What is Ataxia?

    Ataxia is in loose terms a progressively degenerative neurological disorder that affects one's motor skills and muscle coordination. Simply put, the signals from your brain that tell your body what to do can't get to their destination.

    The result is complete lack of balance, stiffening joints, muscle atrophy, dizziness, and overall lack of coordination.

    The consequences are canes, walkers, and eventually wheelchairs. Many get blurred or double vision. The ability to write vanishes. Speech slowly deteriorates. Daily functions become harder, if not impossible. Constantly falling, severe fatigue, and frequent headaches make life rough for some, and a constant battle for others.

Where does it come from?

    In many cases it is hereditary, and can be dominant or recessive. Recessive means it can skip generations.

    There are cases , however, where it seems to come from nowhere. There are also many different strains. This is the main reason it is so hard to study. Compound that with the rareness of the disorder, and it's a needle in a haystack.

    It is caused by a defect in DNA, which causes the cerebellum to deteriorate. The cerebellum is what controls motor functions and coordination.

    As you can imagine, life is challenging not only for us, but family, friends, and eventually caregivers.


What can we do?

    Push for, and find ways to fund research. There are hopes for the future. Gene therapy, stem cells, etc. may hold the key.

    Research however, is labor intensive, time consuming, and as a result, very expensive. Our politicians seem to think that destroying countries to rebuild them while putting our own soldiers in danger is more important.

    It is up to us to change that way of thinking. We must raise awareness. We must lead the fight.. Please join us in our fundraiser efforts.

    Take a few minutes and spread the word. Let your politicians and officials know what you think. Make it a point to let people know that you care, and want to help.

How does it affect a person?

    It varies from person to person, and type to type. Some folks get it in later life, and deteriorate quickly. Some get hit hard at a young age. Others experience symptoms as a young adult, and continue to progress slowly.

    There is no cure at this time. Some people claim to experience relief of some symptoms with various medications. Others rely on good diet, exercise to one's capability, vitamin supplements, and staying as active as possible.

   Typical symptoms are as follows;
Loss of balance and inability to regain it,
Slurred speech - difficulty speaking and being understood,
Poor hand-eye coordination, loss of ability to write,
Dizziness, vertigo, some ringing in ears,
Nystagmus and/or double vision,
Loss of motor skills and coordination,
Severe fatigue, overall clumsiness

Yes, it's like a permanent drunk!