Basal ganglia dysfunction : Symptoms & Signs, Diagnosis & Tests

Symptoms & Signs

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 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:
    • Involuntary movements
    • Slowed movements
  • Increased muscle tone
  • Muscle spasms and muscle rigidity
  • Memory loss
  • Problems finding words
  • Tremor
  • Uncontrollable, repeated movements, speech, or cries (tics)
  • Walking difficulty

Diagnosis & 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.


Review Date : 9/22/2008
Reviewed By : 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.

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