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Welcome to the Home Page of the Louisiana Chapter of the National Ataxia Foundation

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"Welcome to the Louisiana Chapter of the National Ataxia Foundation ... Hope you enjoy the reading and find the information useful ... Please sign our guest book and thanks for visiting!!!"
*UPDATED* on March 13, 2013

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Welcome to the Home Page
of the
Louisiana Chapter of the
National Ataxia Foundation

We are a non-profit organization which was organized in 1978
to serve families in Louisiana affected by hereditary ataxia.

" Hello All! My name is Elizabeth Tanner, and I am the new president of the Louisiana Chapter of the National Ataxia Foundation. I am from Baton Rouge, Louisiana. I am 28 years old and recently was married in May 2011 to my husband, Paul. I am a CPA for a public accounting firm in Baton Rouge. My family is originally from Ferriday, Louisiana; I have an older sister, Ginny, a younger sister, Danielle, a mother, Susan, and a father, Bryant. My mother was diagnosed with SCA-3/Machado Joseph Disease about ten years ago. Her father and two younger brothers also suffered with the disease. While this disease was completely unfamiliar to my family when my mother began displaying symptoms, we wanted to find out as much information as we could about it. I pray that someday there will be a cure for ataxia and plan to work hard to support that dream. One day, I Googled 'ataxia' and found the National Ataxia Foundation website and subsequently found a doctor in the New Orleans area, Dr. Michael Wilensky. My mother became his patient, and he piqued my interest in the local Louisiana Chapter of NAF. My mother and I attended our first meeting last month, and I am the new president! While I expect a large learning curve, Carla has promised to show me the ropes. I am excited to be involved and look forward to getting to know everyone and to bringing new ideas to the Chapter. Hopefully, we can start having more functions so that I can meet everyone.

If I can answer any questions, please do not hesitate to drop me an email or give me a call. Also, if you have any family members that have joined the National Ataxia Foundation recently and would like to be included in the Louisiana Chapter, please tell them to shoot me an email.
Any mail may be sent to:
LaNAF-attn Elizabeth Tanner
1720 Parker St.
Baton Rouge, LA 70808
Chapter Email:

Have a great day! Elizabeth Tanner 225-241-3745 "

Music playing is 'Jambalaya'

The Louisiana Chapter of the National Ataxia Foundation (NAF) is an extension of the NAF headquartered in Minnesota. As a part of the NAF, we are also dedicated to the following:
When afforded the appropriate information, the Louisiana Chapter of NAF (LaNAF) maintains a database of all people affected by ATAXIA [ATAXIAns, friends, family, professionals] in the state. Some 'find' us through the web, "word of mouth", media, or fellow ATAXIAns. LaNAF has members throughout the state with a majority of its members in southern Louisiana.
Educating the public about ATAXIA is at the base of all our work. Before anything can be done, people must have a basic understanding of ATAXIA. The Louisiana Chapter fufills this objective through the mass media, internet, advocacy, newsletter and print literature.
At present, there is no cure for ATAXIA. But the option of genetic counseling is open to all persons affected by ATAXIA. The Chapter is able to refer those interested to qualified professionals.
In Louisiana there is a special interest in a recessive ATAXIA, known as Friedreich's Ataxia. This interest stems from the fact that because of the high rate of inter-marriage in the Cajun population, this ATAXIA is common. For this reason, Louisiana serves as the perfect study ground for such research into recessive ATAXIA.
An estimated 150,000 people in the United States are affected by hereditary and sporadic ataxias, a group of neurological disorders which are chronic and progressive conditions affecting coordination. They strike without regard to age, gender, or race.

What is ATAXIA?
ATAXIA is a medical term used for incoordination, particularly in reference to walking. There are many different causes of ATAXIA, ranging from simple drunkenness to tumors of the brain to degenerative neurological disease. There are several groups of neurological diseases which tend to run in families. These disorders are collectively referred to as the HEREDITARY ATAXIAS which are classified by the specific areas of the brain and spinal cord that are affected. There are also sporadic forms of ATAXIA which have no known genetic linkage or family history.
The HEREDITARY ATAXIAS are genetic. The various abnormal genes that cause ATAXIA have in common that they make abnormal proteins that affect nerve cells, primarily in the cerebellum (and other parts of the brain) and the spinal cord. (The details are different for the different diseases.) Eventually the affected nerve cells begin to function poorly and ultimately to degenerate. As the disease progresses, muscles become less and less responsive to commands from the brain, causing coordination problems to become more pronounced. There are many genetic causes of HEREDITARY ATAXIA. Over 300 different genetic diseases or "syndromes" have been described that include ATAXIA as a symptom.
What are common symptoms?
Symptoms and time (age) of onset vary according to the type of ATAXIA. Recessive disorders commonly cause symptoms to begin in childhood rather than adulthood (although for reasons that are not well understood, symptoms are not necessarily present at birth or infancy). Dominant ataxia often begins in the 20s or 30s or even later in life. Occasionally, individuals may not show symptoms of one of the dominant ataxias until they are in their 60s. Typically, balance and coordination are affected first. Incooridnation of hands, arms and legs and slurring of speech are other common symptoms. Walking becomes difficult and is characterized by walking with feet placed farther apart to compensate for poor balance. Impaired coordination of the hands and arms affects the person's ability to perform tasks requiring fine motor control such as writing and eating. Slow eye movements or limited range of eye movements can be seen in some forms of ataxia. As time goes on, ataxia can affect speech and swallowing. The HEREDITARY ATAXIAS are degenerative disorders that progress over a number of years. How severe the disability will become and whether the disease will lead to death depends on the type of ataxia, the age of onset of symptoms and other factors that are poorly understood. Respiratory complications can be fatal in a person who is bed-bound or who has severe swallowing problems. Some children with Friedreich's Ataxia develop serious cardiac complications.



Please join us for a picnic and meeting of the Louisiana
Chapter of the National Ataxia Foundation!

Sunday, April 29, 2012 at 3 PM
It will be held at Andrea Fantacci's new house
The address is:2171 Rockybrook Drive
Baton Rouge, LA 70816

Directions: From I-12, you would get off at the O'Neal exit and turn right onto S. Harrell's Ferry, then another right into the subdivision. Her cell is: 225-603-5050 if anyone gets lost

If you haven't let me know if you can make it, please do so. If you would like to bring a dish, feel free, but there will be food provided.

Contact Elizabeth Tannerfor more information and to RSVP
(225) 241-3745 and/or email me ->

Click on the graphic below to send an e-mail to the LaNAF chapter's office for any additional information:

Bouncing BallAtaxia Related Links

Bouncing Ball Louisiana Disability Related Links

Bouncing BallOther Area Support Groups'

Bouncing BallAssorted Helpful Handicapped Links


Bouncing BallLinks to: Articles, Homepages, Pictures, Etc. of Local Members


Your monetary and donations of time and/or prayers are very much
appreciated to continue our mission of raising awareness, education,
and helping families & friends affected by ATAXIA.

It is expensive to keep our chapter going so if you would like to
make a donation please contact our chapter's office.
Any size donation would be greatly appreciated!

ataxia cab Please take a moment and sign our guestbook below
and let us know that you stopped by!

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Please bookmark book this page for future reference.

This site has been visited counter times since 1998.


Webmaster: Kim Bourg - FA'er