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.
Causes of acute cerebellar ataxia include:
Causes of recurrent or chronic acute ataxia include:
While it can occur at any age, acute cerebellar ataxia is most common in young children. It can occur several weeks after a viral infection, such as chickenpox. Most cases go away without treatment in a matter of months. However, recurrent or chronic progressive cerebellar ataxia does occur.
These factors increase the chances of developing acute cerebellar ataxia:
Symptoms of acute cerebellar ataxia may include:
Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical and family history. A physical exam will be done.
You may need to have your bodily fluids and tissues tested. This can be done with:
You may need to have pictures taken of your bodily structures. This can be done with:
You may need to have your nerve and muscle activity tested. This can be done with:
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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Last reviewed November 2013 by Rimas Lukas, 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.