It is a neurological problem marked by the gradual loss of muscle control and coordination making it difficult to perform normal day to day activities. The disorder affects the cerebellum, which is responsible for controlling movement, as a result of which the patient is likely to face difficulty with coordination and speech along with an unsteady gait. Ataxia is usually diagnosed by physical examination, neuroimaging and detailed evaluation of the patient’s health.
Causes - Ataxia can be a result of severe head trauma, stroke, cerebral palsy, autoimmune diseases (like sclerosis and celiac disease) and infections.
Symptoms - The major symptoms associated with Ataxia include problems with speech, inability to perform motor tasks, nystagmus (involuntary movement of the eyes), difficulty with swallowing food and inability to walk steadily.
Pre-Detection Tests - Ataxia is usually diagnosed by a thorough neurological examination that includes physical examinations, imaging tests (like CT scan and MRI scan), genetic testing and spinal tap.
Treatment - Ataxia cannot be completely treated, however, the problem can be easily managed by simple medication and therapies (physical, speech and occupational) that aim at improving the quality of the patient’s life.
Commonly known as spasmodic torticollis, it is a neurological condition marked by persistent or intermittent spasms of the neck muscle due to which the neck starts bending towards the sides involuntarily. Although the condition is quite rare, it can affect people of any age group and gender. Initially, the patient experiences very mild symptoms which worsen gradually. The condition cannot be cured, however, proper treatment can help to relieve the symptoms thereby improving the quality of the patient’s life.
Symptoms - As far as the symptoms are concerned, these involve the involuntary bending of the neck towards the back, front and sideways i.e.
- Chin toward shoulder
- Ear toward shoulder
- Chin straight up
- Chin straight down
Causes - As such, there is no known cause of cervical dystonia however it is believed that this might be triggered by genetic mutations or severe head, shoulder and neck injuries.
Diagnosis - Cervical dystonia is diagnosed by physical examination, however, simple blood tests and MRI scans may be suggested in some cases.
Treatment - In the initial stages, cervical dystonia is usually managed by medication and therapies. Botulinum toxin is directly injected into the neck muscles. Other drugs that may be used for the treatment include Dysport, Xeomin and Myobloc. If these fail to work, surgery may be recommended. Surgical treatments for cervical dystonia include deep brain stimulation and cutting of nerves.
It is a neurological disorder marked by abrupt and uncontrolled body movements which may range from acute to chronic. Over time, the patient may also start to experience problems with speech, gait and posture. The condition is very likely to affect people with a history of rheumatic fever.
Symptoms - Various symptoms associated with chorea include dystonia, abnormal eye movements, speech difficulty, impaired gait and loss of balance.
Causes - The condition may also be triggered by the following:
- Unhealthy genetic mutations
- Metabolic and endocrine disorders
- Side effects of certain medication
- Chronic infections
Diagnosis - The diagnosis of chorea requires thorough medical history to determine the underlying cause. Doctors may also suggest MRI scans and blood tests for parathyroid hormones or spiky erythrocytes.
Treatment - Doctors initially resort to medication and therapies to help with the symptoms. Deep brain stimulation is recommended for patients who do not respond well to other forms of treatment.