Dave’s Journey with Spinocerebellar Ataxia Type 8 (SCA8): Getting Back on the “Bike of Life”

Meet Dave (@SlowDave) Dave, a retired attorney, and avid mountain biker was riding in the car with his wife when he felt very dizzy, asked her to pull over, and collapsed on the side of the road in 2005. This incident sparked many subsequent trips to the emergency room and meetings with neurologists and other specialists to get to the bottom of Dave’s health concerns, which included cognitive decline and issues with mobility and balance. Initially, doctors were very perplexed and thought he had caught an infectious disease from recent international travel or even had early multiple sclerosis (MS) symptoms. A visit to a hospital in New Mexico and many genetic tests later concluded the diagnosis of Spinocerebellar ataxia type 8 (SCA8), a neurodegenerative condition characterized by slow-progressing problems with movement, balance, and coordination. SCA8 is a rare disease that was only discovered in 2000. The fact that it had only been identified for about five years at the point of Dave’s incident meant that he had a long road of learning ahead. He often found his doctors understanding the science behind his condition, but not having the experience to truly understand what was going on. With a condition as …

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