Swindon and Wiltshire Neurological Alliance

Helping improve the lives of those affected by neurological conditions in Swindon & Wiltshire



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What is Ataxia

Ataxia means ‘lack of order' and is the name given to a group of neurological conditions affecting balance, speech, and coordination.

There are many different types of ataxia and it can affect people of any age.

Symptoms of Axtaxia
Ataxia affects the brain, causing problems with balance and coordination. The first symptoms are often feeling ‘wobbly', stumbling, or dropping things. Over time the condition usually gets worse.

Most people with ataxia experience dysarthria, or slurred speech, and in some forms people also experience vision problems, difficulties with hearing, and complications such as diabetes or scoliosis.

Ataxia is usually inherited and can be caused by many different genes. In some cases the gene is faulty, causing low levels of vital proteins, leading to neurological damage. Many forms of ataxia can now be diagnosed by genetic testing.

Ataxia can also be caused by exposure to toxins such as medication or alcohol, and it can be a side-effect of a stroke, MS, or even a brain tumour.

In some cases ataxia can be caused by a virus and the symptoms will go away again. For many people no cause is found; this is called ‘idiopathic ataxia'.

There is no cure for ataxia but a range of treatments may help to ease the symptoms, including physiotherapy, speech therapy, and in some types of ataxia, taking supplements.

Promising new research is underway for several types of ataxia, which may produce new drugs that can treat and slow down ataxia.

Incidence and Prevalence
Over 10,000 adults and an estimated 5,000 children have ataxia in the UK .


Impact on Health & Social Care
Ataxia can have a devastating effect on individuals, slowly taking away their ability to get about, communicate, and even see and hear. As there are many different types the severity of symptoms does vary from person to person, but in most cases it is a serious life-limiting condition that gets worse over time.




Name of Group


Ataxia UK Wiltshire Support Group

Short description


Our support group is for everybody affected by ataxia. We have social events and meet regularly so that people can share their concerns, make new friends and have some fun in the process!

Web Address



Contact Details


Christine & Barry Ellis

01672 512918

Name of Group


Ataxia UK


Web Address




Contact Details


0845 644 0606

Name of Group


A-T Society


Web Address




Contact Details


01582 760733


People with ataxia are recommended to see a neurologist regularly and Ataxia UK has to date established three specialist Ataxia Centres in London, Sheffield and Oxford, with more in the future.

People with ataxia may also benefit from referral to a speech therapist, physiotherapist or OT, counsellor, cardiologist, or ophthalmologist.

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