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cerebellar atrophy - any help?
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cerebellar atrophy - any help?

  Dear Sir or madame:
  I have been diagnosed with cerebellar atrophy. According to the MRI that I took, "the cerebellum is diffusely and symmetrically small. The appearance suggests diffuse atrophy and not hypoplasia. No focal cerebellar abnormalities are identified and there are no pericerevellar abnormalities, The medulla and pons appear normal."
  The closest aricle about this type of condition is on olivopontocerebellar atrophy; but my condition does not effect the pons. I am not sure if this olivopontocerebellar atrophy covers the same treatments (if any).
  My docror, and also my nerologist, say that there is no cure to this disease. I really can't afford to be going to other doctors to get other opinions. At least let me ask you. Is there any kind of treatment for my condition?
  As for my condition, I loose my balance often and my speech is becoming slurred. I am 38 years old. I have a terible time trying to write something, because it feels like I have to put effort to try and write with ligible penmenship.
  I don't know what other information can help you, but if you need some more, let me know and I will be glad to do what I can.
  Thank you,
  Larry D.
There are many disorders which affect the cerebellum. At 38, with the symptoms you report and the MRI findings, I would be concerned about a possible hereditary disorder. Unfortunately, the presence of ataxia (the sort of clumsiness you have) is not enough to make a specific diagnosis. Further, the shrinkage (atrophy) of the cerebellum does not point to any one single disease.
A movement disorders expert may be able to identify the problem and narrow it down to a short list of what could cause it, and then suggest a small number of genetic tests. We prefer not to just order tests in a shotgun pattern, because each of the diseases is pretty rare and many tests can be made unnecessary based on information obtained in the clinic visit.
I don't know about treatment. There is no single effective medication for cerebellar ataxia. Gait can be improved with certain walking assisting devices. Sometimes we find a disorder with an underlying cause that might be reversible (for example, Dilantin overdose).
I hope this helps. If you are interested in following this through, find an excellent nearby academic medical center and ask for a movement disorder specialist with expertise in cerebellar ataxia. This may shorten the chain of doctors necessary to find the proper diagnosis.
You are welcome to call 800 223-2273 and ask for neurology appointments at 4-5559. CCF MD mdf.

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