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Bob Allison Ataxia Research Center

Bob Allison

The Bob Allison Ataxia Research Center (BAARC) at the University of Minnesota supports award-winning clinicians and researchers searching for viable treatments for ataxia.

About Ataxia

What is Ataxia?

Ataxia is a brain disease of the cerebellum (along with its connections with other parts of the brain and spinal cord).

Ataxia is the broad description of a perplexing, sometimes fatal, condition that robs its victims of their ability to coordinate movement, the critical work of the cerebellum. Walking, talking, holding objects, eye contact, even swallowing become monumental and, eventually, insurmountable tasks. Cerebellar disease does not produce ataxia by making muscles weak, but rather by destroying muscle coordination and by making it difficult, and eventually impossible, to move any part of the body accurately.

Ataxia affects at least 150,000 Americans—three times the number of individuals affected by Lou Gehrig’s disease (ALS).

Who is at risk?

There is currently no prevention or cure for the most prevalent forms of ataxia. There are several different types of ataxia. One-third of ataxias acquired after the age of 20 are hereditary. Ataxia strikes people from all walks of life. For some it appears as early as infancy. Certain forms develop during the adolescent years. Other forms of ataxia may suddenly affect individuals during the prime of life.

For medical information

For medical information, please contact the University of Minnesota Ataxia Center at 612-626-6688.

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The Minnesota Medical Foundation has merged with the University of Minnesota Foundation.

The combination of two great foundations, operating as the University of Minnesota Foundation, will enhance support of excellence at the University of Minnesota, provide even greater efficiencies, and better serve University donors.

For more information, contact the University of Minnesota Foundation at 612-624-3333.


The 2014 Diamond Awards featured the University's ataxia story with Harry Orr, Ph.D. and Brian Kraft.

Watch the video from the 2014 Diamond Awards.

Upcoming events

Diamond Awards

January 24, 2013
Join baseball greats from throughout the Midwest to celebrate the baseball season and help advance groundbreaking medical research conducted at the University of Minnesota!