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  • Print publication year: 2012
  • Online publication date: August 2012

Chapter 3 - Cerebellar ataxia

from Section 1 - Clinical manifestations


Ataxia is the most important sign of cerebellar disease, but there are other potential causes of ataxia. Postural and limb tremor are additional signs of cerebellar disease. Patients with cerebellar disorders may walk with a wide-based, staggering gait, making it seem as if they were intoxicated by alcohol. Frontal lobe disorders might cause cerebellar-like symptoms with walking difficulties and clumsiness. Frontal lobe lesions are commonly associated with impairment of cognitive function and changes in personality, and often cause urinary incontinence. Lesions of the cerebellar hemisphere are followed by ipsilateral limb ataxia including hypotonia in acute lesions, and if the dentate nucleus is involved, kinetic tremor. Vascular lesions of the cerebellum itself and of the corticopontocerebellar and dentatothalamic pathways might result in ataxia. Limb ataxia and ataxia of gait are common in superior cerebellar artery (SCA), the posterior inferior cerebellar artery (PICA), and the anterior inferior cerebellar artery (AICA) territory infarctions.

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