What is Ataxia?

An estimated 150,000 Americans are affected by Heredity or Sporadic Ataxia. Ataxia can strike anyone at any time regardless of age, gender, or race. Ataxia is a group of progressive neurological diseases, which affect coordination and speech, among many other things. The word "ataxia" comes from the Greek word, "a taxis" meaning "without order or incoordination". The word ataxia means without coordination.

Common Symptoms

Typically walking is affected first. Other symptoms may include: difficulty with coordination, balance, speed, eye movements, fine motor skills and slurring of speech. It can effect every aspect of living! Many end up in wheelchairs and/or rest homes, because many lose the basic skills it takes to care for ones self and at times Ataxia may lead to death. Symptoms vary depending on the type of Ataxia one may have, the gene sequence and the age of onset.

The National Ataxia Foundation

The National Ataxia Foundation (NAF) was established in 1957 by Dr. John W. Schut and his brother Henry. Dr. Schut was a neurologist who inherited the Ataxia gene. The first NAF meeting was held in 1958 with 9 people, now the yearly meetings reach an average of 600 attendees from all over the world.

The NAF's mission is to increase education, awareness and research for Ataxia. They publish a quarterly publication to share Ataxia information and news. To learn more about Ataxia and the NAF please visit their website at www.ataxia.org

Local Utah Family Battles Ataxia

Read the story of Donna Willard and her family as they have dealt with Spinal Cerebral Ataxia over the years and how they are bringing awareness and making strides to find a cure. See how you can help.
Willard Family Ataxia Story