It is a medical condition that occur due to the disturbance in the control of muscles and coordination of voluntary movements. It is usually a sign of an underlying condition affecting some areas of brain.
Symptoms of this condition include;
- Disturbed coordination
- Tripling and unsteady walk
- Doing a fine motor tasks become disturbed
- Abnormalities in speech
- Nystagmus occur ( abnormal back and forth movement of eye)
- Disruption in swallowing
Cerebellum is a part of brain that is involved in the muscles control and coordination. Any damage, trauma or loss of nerve tissue result in its failure of function. Two portions of folded tissues which are the part of cerebellum attached to the base of the brain stem that help in controlling eye movement and swallowing. Some major causes of ataxia are:
- Traumatic injury to the head
- Stroke occurring due to blockage of blood vessels or bleeding in the brain
- Cerebral palsy
- Autoimmune diseases like multiple sclerosis, celiac disease etc
- Infections like chickenpox, HIV and lyme disease.
- Paraneoplastic syndromes
- Abscess formation or tumors in brain
- Toxic reaction to certain medication
- Vitamin E, B12 and thiamine deficiency
- Covid-19 infection
- It can occur due to some genetic mutation. Different types of mutation causes different types of ataxia. Some of them are spinocerebellar ataxia, episodic ataxia, Friedreich’s ataxia, Ataxia-telangiectasia, Congenital cerebellar ataxia, Wilson’s disease.
Diagnosis of this condition depends upon complete history and general physical examination of patient. Other laboratory investigations include:
- CT scan
- Spinal tap or lumber puncture
- Genetic testing
Treatment of ataxia is not known till now. Some adaptive devices are used to manage this condition like:
- Hicking sticks and walkers or communication aid for speaking.
- Physical, occupational and speech therapy.