Ataxia means without coordination notably involving the spine and legs. People with ataxia lose muscle control in their torso and legs causing a lack of balance and trouble walking. Ataxia may affect speech and even eye movements.
Ataxia is a symptom with many potential causes. If it comes on suddenly it is an urgent medical issue possibly indicating an infection involving the brain, severe heavy metal toxicity or carbon monoxide poisoning, autoimmunity to the cerebellum or stroke to name a few. About one third of chronic ataxia patients have a genetic cause, 25% have a gluten related disorder, about 20% are sporadic, 12% are due to alcohol and around 11% are due to a type of Parkinsonism referred to as MSA type C.
Because gluten is a prominent cause of Ataxia and is easily modifiable, we feel that most Ataxia patients need to know about this.
Gluten ataxia is the most frequently reported neurological disturbance in celiac disease and other gluten-related disorders. Much lower levels of gliadin (one of the main proteins in gluten) antibodies were actually associated with gluten ataxia based on MRI’s in recent studies. When patients are put on gluten-free diets, the inflammation in the brain goes away and their ataxia improves.Other studies show that gliadin antibodies actually attack the purkinje cells and other areas of the cerebellum, the spinal cord and other areas of the brain in ataxia patients.
At Gates Brain Health, we use Gliadin antibody tests as well as other specialty tests such as volumetric MRI’s that can also aid in the diagnosis of gluten ataxia. If you are suffering from ataxia, please give us a call today for your free consultation.