Sensory ataxia is distinguished from cerebellar ataxia by the presence of near-normal coordination when the movement in question is visually observed by the patient, but marked worsening of coordination when the eyes are closed.
Sensory ataxia also lacks the associated features of cerebellar ataxia such as pendular tendon
reflexes, scanning dysarthria, nystagmusand broken pursuit eye movements.
Patients with sensory ataxia often demonstrate
pseudoathetosisand Romberg's sign. They usually complain of loss of balance in the dark, typically when closing their eyes in the shower or removing clothing over the head.
Sensory ataxia is present in sensory peripheral neuropathies and conditions causing dysfunction of the
dorsal columnsof the spinal cordsuch as tabes dorsalis.
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