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J Neurol Sci. 2008 Dec 15;275(1-2):60-3. doi: 10.1016/j.jns.2008.07.015. Epub 2008 Aug 27.

Autonomic nervous system abnormalities in spinocerebellar ataxia type 2: a cardiovascular neurophysiologic study.

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  • 1Department of Neurological Sciences, A.O.R.N. A. Cardarelli, via Cardarelli 9, 80131, Naples, Italy.


Autonomic nervous system dysfunction is part of the spinocerebellar ataxia (SCA) clinical picture, but few data are available on this topic. The present study is aimed to report a detailed investigation of autonomic nervous system in patients with molecular diagnosis of SCA type 2, one of the most frequent forms and the commonest in Italy. Nine patients with a mild to moderate form of SCA2 underwent a questionnaire about dysautonomic symptoms and a complete cardiovascular neurophysiologic evaluation of both sympathetic and parasympathetic system, comprising head-up tilt, standing, isometric hand grip, cold pressure, mental arithmetic, Valsalva manoeuvre, deep breathing, and hyperventilation tests. An echocardiographic study and Holter-ECG recording were also performed. All patients complained dysautonomic problems regarding urinary tract, cardiovascular system, or gastrointestinal dysfunction. The neurophysiologic study showed both sympathetic and parasympathetic involvement, with highly variable degree and pattern of dysautonomia. The present study results show that the autonomic dysfunction is common in SCA2 representing a significant component of the complex picture of the disease. We found a wide spectrum of cardiovascular autonomic abnormalities, without a typical pattern of dysfunction and without correlation with clinical variables.

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