Degenerative and acquired sporadic adult onset ataxia

Maria Lieto, Alessandro Roca, Filippo Maria Santorelli, Tommasina Fico, Giovanna De Michele, Marta Bellofatto, Francesco Saccà, Giuseppe De Michele, Alessandro Filla

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


The diagnosis of sporadic adult onset ataxia is a challenging task since a large collection of hereditary and non-hereditary disorders should be taken into consideration. Sporadic adult onset ataxias include degenerative non-hereditary, hereditary, and acquired ataxias. Multiple system atrophy and idiopathic late cerebellar ataxia are degenerative non-hereditary ataxias. Late-onset Friedreich’s ataxia, spinocerebellar ataxia type 6 and 2, and fragile X-associated tremor/ataxia syndrome account for most sporadic hereditary ataxias. Alcoholic cerebellar degeneration, paraneoplastic and other autoimmune cerebellar degeneration, vitamin deficiencies, and toxic-induced and infectious cerebellar syndrome are the main causes of acquired cerebellar degeneration. The diagnostic approach should include a history taking, disease progression, general and neurological examination, brain MRI, and laboratory and genetic tests. Novel opportunities in massive gene sequencing will increase the likelihood to define true etiologies.

Original languageEnglish
JournalNeurological Sciences
Publication statusAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2019


  • Multiple system atrophy
  • Paraneoplastic
  • Sporadic ataxias
  • Toxic
  • Vitamin deficiency

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Dermatology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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