Cerebellar ataxia is loss of muscle coordination caused by disease or injury to the cerebellum. The cerebellum is the area of the brain responsible for coordinating voluntary muscles and maintaining balance.
People of all ages can have cerebellar ataxia. In children 3 years old or younger, it's most often caused by viruses and has only short-term effects. For adults, cerebellar ataxia is usually the result of head trauma or an infection or disease of the cerebellum. Alcohol abuse, medications, and exposure to toxic chemicals can also cause cerebellar ataxia.
People with cerebellar ataxia may have trouble walking, speaking, sitting still, or keeping their hands steady. They may also have uncoordinated or repetitive eye movement. Symptoms can be sudden and brief (acute) or can occur slowly and be long-lasting (chronic). Cerebellar ataxia can come and go or get progressively worse over time.
Treatment of cerebellar ataxia is based on the underlying problem that caused it.
While some people will have permanent symptoms of cerebellar ataxia, many patients can be treated with medication or surgery with good outcomes. When caused by viral infections, cerebellar ataxia usually doesn't require treatment and most people will recover fully within a few months.
All A to Z dictionary entries are regularly reviewed by KidsHealth medical experts.
|Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) The CDC (the national public health institute of the United States) promotes health and quality of life by preventing and controlling disease, injury, and disability.|
|National Institutes of Health (NIH) NIH is an Agency under the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and offers health information and scientific resources.|
|Ataxia-Telangiectasia Children's Project The A-T Children's Project raises funds to accelerate research aimed at finding a cure and improving the lives of children with ataxia-telangiectasia. This website contains information for parents about the disease and how it is treated.|
|Head Injuries Head injuries fall into two categories: external and internal. Learn more about both kinds, how to prevent them, and what to do if your child is injured.|
|A to Z: Pneumonia, Mycoplasma Mycoplasma pneumonia, also called walking pneumonia or atypical pneumonia, is a mild lung infection caused by bacteria.|
|Neurocutaneous Syndromes Neurocutaneous syndromes are genetic disorders that lead to tumor growth in various parts of the body. The focus of treatment is to prevent or minimize complications and maximize the child's strengths.|
|Stroke A stroke means that something has stopped the normal blood flow to the brain. Find out more in this article for kids.|
|Cerebral Palsy Cerebral palsy is one of the most common developmental disabilities in the United States. It affects a person's ability to move and coordinate body movements.|
|Cerebral Palsy Check out this article to learn what cerebral palsy is, what causes it, what life is like for kids with this condition, and more.|
|Chickenpox It's most common in kids under age 12, but anyone can get chickenpox. The good news is that a vaccine can prevent most cases.|
|A to Z: Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Learn about about multiple sclerosis (MS), a chronic disease affecting the central nervous system.|
|Mononucleosis Mononucleosis - or "mono" - is an infection that produces flu-like symptoms, and usually goes away on its own in a few weeks with the help of plenty of fluids and rest.|
|A to Z: Viral Infection A viral infection is a an infection caused by a virus (a type of germ).|
|Strokes This "brain attack" happens when blood flow to the brain stops, even for a brief second. Signs and symptoms of strokes in kids are similar to those in adults.|
|Mad Cow Disease Mad cow disease has been in the headlines - but what is it, and how likely is it that your family will be affected by it?|
|Chickenpox Chickenpox is a virus that causes red, itchy bumps. Find out more in this article for kids.|
|Mononucleosis It's sometimes called "the kissing disease," but kissing is just one of the ways that someone can catch mono.|
|Lyme Disease Lyme disease can be treated if it's caught early. So read this to find out what causes it, how it's treated, and how to prevent it.|
|Coxsackievirus Infections Coxsackievirus infections can spread from person to person. In most cases, the viruses cause mild flu-like symptoms, but can lead to more serious infections.|
|Cerebral Palsy Cerebral palsy (CP) is one of the most common congenital disorders of childhood. This article explains causes, diagnosis, prevention, treatment, and more.|
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