MedicineNet appreciates your comment. Your comment may be displayed on the site and will always be published anonymously.
What are the different types of ataxia?
The cerebellum is the region of the brain that is responsible for coordinating motion in the body. When the brain commands part of the body to move, electrical signals are transmitted through the spinal cord into peripheral nerves that then stimulate a muscle to contract, initiating movement. That part of the body also has sensory nerves that collect information from the environment about position and proprioception, where the body is in time and space. These signals return via the same peripheral nerves but through a different pathway in the spinal cord. The cerebellum takes this information, as well as input from vision from the eyes and balance from the vestibular system of the inner ear, to help smooth out purposeful movement. Failure of any one or more of these pathway components can lead to ataxia.
Cerebellar ataxia is caused by abnormalities and damage, either temporary or permanent, to the cerebellum. Sensory ataxia occurs when the dorsal columns of the spinal cord fail to function normally. They are responsible for carrying proprioception information from the body to the brain. Damage to parts of the brain that have to interpret the information may also cause sensory ataxia. Vestibular ataxia describes loss of balance because the vestibular canals fail to function properly.