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Tremor, ataxia, and cerebellar disorders 

Tremor, ataxia, and cerebellar disorders
Chapter:
Tremor, ataxia, and cerebellar disorders
Author(s):

Nicholas Fletcher

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780198569381.003.0898
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date: 22 September 2018

Tremors are characterized by rhythmic oscillations of one or more body parts. Although typically seen in the upper limbs, almost any area may be involved, including the trunk, head, facial muscles, and legs. Sometimes, tremor is not visible at all but may be heard or palpated, for example, in vocal or orthostatic tremor, respectively. In neurological practice, the diagnosis and treatment of tremor is an everyday problem. A common scenario is the distinction between essential tremor and Parkinson’s disease. In this chapter, the wide range of tremors are discussed, with their aetiolology, pathophysiology, diagnosis and management described.

Ataxia is a term used to describe a wide range of neurological disorders affecting muscle coordination, speech and balance that reflect dysfunction of a part of the central nervous system involved in motor function. Many of ataxias have a cerebellar pathology as root cause, although it must be remembered that ataxia, clumsiness, disordered ocular motility, dysarthria, and even kinetic or intention tremor are not always caused by cerebellar disease. This chapter describes the wide range of cerebellar disorders and ataxias, as are non-cerebellar ataxias such as Friedreich’s ataxia.

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