Machado-Joseph Disease and other Rare Spinocerebellar Ataxias.
Advances in experimental medicine and biology, January 2012
The spinocerebellar ataxias (SCAs) are a group of neurodegenerative diseases characterised by progressive lack of motor coordination leading to major disability. SCAs show high clinical, genetic, molecular and epidemiological variability. In the last one decade, the intensive scientific research devoted to the SCAs is resulting in clear advances and a better understanding on the genetic and nongenetic factors contributing to their pathogenesis which are facilitating the diagnosis, prognosis and development of new therapies. The scope of this chapter is to provide an updated information on Machado-Joseph disease (MJD), the most frequent SCA subtype worldwide and other rare spinocerebellar ataxias including dentatorubral-pallidoluysian atrophy (DRPLA), the X-linked fragile X tremor and ataxia syndrome (FXTAS) and the nonprogressive episodic forms of inherited ataxias (EAs). Furthermore, the different therapeutic strategies that are currently being investigated to treat the ataxia and non-ataxia symptoms in SCAs are also described.
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