Impairment of the ability to perform smoothly coordinated voluntary movements; this condition may affect the limbs, trunk, eyes, pharynx, larynx, and other structures.
Ataxia can interfere with a person's ability to walk, talk, eat, and perform other tasks of daily living.
It may result from impaired sensory or motor function:
- Sensory ataxia may result from posterior column injury or peripheral nerve diseases
- Motor ataxia may be associated with cerebellar/cerebral cortex/thalamic/basal ganglia diseases; injury to the red nucleus; and other conditions.
Common causes include:
• Alcohol and heavy metal poisoning
• Brain tumors
• Cerebral palsy
• Drug toxicity: benzodiazepines, phenobarbital
• Head injuries
• Multiple sclerosis
• Paraneoplastic syndrome
• Transient ischemic attack
• Viral infections like chickenpox
Adapted from DeCS. Health Sciences Descriptors. Internet. Accessed on May 23, 2015.