Friedreich ataxia (FRDA)

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Learn about the genetic neuromuscular disorder called Friedreich ataxia (FRDA).

Key points

  • FRDA is an inherited condition that causes slow, progressive loss of muscle coordination (ataxia), slurred speech (dysarthria), weakness and sensory loss. The rate of progression of FRDA varies from person to person.
  • Symptoms usually begin between ages five and 15, with most diagnoses made before age 25.
  • Many of the symptoms and accompanying complications can be treated to help individuals maintain optimal functioning for as long as possible.
  • FRDA is the most common form of inherited childhood-onset ataxia, occurring in about 1 in 40,000 people. In some regions or ethnic groups, this number might be a little higher or lower.
  • FRDA is caused by an alteration (mutation) in a gene called FXN. The FXN gene carries the instructions for making a protein called frataxin, which is necessary for the body to function properly.
Last updated: January 6th 2020