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Inherited Disorders and Birth Defects

Dementia and Friedreich`s Ataxia



I am a caregiver for a 33 year old man with Friedreich`s ataxia. He also has diabetes. What I was wondering is if his dementia is due to the Friedreich`s. I have worked with this gentleman for about 2 years and his short term memory has declined significantly since I fist met him. For example, he will ask for a drink of coffee and I tell him it`s all gone and about 3 to 5 minutes later he will ask again. It seems just to be short term that is affected; his long term memory is just fine. We have a doctor’s appointment in the next couple months and any information on this will help. Thank you.


While Friedreich's ataxia is usually not associated with dementia, motor and mental reaction times can be slowed. However that does not sound like what you are describing. The person you are caring for may have other problems that are not associated with his disease. I would recommend that you discuss your concerns with his doctor when he has his appointment.

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Response by:

Anne   Matthews, RN, PhD Anne Matthews, RN, PhD
Associate Professor of Genetics
School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University