Ataxia affects the parts of the nervous system affecting balance and movement. It results in the loss of coordinated bodily movements. Last year, the Brain Research Trust funded two research projects related to Ataxia.
There are different types of ataxia that vary in severity and may develop for different reasons. Inherited forms of the condition include Friedreich's ataxia, ataxia telangiectasia and spinocerebellar ataxia type 6. Non-inherited ataxia may be caused by brain tumours, multiple sclerosis and alcoholism.
If ataxia is caused by illness or an injury, the symptoms may improve or disappear over time, but some forms of ataxia are progressive and therefore the symptoms gradually become more severe, affecting the sufferer’s ability to walk and talk.
There is currently no cure for Ataxia, although specific symptoms can be treated with medicine. It is important that more research is carried out into ataxia to help devise treatments and possibly a cure.