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Ataxia with oculomotor apraxia type 2: an evolving axonal neuropathy
  1. Tahira N Choudry1,
  2. David Hilton-Jones1,
  3. Graham Lennox1,
  4. Henry Houlden2
  1. 1 Department of Neurology, John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford, UK
  2. 2 Reta Lila Weston Laboratories and Department of Molecular Neuroscience, UCL Institute of Neurology, London, UK
  1. Correspondence to Dr Tahira N Choudry, Department of Neurology, John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford, UK; tahira.choudry{at}


A 23-year-old woman had presented initially to a podiatrist complaining of poorly fitting shoes during her adolescence. After extensive neurological review, she was diagnosed with ataxia with oculomotor apraxia type 2. This is a progressive autosomal recessive ataxia associated with cerebellar atrophy, peripheral neuropathy and an elevated serum α-fetoprotein. Within Europe, it is the most frequent autosomal recessive ataxia after Friedreich’s ataxia and is due to mutations in the senataxin (SETX) gene. The age of onset is approximately 15 years.

The diagnosis of oculomotor apraxia type 2 is often challenging. We provide a framework for assessing a young ataxic patient with or without oculomotor apraxia and review clues that will aid diagnosis. The prognosis, level of disability, cancer and immunosuppression risk all markedly differ between the conditions. Patients and their families need the correct diagnosis for genetic counselling, management and long-term surveillance with appropriate subspecialty services.

  • neuropathy
  • oculomotor apraxia
  • ataxia
  • cerebellar
  • movement disorders

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  • Contributors TNC wrote the first drafts of the manuscript and revised for initial submission for publication, including amendments. DH-J was lead clinician for the patient, both reviewing and revising the manuscript. GL was lead clinician for the patient and reviewed the manuscript. HH supervised and reviewed the manuscript.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Patient consent Obtained.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed. This paper was reviewed by Bart van de Warrenburg, Nijmegen, The Netherlands.

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