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National Ataxia Foundation

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Snapshot: What is Cerebrospinal Fluid (CSF)?

Public transit may not be the first thing that comes to mind when we think about the brain, but it’s a great way to understand how all the parts of the central nervous system work together. Nutrients, hormones, and other important molecules (the passengers) need to get on and off Read More…

Spotlight: The Kuo Lab

Principal Investigator: Dr. Sheng-Han Kuo Location: Columbia University, New York, NY, United States Year Founded:  2012 What disease areas do you research? SCA1 SCA2 SCA3 SCA6 Tremor Essential Tremor What models and techniques do you use? Mouse models Post-mortem patient tissue Optogenetics Human physiology EEG (electroencephalogram) Neuromodulation Research Focus What is your Read More…

Snapshot: What is the Morris Water Maze Test?

Spinocerebellar ataxias (SCAs) are well known for worsening motor coordination symptoms caused by the degeneration of the cerebellum. Yet, increasing reports indicate that broader changes are occurring in the brains of some SCA patients. This includes changes in the hippocampus, a brain region critical for learning and memory. One way Read More…

Snapshot: What is the balance beam test?

When you think of a balance beam, you might think of gymnastics. For humans, a balance beam is a surface where we perform jumps, flips, and other athletic feats. Whether it’s a child taking their first class, or an Olympic athlete going for gold, the balance beam requires both balance Read More…

Spotlight: The Movement Analysis and Robotics Laboratory (MARlab)

Principal Investigator: Dr. Maurizio Petrarca Location: Bambino Gesù Children Hospital, Rome, Italy Year Founded: 2000 What disease areas do you research? Friedreich’s ataxia Early-onset ataxia Non-Progressive Cerebellar Ataxia Hereditary Spastic Paraplegia Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease Cerebral Palsy Adrenoleukodystrophy What models and techniques do you use? Wearable Technologies Movement analysis Read More…

BDNF can reverse ataxia in SCA1 mice, even after symptom onset

Written by Anna Cook Edited by Dr. David Bushart Brain-derived neurotrophic factor can prevent ataxia in SCA1 mice. New research shows that the treatment works even if it’s started after mice develop signs of ataxia. SCA1 is a neurodegenerative disease caused by a mutation in the Ataxin1 gene. People with Read More…

Four diseases, One Gene: CACNA1A

Written by Dr. Judit Pérez Edited by Dr. David Bushart A new case report describes how a new mutation in the CACNA1A gene causes ataxia with seizures. Genes and their diseases Hereditary ataxias are caused by mutations in different genes that affect how different parts of the brain and spinal Read More…

Snapshot: What is the Hippocampus?

How do you remember your name? Thank your hippocampus, a part of the brain that lies buried in the cerebrum and plays an important role in memory. The hippocampus looks like a seahorse when removed from the brain and hence the name (derived from Hippokampus, the Greek word for seahorse). Read More…

Failure to repair DNA damage may be linked to SCA3

Written by Dr. Ambika Tewari Edited by Dr. Maria do Carmo Costa Mutations in Ataxin-3 protein prevent the normal functioning of a DNA repair enzyme leading to an accumulation of errors Cells are bombarded by thousands of DNA damaging events each day from internal and external sources. Internal sources include Read More…

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