What is and what is not 'Fahr's disease'

Parkinsonism Relat Disord. 2005 Mar;11(2):73-80. doi: 10.1016/j.parkreldis.2004.12.001.


Bilateral almost symmetric calcification involving striatum, pallidum with or without deposits in dentate nucleus, thalamus and white matter is reported from asymptomatic individuals to a variety of neurological conditions including autosomal dominant inheritance to pseudo-pseudohypoparathyroidism. While bilateral striopallidodentate calcinosis is commonly referred to as 'Fahr's disease' (a misnomer), there are 35 additional names used in the literature for the same condition. Secondary bilateral calcification is also reported in a variety of genetic, developmental, metabolic, infectious and other conditions. In autosomal dominant or sporadic bilateral striopallidodentate calcinosis no known calcium metabolism abnormalities are known to date. Clinically, parkinsonism or other movement disorders appear to be the most common presentation, followed by cognitive impairment and ataxia. When presence of movement disorder, cognitive impairment and ataxia are present, a computed tomography scan of the head should be considered to rule-in or rule-out calcium deposits. Calcium and other mineral deposits cannot be linked to a single chromosomal locus. Further genetic studies to identify the chromosomal locus for the disease are in progress.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Ataxia / genetics
  • Ataxia / pathology*
  • Basal Ganglia Diseases / genetics
  • Basal Ganglia Diseases / pathology*
  • Calcinosis / genetics
  • Calcinosis / pathology*
  • Cerebellar Nuclei / pathology
  • Cognition Disorders / genetics
  • Cognition Disorders / pathology*
  • Genes, Dominant
  • Globus Pallidus / pathology
  • Humans
  • Neostriatum / pathology