Jürgen Konczak, Ph.D., professor of kinesiology and director of the Human Sensorimotor Control Laboratory, is coauthor of a systematic review in the journal Neurology on the frequency of ataxia in children. The review found that the worldwide prevalence of pediatric ataxia is higher than previously assumed. Childhood ataxia in Europe was estimated to be ~26/100, 000 children, and likely reflects a minimum prevalence worldwide.
Ataxia refers to uncoordinated movement due to a muscle control problem that causes an inability to coordinate movements. It leads to a jerky, unsteady, to-and-fro motion of the middle of the body (trunk) and an unsteady gait (walking style). It can also affect the limbs. People with ataxia have problems with coordination because parts of the nervous system that control movement and balance are affected. Ataxia may affect the fingers, hands, arms, legs, body, speech, and eye movements.
The research originated from Dr. Konczak’s participation in the NIH Taskforce on Childhood Motor Disorders. Colleagues from Johns Hopkins University, the University of Ontario, and the University of Iowa contributed to the work.
The full citation is as follows:
NEUROLOGY MS ID#: NEUROLOGY/2013/521955 MS TITLE: Prevalence of Ataxia in Children: A Systematic Review
Kristin Musselman, Cristina Stoyanov, Rhul Marasigan, Mary Jenkins, Juergen Konczak, Susanne Morton, and Amy Bastian