Acute cerebellar ataxia is a disorder of the nervous system. It is the sudden onset of a disturbance in coordination. The cerebellum is the part of the brain that plays an important role in balance and coordination. It does not function properly in the case of cerebellar ataxia.
Acute cerebellar ataxia may be caused by genetics, viral infections, autoimmune disorders, or injury. In some cases, the cause is unknown.
Acute cerebellar ataxia is more common in young children, but it can occur at any age. Other factors that may increase your risk of acute cerebellar ataxia include:
Recurrent acute cerebellar ataxia may marked by periods of inactivity and flares. Factors that may increase your chance of recurrent acute cerebellar ataxia include:
Acute cerebellar ataxia may cause:
Your doctor will ask about your symptoms, and your medical and family history. A physical exam will be done.
Imaging tests can help diagnose and evaluate neuromuscular structures. These include:
The ataxia that occurs in children can often can go away in a few months without any treatment. In cases where an underlying cause is identified, your doctor will treat the cause.
In some cases, you may have continuing and disabling symptoms. Treatment includes:
Occupational or physical therapy may also be needed. Changes to diet and nutritional supplements may also help.
National Ataxia Foundation
National Institutes of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
Canadian Institutes of Health Research
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Cerebellar ataxia. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated January 21, 2014. Accessed February 7, 2014.
Cerebellar signs including cerebellar ataxia. Patient UK website. Available at: http://www.patient.co.uk/doctor/Cerebellar-Ataxia.htm. Updated October 15, 2009. Accessed February 7, 2014.
Encephalopathy. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke website. Available at: http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/encephalopathy/encephalopathy.htm. Updated November 9, 2010. Accessed February 7, 2014.
Frequently asked questions. University of Chicago Ataxia Center website. Available at: http://ataxia.uchicago.edu/page/faq. Accessed February 7, 2014.
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Last reviewed February 2014 by Michael Woods, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.