us all! We send you lots of love!! Piper blows you kisses!!

  3. My grandpa who just passed away suffered from St. Vitis Dance as a child. I believe it is the same as chorea or a form of it. I have never understood it much. It went away and reoccurred just about 2 years ago. That just one of many of the factors in his end. In the end he couldn't swallow at all. I never understood the disease much. I am glad to see you have a medical knowledge of it. Hang in there Leanne. It is possible for him to maintain the tremors and there are things that can be done. My grandpa overcame it as a child when very little was known about it at all and lived a long healthy life until the end when it reoccured. I hope all the rest of your family is doing well.