Fahr's Syndrome

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What is Fahr's syndrome?

Fahr's syndrome is a rare, genetically dominant, inherited neurological disorder characterized by abnormal deposits of calcium in areas of the brain that control movement, including the basal ganglia and the cerebral cortex. Symptoms of the disorder may include:

  • Deterioration of motor function
  • Dementia
  • Seizures
  • Headache
  • Dysarthria (poorly articulated speech)
  • Spasticity (stiffness of the limbs)
  • Spastic paralysis
  • Eye impairments
  • Athetosis (involuntary writhing movements)

    Fahr's syndrome can also include symptoms characteristic of Parkinson's disease such as:

    • Tremors
    • Muscle rigidity
    • A mask-like facial appearance
    • Shuffling gait
    • A "pill-rolling" motion of the fingers

    These symptoms generally occur later in the development of the disease. More common symptoms include:

    • Dystonia (disordered muscle tone)
    • Chorea (involuntary rapid, jerky movements)

    Age of onset is typically in the 40s or 50s, although it can occur at any time in childhood or adolescence. There is no cure for Fahr's syndrome, nor is there a standard course of treatment. Treatment addresses symptoms.

    Learn About Clinical Trials
    Clinical trials are studies that allow us to learn more about disorders and improve care. They can help connect patients with new and upcoming treatment options.

    How can I or my loved one help improve care for people with Fahr's syndrome?

    Consider participating in a clinical trial so clinicians and scientists can learn more about Fahr's syndrome and related disorders. Clinical research uses human volunteers to help researchers learn more about a disorder and perhaps find better ways to safely detect, treat, or prevent disease.

    All types of volunteers are needed—those who are healthy or may have an illness or disease—of all different ages, sexes, races, and ethnicities to ensure that study results apply to as many people as possible, and that treatments will be safe and effective for everyone who will use them.

    For information about participating in clinical research visit NIH Clinical Research Trials and You. Learn about clinical trials currently looking for people with Fahr's syndrome at Clinicaltrials.gov.

    Where can I find more information about Fahr's syndrome?

    Information may be available from the following organizations and resources:

    National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)
    Phone: 301-443-4513 or 866-615-6464; 866-415-8051 (TTY)

    National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD)
    Phone: 203-744-0100 or 800-999-6673; 844-259-7178 Spanish

    Order publications from the NINDS Catalog
    The NINDS Publication Catalog offers printed materials on neurological disorders for patients, health professionals, and the general public. All materials are free of charge, and a downloadable PDF version is also available for most publications.