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Keywords:

  • spinocerebellar ataxia;
  • spasticity;
  • neuropathy;
  • French-Canadian;
  • ARSACS

ABSTRACT

Background

Autosomal recessive spastic ataxia of Charlevoix-Saguenay (ARSACS) is an increasingly recognized form of spastic ataxia worldwide, but early diagnosis remains a challenge.

Methods

We reviewed the initial presentation (n = 40) and early clinical evolution (n = 50) of a large ARSACS cohort that was followed at the Saguenay Neuromuscular clinic.

Results

The average age at presentation was 3.41 ± 1.55 years. Increased deep tendon reflexes were more common than spasticity initially, and the neuropathy only became apparent clinically in the second decade. Despite a homogeneous genetic background, some patients showed no signs of neuropathy or spasticity by the age of 18 years.

Conclusions

At presentation, ARSACS lacks certain features that are considered typical in adults after years of evolution. Considering that ARSACS is probably under-diagnosed, it should be included in the differential diagnosis of early onset ataxias with or without pyramidal features and is worthwhile to consider in older patients, even when some features are absent. © 2013 International Parkinson and Movement Disorder Society