Hypermetabolism of Olivary Nuclei in a Patient with Progressive Ataxia and Palatal Tremor

  • Jaana Korpela
  • Juho Joutsa
  • Juha O. Rinne
  • Jörgen Bergman
  • Valtteri Kaasinen


Background: The pathophysiology of the movement disorder progressive ataxia with palatal tremor (PAPT) is unclear.

Case report: A 77-year-old male presented with dysarthria, ataxia, and 1–2 Hz palatal tremor. A diagnosis of probable sporadic PAPT was established. Brain magnetic resonance imaging was normal at the presymptomatic phase but later showed olivary hypertrophy. Brain [18F]-fludeoxyglucose (FDG) positron emission tomography (PET) showed bilateral hypermetabolism in the olivary nuclei.

Discussion: This second reported patient with PAPT and FDG-PET shows that olivary hypertrophy is paralleled with hypermetabolism. The olivary nuclei pathology also appears to be temporally associated with symptom onset.