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Acute Cerebellar Ataxia

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Subject: Acute Cerebellar Ataxia

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The Basics

Written by the doctors and editors at UpToDate  
What is acute cerebellar ataxia? — Acute cerebellar ataxia is a condition that causes people to suddenly become unable to coordinate their movements. It most often affects children between the ages of 2 and 5, but it can affect older people, too.  
Acute cerebellar ataxia usually happens in response to an infection that causes fever. For example, some children get it after having chickenpox.  
The symptoms of acute cerebellar ataxia usually go away on their own within 2 to 3 weeks.  
What are the symptoms of acute cerebellar ataxia? — The main symptom is usually trouble walking, but other movement problems can also occur. Some children also develop: 
●Jumpy or flicking eyeball movements  
●Trouble speaking clearly  
●Vomiting 
●Headache  
Will my child need tests? — Probably. If your child has symptoms of acute cerebellar ataxia, the doctor or nurse will want to make sure those symptoms are not caused by a more serious problem, such as brain damage. He or she will ask a lot of questions about your child’s symptoms and medical history. As part of the exam, the doctor or nurse will also need to watch how your child responds to different things and how he or she moves.  
The doctor or nurse might also order: 
●Blood tests to check for poisons or drugs (for example, if there is a chance the child accidentally swallowed something) 
●Blood tests to check for low blood sugar, or other problems 
●Imaging tests to check for problems in the brain 
How is acute cerebellar ataxia treated? — Acute cerebellar ataxia usually gets better on its own without treatment.  
Is there anything I can do to help my child? — Give your child a lot of support. Let him or her know that things will get better. Also, keep a close watch on your child’s symptoms and let the doctor know if they get worse. 
Can acute cerebellar ataxia be prevented? — You can lower the chances that your child will get acute cerebellar ataxia by making sure he or she has all the right vaccines. Some of the infections that lead to acute cerebellar ataxia (such as chickenpox, measles, and mumps) can be prevented with vaccines. 
All topics are updated as new evidence becomes available and our peer review process is complete. 
This topic retrieved from UpToDate on: Jan 25, 2016. 
Topic 83073 Version 2.0 
Release: 23.7 - C24.18 
© 2016 UpToDate, Inc. All rights reserved. 

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© 2016 UpToDate, Inc. All rights reserved. 
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