HSP – Classification, Diagnosis, Testing, Treatment

Dr. John K. Fink, a leading researcher into HSP, gives an overview of the status quo in terms of classification, diagnosis, testing and treatment.


HSP is classified according to:

  • the mode of inheritance,
  • the HSP locus when known, and
  • whether the spastic paraplegia syndrome occurs alone or is accompanied by additional neurologic or systemic abnormalities.

Diagnosis & Testing

Hereditary spastic paraplegia is a clinical diagnosis for which laboratory confirmation is sometimes possible.  Careful exclusion of alternate and co-existing disorders is an important element in HSP diagnosis.  Analysis of 11 recently discovered HSP genes provides insight into HSP pathogenesis.

Prenatal genetic testing in HSP is possible for some individuals with the increasing availability of HSP gene analysis.


Treatment for HSP is presently limited to symptomatic reduction of muscle spasticity, reduction in urinary urgency, and strength and gait improvement through physical therapy.

Curr Neurol Neurosci Rep. 2006 Jan;6(1):65-76.

Hereditary spastic paraplegia.

Fink J. K.

Department of Neurology, University of Michigan and the Geriatric Research Education and Clinical Care Center of the Ann Arbor Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-0940, USA. [email protected]