Encyclopedia of Clinical Neuropsychology

2011 Edition
| Editors: Jeffrey S. Kreutzer, John DeLuca, Bruce Caplan

Pseudobulbar Palsy

  • Mary-Ellen Meadows
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-0-387-79948-3_1394


Short Description or Definition

The term “pseudobulbar palsy” is used to denote dysarthria and dysphagia caused by lesions of the upper motor neuron fibers in the corticobulbar pathways, as opposed to bulbar palsy, which is caused by lesions of the brainstem or lower motor neurons. The syndrome of pseudobulbar palsy can also be associated with pseudobulbar affect and sometimes the two terms are used interchangeably. Lesions of descending white matter pathways can produce abnormal pseudobulbar affect and can be observed in MS patients and other cortical syndromes. Patients with pseudobulbar affect exhibit bouts of crying or laughter that are not associated with underlying feelings of sadness or happiness. Pseudobulbar affect has also been termed pathological laughing or crying.


The epidemiology of pseudobulbar palsy is dependent on the individual disease/disorder that causes the disruption to the...

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References and Readings

  1. Feinstein, A. (2007). Multiple sclerosis and pseudobulbar affect. In A. Feinstein (Ed.), The clinical neuropsychiatry of multiple sclerosis (pp. 82–98). New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  2. Graham, K. C., & Speigel, D. R. (2008). Pseudobulbar palsy and affect in a case of progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy. Journal of Neuropsychiatry & Clinical Neurosciences, 20(1), 110–111.Google Scholar
  3. Kaufman, D. M. (2007). Clinical neurology for psychiatrists. (6th ed.). Philadelphia: Saunders Elsevier.Google Scholar
  4. Moore, D. B., & Jefferson, J. W. (2004). Handbook of medical psychiatry. (2nd ed.). Philadelphia: Mosby Elsevier.Google Scholar
  5. Robinson, R. G., Parikh, R. M., Lipsey, J. R., Starkstein, S. E., & Price, T. R. (1993). Pseudobulbar affect following stroke: Validation of a measurement scale and double-blind treatment study. American Journal of Psychiatry, 150, 286–293.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. Tateno, A., Jorge, R. E., & Robinson, R. (2004). Pathological laughing and crying following traumatic brain injury. Journal of Neuropsychiatry and Clinical Neurosciences, 16, 426–434.PubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mary-Ellen Meadows
    • 1
  1. 1.Division of Cognitive and Behavioral NeurologyBrigham and Women's HospitalBostonUSA