Encyclopedia of Clinical Neuropsychology

2018 Edition
| Editors: Jeffrey S. Kreutzer, John DeLuca, Bruce Caplan

Ataxia

  • Anna DePold HohlerEmail author
  • Marcus Ponce de Leon
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-57111-9_441

Synonyms

Clumsiness

Definition

Ataxia describes a lack of coordination while performing voluntary movements. It is associated with damage to the cerebellum or its afferent or efferent pathways. It may appear as clumsiness, inaccuracy, or instability. It may affect any part of the body. When ataxia affects the arms and hands, it may cause tremor due to overcorrection of inaccurate movements. It may produce dysmetria or an inability to gauge distance correctly. It may cause past-pointing when an attempted reach overshoots the target. It may also cause dysdiadochokinesia or poor performance of regular, repeated movements. Cerebellar injury may contribute to nystagmus, hyper- and hypometric saccades, scanning speech, titubation, and difficulties with gait and balance.

Current Knowledge

There are a number of different types of damage to the cerebellum. These range from fixed damage (e.g., stroke, trauma, hypoxic injury) to chemical, metabolic, and degenerative. Cerebellar injury related to...

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References and Readings

  1. Gilman, S. (2004). Clinical features and treatment of cerebellar disorders. In R. L. Watts & W. C. Koller (Eds.), Movement disorders (2nd ed., pp. 723–736). New York: McGraw-Hill.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Boston University Medical CenterBostonUSA
  2. 2.Madigan Army Medical CenterTacomaUSA