Ataxia

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Our Ataxia Service was the UK’s first clinic for paediatric ataxia.

The clinic aims to provide the best possible outpatient care to children and their families, both in terms of diagnosis and treatment. We have a full range of diagnostic facilities including advanced neuro-imaging.

Sheffield Children’s Hospital is also one of the national centres for genetic testing of ataxias.

Expert care

The service is provided by a Paediatric Neurologist Dr Peter Baxter, together with Professor Marios Hadjivassiliou, an Adult Neurologist who runs one of three adult ataxia centres in the UK.

They are supported by senior nursing colleagues who provide specialist expertise.

Both Professor Hadjivassiliou and Dr Baxter are members of the Medical Committee of Ataxia UK, the national charity for people with ataxia. Dr Baxter is the only paediatric representative on the Committee.

Both have contributed to the national guidelines for diagnosis and management of ataxia, which are regularly updated by Ataxia UK.

Research

Dr Baxter has recently completed an epidemiological surveillance study of the prevalence of chronic ataxia in children in the UK, funded by Ataxia UK. The results are currently being analysed and presented at specialist meetings.

In addition Dr Baxter convenes the European interest group in childhood ataxia – soon to be renamed the ‘Paediatric Ataxia and Cerebellar Disorders Association’ (PACDA) – which brings together researchers from all over Europe.

The group is currently working on validating an ataxia scale for children, since there is none currently available, and on a European database for chronic ataxia in children.

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