My brother was diagnosed with Ataxia at age 50. Five years later, he is ready for a wheelchair and slurs his speech so badly that we often can't understand him.
I anyone familiar with this disease? I never heard of it before.
Do a google search for ataxia. There is tons of information that will be helpful to you. It seems as if there might be all sorts of different reasons for it, such as genetics, injuries or exposure to certain toxins. Plus a lot of other things.
Basically, it is a term that means that the legs/balance and other things just don't seem to be working right and it seems to indicate a problem in the brain or spinal cord.
Ataxia is just a symptom, it's not a disease. Something is causing the ataxia.
The slurred speach and ataxia sounds like a stroke and/or embolism to me. Ataxia can be caused by something dinking the spinal cord. If that something is a thromboembolism and the underlying disease was never treated, it is entirely possible that another thromboembolism caused a stroke which led to the slurred speech. Does your brother have any cardiovascular disorders?
Ataxia is a disease and a symptom. There are several different types of ataxia. My brother has cerebellar ataxia. It is similar to MS and Parkinson's.
Ah yes, but usually people who are diagnosed with a particular form of ataxia (the disease) it is said "cerebeller ataxia" or "hereditary ataxia" or "sporadic ataxia" not just "ataxia." When just saying "ataxia" one is usually referring to the symptom. At least, that is how it was explained to me.
Anyway, here is the website for the National Ataxia Foundation. Hope it helps.
Here is a link that might be useful: National Ataxia Foundation