We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is Spinocerebellar Ataxia?

Mary McMahon
By
Updated Mar 03, 2024
Our promise to you
The Health Board is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At The Health Board, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Spinocerebellar ataxia is an inherited disease which causes the cerebellum to atrophy, leading to a variety of health problems. There are over 30 recognized kinds of spinocerebellar ataxia, and researchers uncover additional types periodically through the use of genetic testing. People with spinocerebellar ataxia can have this condition in a variety of degrees of severity, ranging from mild forms which allow someone to live a fairly normal life to severe forms which can cause early mortality.

The key feature of the spinocerebellar ataxias is that they cause people to become ataxic, meaning that their gait is uncoordinated. Patients can also experience spasticity due to atrophy of the spine, along with speech and vision problems and difficulty coordinating the hands. The onset of spinocerebellar ataxia can happen at various ages, with many people developing symptoms in adulthood.

Symptoms of this condition can resemble those of multiple sclerosis and other neurological disease. For this reason, genetic testing may be recommended when patients present with the classic symptoms, to rule out or confirm spinocerebellar ataxia. Testing will reveal the chromosomal abnormality which led to the development of the condition. MRIs of the brain can also reveal the classic wasting of the cerebellum associated with spinocerebellar ataxia.

This condition is caused by too many repeats of a sequence within a gene, and it can be observed on a number of chromosomes. People can inherit the condition directly from a parent, or they can be the victims of a phenomenon known as anticipation, in which one parent has a genetic sequence which is slightly too long, but not long enough to cause spinocerebellar ataxia, and the genome expands in the child, causing the condition to emerge.

Patients with spinocerebellar ataxia usually end up in a wheelchair as they progressively lose control of their bodies, and they may require personal assistance in the later stages. By identifying the condition early and getting the patient into physical therapy and excellent neurological care, a doctor can increase the patient's chances of remaining independent.

Parents can opt for genetic testing and counseling before getting pregnant to determine whether or not their children will be at risk of developing spinocerebellar ataxia and other inherited diseases. It's important to pair any testing with advice from a skilled genetic counselor, to ensure that parents fully understand what the results mean and how they should be applied to the situation of the parents.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a The Health Board researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Discussion Comments
Mary McMahon
Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

Learn more
The Health Board, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

The Health Board, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.