ARSACS (SACSIN) Autosomal recessive spastic ataxia of Charlevoix-Saguenay, more commonly known as ARSACS, is a condition affecting muscle movement. People with ARSACS typically have abnormal tensing of the muscles (spasticity), difficulty coordinating movements (ataxia), muscle wasting (amyotrophy), involuntary eye movements (nystagmus), and speech difficulties (dysarthria). Other problems may include deformities of the fingers and feet, reduced sensation and weakness in the arms and legs (peripheral neuropathy), yellow streaks of fatty tissue in the light-sensitive tissue at the back of the eye (hypermyelination of the retina), and less commonly, leaks in one of the valves that control blood flow through the heart (mitral valve prolapse). An unsteady gait is the first symptom of ARSACS. It usually appears between the age of 12 months and 18 months, as toddlers are learning to walk. The signs and symptoms worsen over the years, with increased spasticity and ataxia of the arms and legs. In some cases spasticity disappears, but this apparent improvement is thought to be due to degeneration of nerves in the arms and legs. Most affected individuals require a wheelchair by the time they are in their thirties or forties.

This condition was first seen in people of the Charlevoix-Saguenay region of Quebec, Canada. The majority of people with ARSACS live in Quebec or have recent ancestors from Quebec. People with ARSACS have also been identified in Japan, Turkey, Tunisia, Spain, Italy, and Belgium. The signs and symptoms of ARSACS seen in other countries differ from those in Quebec. In people with ARSACS outside of Quebec, hypermyelination of the retina is seen less often, intelligence may be below normal, and symptoms tend to appear at a later age.

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Fondation de l'Ataxie Charlevoix-Saguenay
News and Updates
News and Updates SACSIN Gene Database
Posted on 2007-07-30 12:12:29
The purpose of this website is to create a new database for the SACSIN
Gene mostly reported in the province of Quebec, Canada.


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