Munson Health
 
Acute Cerebellar Ataxia

Back to Document

by Barrett A

(Cerebellitis)

 

Risk Factors

Acute cerebellar ataxia is more common in young children, but it can occur at any age. Other factors that may increase your risk of acute cerebellar ataxia include:
  • Viral infections, such as chickenpox, Coxsackie virus, Epstein-Barr, or HIV
  • Bacterial infections such as Lyme disease
  • Exposure to certain toxins, such as lead, mercury, thallium, alcohol, and organophosphates found in insecticides
  • Cerebellar hemorrhage, abscess, blood clot, or obstruction of an artery
  • Paraneoplastic syndromes—occurs when the immune system attacks the cerebellum in the area of a cancer
  • Certain vaccinations
Recurrent acute cerebellar ataxia may marked by periods of inactivity and flares. Factors that may increase your chance of recurrent acute cerebellar ataxia include:
 

Diagnosis

Your doctor will ask about your symptoms, and your medical and family history. A physical exam will be done.
Tests include
  • Lumbar puncture—to for abnormalities of the cerebrospinal fluid that surrounds brain and spinal cord tissue
  • Blood tests
  • Urine tests
  • Nerve conduction study—to test the speed and strength of the nerve's electrical activity
  • Electromyography (EMG)—to test electrical activity of a muscle for weakness
Imaging tests can help diagnose and evaluate neuromuscular structures. These include:
 

RESOURCES

National Ataxia Foundation
http://www.ataxia.org

National Institutes of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
http://www.ninds.nih.gov

 

CANADIAN RESOURCES

Canadian Institutes of Health Research
http://www.cihr-irsc.gc.ca

Health Canada
http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca

 

References


Cerebellar ataxia. BBC News website. Available at: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/medical%5Fnotes/4055425.stm. Updated November 30, 2004. Accessed February 7, 2014.


Cerebellar ataxia. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated January 21, 2014. Accessed February 7, 2014.


Cerebellar signs including cerebellar ataxia. Patient UK website. Available at: http://www.patient.co.uk/doctor/Cerebellar-Ataxia.htm. Updated October 15, 2009. Accessed February 7, 2014.


Encephalopathy. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke website. Available at: http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/encephalopathy/encephalopathy.htm. Updated November 9, 2010. Accessed February 7, 2014.


Frequently asked questions. University of Chicago Ataxia Center website. Available at: http://ataxia.uchicago.edu/page/faq. Accessed February 7, 2014.


Ishikawa N, Kobayashi M. Recurrent acute cerebellar ataxia associated with anti-cardiolipin antibodies. Brain Dev. 2010;32(7):588-591.


Mehta SH, Morgan JC, Sethi KD. Paraneoplastic movement disorders. Curr Neurol Neurosci Rep. 2009;9(4):285-291.


Stumpf DA. Acute ataxia. Pediatr Rev. 1987;8;303-306.

 

Revision Information