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Scientific News

FARA funds research progress

In this section, you will find the most recent FA research publications, many of which are funded by FARA, as well as information on upcoming conferences and symposiums. You can search for articles by date using the archive box in the right hand column. To locate FARA Funded or Supported Research, click the hyperlink in the right hand column. You may also search for specific content using key words or phrases in the search button at the top right of your screen. Please be sure to visit other key research sections of our website for information on FARA’s Grant Program and the Treatment Pipeline.


Friedreich's Ataxia Causes Redistribution of Iron, Copper, and Zinc in the Dentate Nucleus

Friedreich's ataxia (FRDA) causes selective atrophy of the large neurons of the dentate nucleus (DN). High iron (Fe) concentration and failure to clear the metal from the affected brain tissue are potential risk factors in the progression of the lesion. The DN also contains relatively high amounts of copper (Cu) and zinc (Zn), but the importance of these metals in FRDA has not been established.

Read More: Friedreich's Ataxia Causes Redistribution of Iron, Copper, and Zinc in the Dentate Nucleus

Spinal Cord Atrophy Correlates with Disability in Friedreich's Ataxia

Although Friedreich's ataxia is characterized by spinal cord atrophy, it remains to be investigated the possible correlation of such atrophy with clinical disability and genetic parameters. Thirty-three patients with Friedreich's ataxia and 30 healthy controls underwent MRI on a 3 T scanner. We used T1-weighted 3D images to estimate spinal cord area and eccentricity at C2/C3 level based on a semi-automatic image segmentation protocol.

Read More: Spinal Cord Atrophy Correlates with Disability in Friedreich's Ataxia

Human adipose stem cell-conditioned medium increases survival of Friedreich's ataxia cells submitted to oxidative stress

Friedreich's ataxia (FA) is a multisystemic disorder characterized by progressive gait, ataxia, and cardiomyopathy. There are few treatments for this disease; thus, we analyzed in vitro the possible beneficial effect of adult stem cells in FA. To this end, human adipose stem cells from healthy individuals and periodontal ligament cells from FA patients were isolated and cultured.

Read More: Human adipose stem cell-conditioned medium increases survival of Friedreich's ataxia cells submitted to oxidative stress

Decreased functional brain activation in Friedreich ataxia using the Simon effect task

The present study applied the Simon effect task to examine the pattern of functional brain reorganization in individuals with Friedreich ataxia (FRDA), using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). Thirteen individuals with FRDA and 14 age and sex matched controls participated, and were required to respond to either congruent or incongruent arrow stimuli, presented either to the left or right of a screen, via laterally-located button press responses.

Read More: Decreased functional brain activation in Friedreich ataxia using the Simon effect task

Scoliosis in patients with Friedreich's ataxia

We reviewed 31 consecutive patients with Friedreich’s ataxia and scoliosis. There were 24 males and seven females with a mean age at presentation of 15.5 years (8.6 to 30.8) and a mean curve of 51° (13° to 140°). A total of 12 patients had thoracic curvatures, 11 had thoracolumbar and eight had double thoracic/lumbar. Two patients had long thoracolumbar collapsing scoliosis with pelvic obliquity and four had hyperkyphosis. Left-sided thoracic curves in nine patients (45%) and increased thoracic kyphosis differentiated these deformities from adolescent idiopathic scoliosis.

Read More: Scoliosis in patients with Friedreich's ataxia

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