Ataxic Cerebral Palsy

Ataxic cerebral palsy (CP) is the least common form of cerebral palsy affecting 5-10 percent of those with CP. Ataxic cerebral palsy is caused by damage to the base of the brain called the cerebellum. The cerebellum is the control center for balance and coordination. Ataxic CP frequently affects all four limbs and the trunk. Furthermore, ataxic cerebral palsy is characterized by poor or low muscle tone, also known as hypotonic.

In addition to poor balance and coordination individuals affected by ataxic cerebral palsy may experience tremors. These tremors, often called intention tremors may become more pronounced when the individual attempts quick or precise voluntary movements, such as writing.

Although there is no cure for these tremors, treatments exist that can reduce there severity. For short term use, drugs such as primidone and benzodiazepine may be successful in alleviating ataxic CP symptoms. In addition, botox, has also been found to be effective in treating head, hand, and voice tremors.

Recently a technique known as cooling has shown some promise in temporally treating intention tremor in ataxic cerebral palsy. In this treatment, cooling of the forearm is achieved by wrapping the forearm, in a cryomanchet using a circulating fluid. After treatment, the intention tremors were reduced for approximately ½ hour.

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