The cerebellum is critical for the coordination of movements and thought processes. Indeed, patient suffering from spinocerebellar ataxias including ARSACS commonly display psychiatric and cognitive symptoms. These cognitive and neuropsychiatric symptoms are often more debilitating than neurological symptoms and therefore deserve increased attention. 

This researchexamines the time course of cognitive and motor dysfunction in the Sacs KO mouse model of ARSACS. The proposal is predicated on preliminary findings that short-term memory deficits precede motor deficits by at least three months. We will also explore whether small-molecule drugs currently in development for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease rescue cognitive deficits in Sacs KO mice. Together with drugs that halt or delay degeneration of the cerebellum, we hope that these “cognitive enhancers” will improve quality of life of families afflicted with ARSACS and similar disorders.


Grant: $100,000

Duration: one year


Dr. Stefan Strack, Department Neurosciences @Pharmacology

University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine

2-452 BSB, 51 Newton Rd. Iowa City, IA 52242