What is it?

Primary cerebellar degeneration refers to deterioration of neurons in the cerebellum, which is a part of the brain that controls coordination and balance. Primary cerebellar degeneration is caused by inherited conditions, such as Friedreich ataxia and spinocerebellar ataxia (a group of conditions characterized by degenerative changes of the cerebellum, brain stem, and spinal cord).

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Signs & symptoms

Symptoms of cerebellar degeneration include wide base, uncoordinated walk, back and forth tremor in the trunk of the body, uncoordinated movements of the arms and the leg, slurred speech, and nystagmus.


Diagnosis is suspected when there are concerning signs and symptoms that indicate cerebellar injury (poorly gait, hand-finger movements). It is diagnosed on a physical examination and medical history. The diagnosis may be completed by genetic testing, MRI and CT scans of the brain and spinal cord.


There is no cure for primary cerebellar degeneration, treatment is mostly supportive and focuses on relieving the symptoms. Gait abnormalities are treated with special medication. Physical therapy is recommended to strengthen the muscles.

☝️ This is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult with your physician before making any medical decision.

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