News

Problems in sensory processing with FA evident on MRI scans

MRI imaging indicates that Friedreich’s ataxia (FA) patients have impairments in proprioception — sensory processing related to body movement and location — relative to healthy adults, but these changes do not contribute to overall disease severity, according to recent research. Brain responses to tactile stimulation (light touch) were similar…

Phase 2 trial to test DMF as Friedreich’s ataxia treatment

Researchers are conducting a Phase 2 clinical trial to evaluate the safety, efficacy, and molecular effects of dimethyl fumarate (DMF), an approved treatment for multiple sclerosis (MS) and psoriasis, in people with Friedreich’s ataxia (FA). Based on both preclinical research and clinical studies in MS patients, it…

Promoting butyrate in the gut may prevent diabetes, study shows

Supplementation with butyrate, a short-chain fatty acid produced in the gut by good bacteria, reversed many diabetes-like metabolic defects found in fat tissue from a mouse model of Friedreich’s ataxia, a study reported. In addition to its effects on metabolism, butyrate lowered signs of ongoing inflammation observed in FA…

International Ataxia Awareness Day hopes to spur conversations

Sparking conversations about ataxia — a group of disorders that include Friedreich’s ataxia believed to affect 26 of every 100,000 children globally — will be the chief aim of this year’s annual International Ataxia Awareness Day (IAAD), set for Sept. 25. The 23-year-old event is organized by the…

New mouse model better mimics FA features in humans: Study

Researchers have developed a new mouse model of Friedreich’s ataxia (FA) that captures coordination and muscle strength impairment seen in patients, a study reports. The model was created by worsening symptoms of a standard mouse model by further suppressing production of the frataxin protein, which is deficient in FA…

Interferon gamma helps protect cells from damage in disease model

Treatment with interferon gamma (IFN-gamma), an immune signaling molecule, helped to protect against damage in a cellular model of Friedreich’s ataxia (FA), a study reports. Although IFN-gamma failed to show clear benefits in clinical trials, these new findings “could help in the design of better therapeutic schedules and shed…