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Frequently Asked Questions 

Question:

What is Autoimmune/Paraneoplastic Cerebellar Ataxia?

 

Answer:

Ataxia is described at the lack of muscle control and incoordination of movements often resulting in problems with walking. Paraneoplastic cerebellar ataxia, also known as paraneoplastic cerebellar degeneration, is one of the wide array of paraneoplastic neurological syndromes in which neurological symptoms are indirectly caused by an underlying malignancy, most commonly gynecological, breast, or lung cancer or Hodgkin’s lymphoma. This syndrome often presents with progression of neurological symptoms over weeks to months and results in severe disability including the loss of ability to walk, changes in speech, and eye movement abnormalities. More than 20 autoantibodies have been reported in association to autoimmune cerebellar ataxia. The term autoimmune cerebellar ataxia is used when is the underlying antibody is not associated to an underlying cancer, unlike paraneoplastic cerebellar ataxia.

What are the treatment options?

There are no randomized clinical trials in autoimmune or paraneoplastic cerebellar ataxia. Treatment strategies are based on expert opinion and case series. Cancer treatment for patients with paraneoplastic syndromes is critical and the first step in treatment. Immunotherapy maybe used in addition to oncological treatment or in the setting of autoimmune cerebellar ataxia immunotherapy alone is often used to help stabilize or improve neurological symptoms.

 

 

Reference: Rocky Mountain MS Center

 

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International Autoimmune Encephalitis Society is a charitable non-profit 501(c)(3) organization founded in 2016 by Tabitha Andrews Orth, Gene Desotell and Anji Hogan-Fesler. Tax ID# 81-3752344. Donations raised directly supports research, patients, families and caregivers impacted by autoimmune encephalitis and to educating healthcare communities around the world. Financial statement will be made available upon request.

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