Ataxia is an umbrella term for  a group of neurological disorders that affect balance, coordination, and speech. Some types of ataxia are inherited, meaning they are caused by genes passed on by parents to their children, such as Friedreich’s ataxia and spinocerebellar ataxias. When ataxia is not inherited there can be a number of different causes, identified (brain damage, diet, drug side effects) or not (idiopathic).

To find out more information on the ataxias, please take a look at our Ataxia: What is It? publication. 

To find out information on specific types of ataxia, please select from the options below.

If you cannot find the information that you are looking for here, you can call our helpline on 0845 644 0606 or email helpline@ataxia.org.uk

Friedreich's ataxia is the most common form of ataxia, and is characterized by an inherited mutation in the frataxin (FXN) gene leading to reduced levels of frataxin, a protein essential for life and cell survival.

Spinocerebellar ataxias (also called SCA's) are caused by mutations in different genes. For example, spinocerebellar ataxia 1 is linked to a default in the gene SCA1. For more information on the different types of Spinocerebellar ataxias, see below:

Spinocerebellar ataxia 1 (SCA1)

Spinocerebellar ataxia 2 (SCA2)

Spinocerebellar ataxia 3 (SCA3)

Spinocerebellar ataxia 6 (SCA6) 

Spinocerebellar ataxia 7 (SCA7)

Spinocerebellar ataxia 11 (SCA11)

Dentatorubral pallidoluysian atrophy (DRPLA) is a type of inherited progressive late-onset cerebellar ataxia. It is characterised by a defect in a gene that causes damage to a certain part of the brain, the cerebellum.

Gluten ataxia is caused by a sensitivity to the protein gluten, found in wheat products. It is one of the most common forms of sporadic idiopathic ataxia (where ataxia is found in people with no family history of ataxia and no known cause). More information on this type of Ataxia is available here Gluten ataxia.

F
or more information on Gluten ataxia research, click here.

Episodic Ataxia is characterised as bouts or attacks of ataxia symptoms. To find out more information, please take a look here.