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Understanding Cerebellar Ataxia

The cerebellum is an area at the base of the brain that is responsible for a number of functions, including balance, coordination of voluntary movement, maintaining posture, as well as coordinating speech and eye movements. If this part of the brain becomes damaged, it can result in cerebellar ataxia: the term 'ataxia' describes an impairment of muscle control or coordination.

Cerebella Ataxia image

There are genetic forms of cerebellar ataxia that can be inherited from gene mutation such as:

  • Friedreich’s ataxia
  • Spinocerebellar ataxia
 
Ataxia can also be caused in a number of other ways, and are classed as ‘acquired ataxia’ including:
  • Viruses that affect the nervous system such as measles, mumps, hepatitis A, chickenpox, the West Nile virus and infections caused by Coxsackie and Epstein-Barr viruses
  • Stroke
  • Exposure to certain toxins including lead and mercury
  • Severe trauma to the head
  • Deficiencies of certain vitamins like E, B-1, B-12 and thiamine
  • Cerebral Palsy
  • Multiple sclerosis (MS)
  • Brain tumours and some other types of cancer
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Long-term misuse of alcohol
 
As with most medical conditions, symptoms vary widely between patients but often include:
  • Impaired coordination and balance, which can include clumsiness, unsteady gait (walking) that can lead to frequent stumbles and falls
  • Tremors or muscle spasms
  • Repetitive and uncontrolled movements of the eyes
  • Changes in speech including slurring
  • Dizziness and headaches
  • Difficulties with eating or swallowing
 
Where cerebellar ataxia is the result of a virus, special treatment isn't usually required and a complete recovery is expected. There are different treatments available for cerebellar ataxia that has occurred due to another cause that has lead to chronic/ long-lasting symptoms:
  • Bleeding in the cerebellum caused by a haemorrhagic stroke can be treated with surgery
  • Medication to thin the blood can be used to treat cerebellar ataxia caused by an ischaemic stroke
  • If the cerebellum has become inflamed, steroid medication is sometimes prescribed
  • Vitamin deficiencies can be counteracted by taking the appropriate vitamin supplements
 
In all cases of cerebellar ataxia, the severity of the issues with coordination and movement can often be reduced and improved by wearing dynamic compression garments. Here at Jobskin®, we specialise in designing and manufacturing such garments

SDO® garments from Jobskin® are custom made to the measurements of each individual patient and are manufactured using top-quality Lycra®. Each garment is a Class 1 medical device that provides consistent and continuous compression, providing musculoskeletal support and increasing proprioceptive and sensory feedback. SDO® can assist with the coordination of movement to help with balance, fine motor skills and everyday activities, as well as reducing tremors.

We invite you to browse the Jobskin® website to discover more about dynamic compression and our innovative range of SDO® garments. For further information, advice and support, please do not hesitate to get in touch with a member of our dedicated and knowledgeable team.

Image credit: Colton Sturgeon, 2018. Available at: https://­unsplash.­com/­photos/­6KkYYqTEDwQ