Ataxia Centre 

The Ataxia Centre offers high-quality treatment, care and support to patients with, or suspected of having, any form of ataxia, particularly those of genetic origin. Prof Paola Giunti has established close links with specialist therapy services (physiotherapy, occupational therapy, speech and language therapy, orthotics) and amongst the services we offer is a Multidisciplinary Ataxia Clinic with a consultant neurologist and therapists present. The Ataxia Centre already has established links with clinicians with an expertise in the management of the complications of ataxia (listed below). This provides clear and efficient referral pathways. Two clinics are currently offered; a consultant-led general ataxia clinic (PG203/4) for the investigation, monitoring of ataxia and genetic counselling, and a multidisciplinary clinic (PG201) for the assessment and holistic management of patients with ongoing therapy requirements.

  • Clinics

    Two clinics are currently offered; a consultant-led general ataxia clinic (PG203/4) for the investigation, monitoring of ataxia and genetic counselling, and a multidisciplinary clinic (PG201) for the assessment and holistic management of patients with ongoing therapy requirements.

    The Multidisciplinary Ataxia Clinic comprises a lead clinician in Ataxia (Dr P. Giunti), an occupational therapist, physiotherapist and speech and language therapist with particular expertise in adult neurological rehabilitation. The clinic runs fortnightly and provides specialist assessment focussing on the functional impact of ataxia in relation to the individual’s everyday activities. The aim of the clinic is to provide a comprehensive assessment of each individual’s needs, offer specialist advice and optimise access to community services in a timely manner. Individuals are referred locally if appropriate or followed-up for therapy needs at the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery. In a formal survey conducted by Ataxia UK (over the period April 2006 – January 2007), 93% of patients reported satisfaction with the service they had received from the Therapy Interdisciplinary Ataxia Clinic.

    We also have very close links with the Neurogenetics Unit which provides a regional genetics service for inherited neurological diseases and a national and international diagnostic service for rare neurogenetic disorders. The Unit has Clinical Pathology Accreditation (CPA) and is a member of the UK Genetic Testing Network. The staff have many years’ experience in the analysis and interpretation of molecular genetic results. This link with the Ataxia Centre allows the development of new genetic tests.

  • Conditions treated

    • All forms of ataxia, particularly genetic and progressive degenerative causes, including:
    • Spinocerebellar ataxias (SCAs)
    • Friedreich’s ataxia (FRDA)
    • Autosomal recessive spastic ataxia of Charlevoix-Saguenay (ARSACS)
    • Ataxia with oculomotor apraxia (AOA)
    • Ataxia telangiectasia (ATM)
    • Dentatorubropallidoluysian atrophy (DRPLA)
    • Multiple system atrophy (MSA-C)
    • Idiopathic ataxia (including idiopathic late-onset cerebellar ataxia, ILOCA)
    • Autosomal dominant cerebellar ataxia (ADCA) and autosomal recessive cerebellar ataxia (ARCA)
    • Paraneoplastic ataxias
    • Autoimmune ataxias (including GAD-related ataxia)
    • Coeliac ataxia
    • Ataxia with vitamin E deficiency (AVED)
    • Ataxia with co-enzyme Q10 deficiency (ACoQ10D)
    • Ataxia related to hereditary spastic paraparesis (HSP)
    • Ataxia related to mitochondrial disorders
    • Ataxia related to metabolic disorders
  • Research

    The NHNN Ataxia Centre participates in many of the principal international clinical and basic science research consortia on ataxia, including the European Integrated Project on Spinocerebellar Ataxia (EUROSCA), the European Friedreich’s Ataxia Consortium for Translational Studies (EFACTS), as well as the 100,000 Genomes project of Genomics England and some of the most significant interventional (drug/therapy) trials in ataxia. We are therefore able to offer participation in research and up-to-date information on the current state of research in the various forms of ataxia.

    The Ataxia Centre has very strong links with Ataxia UK, the principal charity and support organization representing patients affected with ataxia in the UK. Representatives of the charity attend clinics within the Centre and can give patients practical and emotional support.

  • Service performance

    There were more than 800 patient visits within the Ataxia Centre last year. We are one of only three specialist Ataxia Centres in the UK accredited by Ataxia UK. To achieve accreditation, centres have to comply with criteria devised following consultation with patients with ataxia and clinicians with an expertise in ataxia, to provide ‘excellence of care for the diagnosis and management of the ataxias, and access to a wide range of integrated services, as well as links to research programmes’. NHNN has recently been awarded centre of expertise status as part of the European Commission’s European Reference Network for Rare Neurological Diseases (ERN-RND). Dr Paola Giunti is the UK representative on the Board of the Network

Prof Paola Giunti
Consultant

 Contact details

Ataxia Centre
National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery
Queen Square London, WC1N 3BG

General enquiries
Telephone: 020 3448 3100 or 020 3448 3141

GP enquiries
Telephone: 020 3448 4777 (Patient Referrals)
Fax: 020 3448 4723
Email: Kelly.Uckac@uclh.nhs.uk

Service manager - Leigh Palmer
Email: leigh.palmer@uclh.nhs.uk