Ataxia UK believes it is also important to support research that may have more of an immediate impact on people with ataxia, and thus funds research in areas such as physiotherapy, speech and language therapy and rehabilitation.

People with ataxia experience a number of different symptoms, the most common being problems with coordination of movements, balance and speech. Hearing can also be affected. Research that focuses on addressing some of these symptoms, such as rehabilitation or physiotherapy studies may have a more immediate impact, and although not curative, are still very important. 

Ataxia UK has supported two recent small studies that are showing some promise in improving coordination of movements and balance:

The use of whole-body movement videogames as a form of exercise has shown some improvements in balance and coordination in children with ataxia. To find out more information on this study, click here.  

A pilot study on adults with SCA6 assessed the possibility of using a form of visual aid to improve coordination. To find out more information on this study, click here.  

Both studies need confirmation in larger scales trials but are nevertheless encouraging.

Hearing is affected in some people with ataxia and this can have a large impact on the quality of life as traditional hearing aids are ineffective. Ataxia UK is therefore supporting a study to assess how hearing is impaired in people with Friedreich’s ataxia and some spinocerebellar ataxias and to test the effect of specific new hearing aids.

For more information on recent physiotherapy research also see the Ataxia Guidelines.