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    Ataxia, Friedreich's

    Important
    It is possible that the main title of the report Ataxia, Friedreich's is not the name you expected. Please check the synonyms listing to find the alternate name(s) and disorder subdivision(s) covered by this report.

    Synonyms

    • Friedreich's Disease
    • Friedreich's Tabes
    • Hereditary Ataxia, Friedrich's Type
    • Spinal Ataxia, Hereditofamilial
    • FRDA

    Disorder Subdivisions

    • None

    General Discussion

    Friedreich's Ataxia is a genetic, progressive, neurologic movement disorder that typically becomes apparent before adolescence. Initial symptoms may include unsteady posture, frequent falling, and progressive difficulties walking due to an impaired ability to coordinate voluntary movements (ataxia). Affected individuals may also develop abnormalities of certain reflexes; characteristic foot deformities; increasing incoordination of the arms and hands; slurred speech (dysarthria); and rapid, involuntary eye movements (nystagmus). Friedreich's Ataxia may also be associated with cardiomyopathy, a disease of cardiac muscle that may be characterized by shortness of breath upon exertion (dyspnea), chest pain, and irregularities in heart rhythm (cardiac arrythmias). Some affected individuals may also develop diabetes mellitus, a condition in which there is insufficient secretion of the hormone insulin. Primary symptoms may include abnormally increased thirst and urination (polydipsia and polyuria), weight loss, lack of appetite, fatigue, and blurred vision.

    Friedreich's Ataxia may be inherited as an autosomal recessive trait. Cases in which a family history of the disease has not been found may represent new genetic changes (mutations) that occur spontaneously (sporadically). Friedreich's Ataxia results from mutations of a gene known as "X25" or "frataxin" located on the long arm (q) of chromosome 9 (9q13). In most affected individuals, the frataxin gene contains errors in the coded "building blocks" (nucleotide bases) that make up the gene's instructions. The symptoms and findings associated with Friedreich's Ataxia are thought to result primarily from degenerative changes of nerve fibers of the spinal cord as well as peripheral nerves, which are the motor and sensory nerves and groups of nerve cell bodies (ganglia) outside the brain and spinal cord.

    Resources

    March of Dimes Birth Defects Foundation
    1275 Mamaroneck Avenue
    White Plains, NY 10605
    Tel: (914)997-4488
    Fax: (914)997-4763
    Tel: (888)663-4637
    Email: Askus@marchofdimes.com
    Internet: http://www.marchofdimes.com

    National Ataxia Foundation
    2600 Fernbrook Lane Suite 119
    Minneapolis, MN 55447
    USA
    Tel: (763)553-0020
    Fax: (763)553-0167
    Email: naf@ataxia.org
    Internet: http://www.ataxia.org

    National Scoliosis Foundation
    5 Cabot Place
    Stoughton, MA 02072
    Tel: (781)341-8333
    Fax: (781)341-8333
    Tel: (800)673-6922
    Email: nsf@scoliosis.org
    Internet: http://www.scoliosis.org

    American Diabetes Association
    1701 N. Beauregard Street
    Alexandria, VA 22311
    Tel: (703)549-1500
    Fax: (703)549-6995
    Tel: (800)342-2383
    Email: askADA@diabetes.org
    Internet: http://www.diabetes.org

    Muscular Dystrophy Association
    3300 East Sunrise Drive
    Tucson, AZ 85718-3208
    USA
    Tel: (520)529-2000
    Fax: (520)529-5300
    Tel: (800)572-1717
    Email: mda@mdausa.org
    Internet: http://www.mda.org/

    NIH/National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
    P.O. Box 5801
    Bethesda, MD 20824
    Tel: (301)496-5751
    Fax: (301)402-2186
    Tel: (800)352-9424
    TDD: (301)468-5981
    Internet: http://www.ninds.nih.gov/

    Canadian Association for Familial Ataxias - Claude St-Jean Foundation
    3800 Radisson Street Office 110
    Montreal
    Quebec, H1M 1X6
    Canada
    Tel: 5143218684
    Tel: 8553218684
    Email: ataxie@lacaf.org
    Internet: http://www.lacaf.org

    Friedreich's Ataxia Research Alliance
    533 W. Uwchlan Ave.
    Downingtown, VA 19335
    USA
    Tel: (484)879-6160
    Fax: (484)872-1402
    Email: info@cureFA.org
    Internet: http://www.curefa.org

    Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation
    636 Morris Turnpike, Suite 3A
    Short Hills, NJ 07078
    USA
    Tel: (973)379-2690
    Fax: (973)912-9433
    Tel: (800)225-0292
    Email: prc@ChristopherReeve.org
    Internet: http://www.christopherreeve.org

    Genetic and Rare Diseases (GARD) Information Center
    PO Box 8126
    Gaithersburg, MD 20898-8126
    Tel: (301)251-4925
    Fax: (301)251-4911
    Tel: (888)205-2311
    TDD: (888)205-3223
    Internet: http://rarediseases.info.nih.gov/GARD/

    Madisons Foundation
    PO Box 241956
    Los Angeles, CA 90024
    Tel: (310)264-0826
    Fax: (310)264-4766
    Email: getinfo@madisonsfoundation.org
    Internet: http://www.madisonsfoundation.org

    Let Them Hear Foundation
    1900 University Avenue, Suite 101
    East Palo Alto, CA 94303
    Tel: (650)462-3174
    Fax: (650)462-3144
    Email: info@letthemhear.org
    Internet: http://www.letthemhear.org

    Child Neurology Foundation
    201 Chicago Ave, #200
    Minneapolis, MN 55415
    USA
    Tel: (952)641-6100
    Fax: (952)881-6276
    Tel: (877)263-5430
    Email: jstone@childneurologyfoundation.org
    Internet: http://www.childneurologyfoundation.org

    Movement Disorder Society
    555 E. Wells Street
    Suite 1100
    Milwaukee, WI 53202-3823
    Tel: (414)276-2145
    Fax: (414)276-3349
    Email: info@movementdisorders.org
    Internet: http://www.movementdisorders.org

    For a Complete Report:

    This is an abstract of a report from the National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD). A copy of the complete report can be downloaded free from the NORD website for registered users. The complete report contains additional information including symptoms, causes, affected population, related disorders, standard and investigational therapies (if available), and references from medical literature. For a full-text version of this topic, go to www.rarediseases.org and click on Rare Disease Database under "Rare Disease Information".

    The information provided in this report is not intended for diagnostic purposes. It is provided for informational purposes only. NORD recommends that affected individuals seek the advice or counsel of their own personal physicians.

    It is possible that the title of this topic is not the name you selected. Please check the Synonyms listing to find the alternate name(s) and Disorder Subdivision(s) covered by this report

    This disease entry is based upon medical information available through the date at the end of the topic. Since NORD's resources are limited, it is not possible to keep every entry in the Rare Disease Database completely current and accurate. Please check with the agencies listed in the Resources section for the most current information about this disorder.

    For additional information and assistance about rare disorders, please contact the National Organization for Rare Disorders at P.O. Box 1968, Danbury, CT 06813-1968; phone (203) 744-0100; web site www.rarediseases.org or email orphan@rarediseases.org

    Last Updated: 8/12/2008
    Copyright 1984, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2003, 2007 National Organization for Rare Disorders, Inc.

    WebMD Medical Reference from the National Organization for Rare Disorders

    Last Updated: May 28, 2015
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

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