September 2013

We Cannot Cure Ataxia, We Can Only Eradicate It

Author Affiliations
  • 1Ataxia Center, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis

Copyright 2013 American Medical Association. All Rights Reserved. Applicable FARS/DFARS Restrictions Apply to Government Use.

JAMA Neurol. 2013;70(9):1099. doi:10.1001/jamaneurol.2013.3026

The hereditary ataxias are a group of neurodegenerative progressive disorders for which there is currently no effective treatment. Since the discovery of the spinocerebellar ataxia type 1 gene,1 there has been an explosion of gene discoveries and we are now at spinocerebellar ataxia type 36. Considerable effort and funds have been expended not only to discover new genes but also to explore the molecular mechanisms of ataxia with the hope of ultimately finding an effective treatment. However, finding a cure or even a marginally effective symptomatic treatment has been elusive despite 20 years of extensive research and billions of dollars of funding by both the National Institutes of Health and nongovernmental foundations.

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