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Management of the ataxias : towards best clinical practice

Bates, Claire and Baxter, Peter and Bonney, Harriet and Bremner, Fion and Bunn, Lisa and Carrillo Perez-Tome, Maria and Chung, Mark and Cipolotti, Lisa and de Silva, Rajith and Duberley, Kate and Ealing, John and Emmanuel, Anton and Giunti, Paola and Greenfield, Julie and Hadjivassilliou, Marios and Harshavardhana, N.S. and Hayward, Kate and Hendriksz, Christian and Hersheson, Joshua and Horvath, Rita and Hurford, Joanne and Jaffer, Fatima and Kilbride, Cherry and Lowit, Anja and Marsden, Jonathan and Nemeth, Andrea and Noordeen, M H Hilali and Panicker, Jalesh and Pantazis, Antonios and Parkinson, Michael H and Redmond, Liz and Uus, Kai (2016) Management of the ataxias : towards best clinical practice. Ataxia UK, London.

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    This document aims to provide recommendations for healthcare professionals on the diagnosis and management of people with progressive ataxia. The progressive ataxias are rare neurological conditions, and are often poorly understood by healthcare professionals. Diagnosis has generally been a long process because of the rarity and complexity of the different ataxias1. In addition, many healthcare professionals are unsure how best to manage the conditions and there is sometimes a feeling that little can be done for these patients1,2 Although there are no disease-modifying treatments for the majority of the progressive ataxias, there are many aspects of the conditions that are treatable and it is thus important that this is recognised by the relevant healthcare professionals. The diagnosis and management of the few treatable causes is also of paramount importance. All this highlights the importance of producing these guidelines: in order to increase awareness and understanding of these conditions, and lead to their improved diagnosis and management. With new developments in genetic technologies and the discovery of more genes, diagnosis is improving and has great scope to continue to do so. In addition, research is advancing and many human trials to test medications are taking place, making us more optimistic that disease-modifying treatments will be found for the progressive ataxias.