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.
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...
References and Readings
- 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