Cerebellar Ataxia Syndrome: Treatments

By Lewis, Sarah, BS, PharmD

How is cerebellar ataxia syndrome treated?

Treatment of cerebellar ataxia syndrome varies depending on the cause, severity, and other factors. Cerebellar ataxia caused by viral infections will often go away on its own within a few months. Treating the underlying cause, if one is identified, can help improve problems with balance and coordination. Otherwise, treatment is supportive and is aimed at managing your symptoms and assisting with activities of daily life.

Treatment of cerebellar ataxia syndrome may include:

  • Devices to assist with walking and other activities

  • Medications to improve balance, tremor and nystagmus (rapid, uncontrolled eye movements)

  • Nutritional counseling and therapy to correct vitamin deficiencies and improve your overall health and wellness

  • Occupational therapy to improve your functionality

  • Physical therapy to strengthen your muscles and reduce tension

  • Speech therapy to improve speaking and communication

  • Surgery to treat certain underlying causes of cerebellar ataxia such as a brain tumor

  • Swallowing therapy to strengthen your swallowing muscles

What are the potential complications of cerebellar ataxia syndrome?

Complications of the underlying causes of cerebellar ataxia syndrome and the prognosis vary based on the disease, disorder or condition. You can best treat cerebellar ataxia syndrome and its underlying cause, lower your risk of complications, or delay the development of complications by following the treatment plan you and your healthcare professional design specifically for you.

Complications of cerebellar ataxia syndrome include:

  • Difficulties with work and school

  • Difficulty performing everyday activities, such as walking, communicating and self-care

  • Disability

  • Falls and injuries

References:

  1. Acute cerebellar ataxia. Medline Plus, a service of the National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health. http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/001397.htm.
  2. Acute cerebellar ataxia. New York University Langone Medical Center. http://www.med.nyu.edu/content?ChunkIID=191914.
  3. NINDS ataxias and cerebellar or spinocerebellar degeneration information page. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/ataxia/ataxia.htm
  4. Cerebellar disorders. The Merck Manual.  http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/neurologic_disorders/movement_and_cerebellar_disorders/cere....
  5. Cerebellum – function. Medline Plus, a service of the National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health. http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/imagepages/18008.htm.
  6. Schmahmann JD. Disorders of the cerebellum: ataxia, dysmetria of thought, and the cerebellar cognitive affective syndrome. J Neuropsychiatry Clin Neurosci. 2004;16:367-378.
INTRODUCTION

What is cerebellar ataxia syndrome?

The term cerebellar ataxia syndrome is a description of a set of symptoms rather than a specific diagnosis or disease. Ataxia refers to an unsteadiness of gait or lack of muscle coordination. Cerebellar refers to the part of the brain called the cerebellum. The cerebellum is located inside the back and base of the skull, just above the top of the spinal cord. It processes input from othe... Read more about cerebellar ataxia syndromeintroduction

SYMPTOMS

What are the symptoms of cerebellar ataxia syndrome?

Ataxia is a term that means incoordination, unsteadiness or wobbliness. Cerebellar ataxia is ataxia that is caused by problems with the cerebellum. The cerebellum is the area of your brain responsible for coordination and balance.

Common symptoms of cerebellar ataxia syndrome include:

CAUSES

What causes cerebellar ataxia syndrome?

Cerebellar ataxia syndrome is caused by damage to or problems with the cerebellum. The cerebellum is the part of your brain that is responsible for coordination and balance. A wide variety of diseases, disorders and conditions can lead to problems with the cerebellum and cause ataxia.

Cerebellar ataxia syndrome can be categorized based on the cause of the problem.

... Read more about cerebellar ataxia syndromecauses

Medical Reviewer: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS Last Annual Review Date: Aug 9, 2013 Copyright: © Copyright 2014 Health Grades, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Health Grades, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the HealthGrades User Agreement.

This Article is Filed Under: Brain and Nerves