ataxia

ataxic, adj.
/euh tak"see euh/, n. Pathol.
loss of coordination of the muscles, esp. of the extremities.
Also, ataxy /euh tak"see, a tak"-/. Cf. tabes dorsalis.
[1605-15; < NL < Gk: indiscipline, equiv. to a- A-6 + táx(is) -TAXIS + -ia -IA]

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Inability to coordinate voluntary muscular movements.

In common usage, the term describes an unsteady gait. Hereditary ataxias are usually caused by degeneration of the spinal cord, cerebellum, or other parts of the nervous system. The most common is Friedreich ataxia, which begins at ages 3–5, progressing slowly to almost complete incapacity by age 20. There is no specific therapy. Metabolic disorders, brain injuries, and toxins can cause ataxia.

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      inability to coordinate voluntary muscular movements. In common usage, the term describes an unsteady gait.

      Most hereditary ataxias of neurological origin are caused by degeneration of the spinal cord and cerebellum; other parts of the nervous system are also frequently involved. The most common of these is Friedreich ataxia, named after the German neurologist Nicholaus Friedreich. During the first three to five years of life, only a few physical deformities (e.g., hammertoe) may be present. During adolescence, the gait becomes progressively unsteady—frequently interpreted as clumsiness. The unsteadiness further progresses to a broad-based, lurching gait; sudden turns are extremely difficult without falling. Tremors develop in the upper extremities and in the head. Speech is slow, slurred, and monotonous. Skeletal deformities and muscle weakness are common.

      Although the course of the disease is slow, it is progressive. Spontaneous remissions occur rarely, and there is usually almost complete incapacity by age 20. There is no specific therapy, and death is usually the result of another complicating disease or heart failure.

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Universalium. 2010.

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