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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)
 
 
 

Early onset cerebellar ataxia with retained tendon reflexes. Clinical, electrophysiological and MRI observations in comparison with Friedreich's ataxia.

Fourteen patients with the clinical diagnosis of early onset cerebellar ataxia with retained tendon reflexes (EOCA) were examined and compared with 11 patients with Friedreich's ataxia ( FA). The mean age of onset in EOCA was 15.9 +/- 6.0 yrs ( FA: 14.0 +/- 5.7 yrs). Annual progression rate and the percentage of patients who were wheelchair-bound was lower in EOCA as compared with FA, although the difference did not reach statistical significance. The latency until becoming wheelchair-bound, however, was significantly longer in EOCA than in FA. The segregation ratio in EOCA was significantly lower than 0.25. Clinically, EOCA and FA patients presented with a progressive cerebellar syndrome. Associated symptoms, such as muscle wasting, sensory disturbances, foot deformity, scoliosis and electrocardiographic abnormalities were encountered less frequently in EOCA than in FA patients. The electrophysiological findings in EOCA were variable and pointed to axonal degeneration in peripheral nerves and central pathways. Posturographic measurements revealed a higher incidence of anteroposterior sway direction in EOCA as compared with FA, suggesting a cerebellar type of ataxia in EOCA. Eleven out of the 14 EOCA patients had cerebellar atrophy in MRI. The characteristic MRI finding in FA was upper cervical cord shrinkage and only minor atrophy of the cerebellum. The demonstration of cerebellar atrophy in the majority of EOCA patients supports the view that EOCA is distinct from FA. It is uncertain, however, whether EOCA is a homogenous disease entity or a group of phenotypically similar syndromes.[1]

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