Ataxia is a rare disorder that affects both children and adults. I was quite surprise to find that very little statistics have been conducted on ataxia. this may be due to the understanding that Ataxia is not a specific disorder, rather, a condition can cause ataxia including multiple sclerosis, head trauma, cerebral palsy and infections.
Ataxia affects a child’s coordination, balance and speech while some children are born with ataxia as a result of genetics, others develop it in a progressive matter. Signs and symptoms of Acute Cerebellar Ataxia include:
- Frequent stumbling
- Impaired coordination affecting arms or legs
- Unsteady gait
- Uncontrolled eye movement
- Difficulty performing fine motor task
The following are facts and statistics on the Ataxia disorder:
- It is a degenerative disease of the nervous system
- Symptoms, often mimic being drunk in adults such as slurred speech
- Age of symptom can vary from childhood to late adulthood
- rare recessive genetic disorder
- occurs between 1 out of 40,000 and 1 out of 100,000
- The word ataxia refers to clumsiness or a loss of balance and coordination
- The ataxia gene was first identified in 1993
- Ataxia is inherited
- Ataxia is a sign of an underlying disorder
- It is caused by damage to different areas of the central nervous system
- The most common symptom in children is an unsteady gait
- In some cases, ataxia can present itself rapid while in others, it is progressive.
- The most common cause of acute ataxia in children are excessive drug ingestion and drug intoxications
- There are from 50 to 100 different types of Ataxia.
Click here to download a printed version
February 13th is the first day of Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy Awareness Week. Here are some facts on Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy:
- It is one of the nine types of muscular dystrophies
- Duchenne muscular dystrophy was first described by French neurologist, Guillaune Benjamin Amand Duchenne in the 1860’s.
- It is an inherited disorder
- It is caused by an absence of dystrophin, a protein that bonds the muscle cell
- It is characterized by progressive muscle degeneration
- It occurs in about 1 out of every 3,600 male infants
- Risks include a family history of Duchenne muscular dystrophy
- Symptoms start appearing between the ages of 3-5.
- By the age of 12, most males affected may lose their ability to walk
- Breathing difficulties and heart disease usually start by the age of 20
- Very rare are females affected by the disease.
- Early symptoms include muscle weakness in the hips, pelvic area, thighs and shoulders.
- By teen years, the heart and respiratory muscles are affected.
- Duchenne muscular dystrophy carriers are females with one normal dystrophin gene on one x chromosome and an abnormal dystrophin gene on the other x chromosome
- Most carriers do not show any signs or symptoms.
- Affected children may have delayed motor skills including sitting, standing and walking.
- Survival into the early 30’s is becoming more common due to advances in cardia and respiratory care.
- Duchenne is associated with a heart disease that weakens the cardiac muscle
- Between 400 and 600 boys in the United States are born with these conditions each year.
- there are a few cases which results from new mutations in affected males
- steroid drugs can slow the loss of muscular strength
- There is no known cure for Duchenne muscular dystrophy