Ataxic cerebral palsy accounts for five to ten percent of all cases of cerebral palsy. In this form of cerebral palsy, there is damage to a part of the brain called the cerebellum that helps maintain balance and coordination. When the cerebellum is damaged, it can result in poor muscle tone or hypotonia, difficulty maintaining balance and a normal gait, tremors, disorders of depth perception and an inability to control the range and motion of voluntary movements. As a result, children with ataxic cerebral palsy often demonstrate a wide-based, unsteady gait. They may also have intention tremors that are tremors that occur while attempting voluntary movements. Voluntary movements are typically clumsy and difficult to perform; finer movements, such as writing, are most severely affected. Coarser movements such as reaching for objects may also be difficult due to altered depth perception. Rapid, involuntary side-to-side movements of the eyeballs, or nystagmus, may also be present. Children with ataxic cerebral palsy may also suffer from several other conditions, such as seizures, mental retardation, and visual and hearing defects.
Poor muscle tone, abnormal posture or movements and a delay in achieving the normal developmental milestones of infancy may raise the suspicion of ataxic cerebral palsy. A physician makes a diagnosis of cerebral palsy by combining a careful physical examination of the patient with findings from imaging methods, such as CT scans and MRIs. These findings are collectively used to determine whether the brain is developing normally or not.
Unfortunately, there is no cure for ataxic cerebral palsy. The disease can however be treated. There are people who think that ataxic cerebral palsy was caused because of a doctor’s error. In this case, it is definitely advisable to seek the counsel of an expert cerebral palsy lawyer. The lawyer must perform an investigation to gather all the information surrounding the ataxic cerebral palsy incident to first see if a strong case exists.
Ataxic cerebral palsy tends to become progressively worse as the patient ages. An experimental treatment called chronic cerebella stimulation places electrodes on the surface of the cerebellum. It is thought that stimulation of cerebella nerves through these electrodes may improve balance and muscle tone. However, results have been mixed so far. Again, if you are confused or have questions about causes and treatments of this disease, seek legal advice.