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Friedreich Ataxia: Multidisciplinary Clinical Care

Friedreich ataxia (FRDA) is a multisystem disorder affecting 1 in 50,000-100,000 person in the United States. Traditionally viewed as a neurodegenerative disease, FRDA patients also develop cardiomyopathy, scoliosis, diabetes and other manifestation. Although it usually presents in childhood, it continues throughout life, thus requiring expertise from both pediatric and adult subspecialist in order to provide optimal management. The phenotype of FRDA is unique, giving rise to specific loss of neuronal pathways, a unique form of cardiomyopathy with early hypertrophy and later fibrosis, and diabetes incorporating components of both type I and type II disease. Vision loss, hearing loss, urinary dysfunction and depression also occur in FRDA. Many agents are reaching Phase III trials; if successful, these will provide a variety of new treatments for FRDA that will require many specialists who are not familiar with FRDA to provide clinical therapy. This review provides a summary of the diverse manifestation of FRDA, existing symptomatic therapies, and approaches for integrative care for future therapy in FRDA.

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