Discussions By Condition: I cannot get a diagnosis.

Unbalanced 12 year old

Posted In: I cannot get a diagnosis. 4 Replies
  • Posted By: Gramps
  • July 25, 2009
  • 02:53 AM

My Granddaughter was an active 12 year old soccer player. She had a fall and fell on her back at the end of May and two weeks later she developed unbalance in walking and slower speech, not slurred. I don't know if the fall had anything to do with problem or not. She has no pain or other symptoms. She had a test for the inner ear, a spinal MRI, a brain MRI, a cat scan on her head, an ENG on her legs, a back x-ray, a spinal tap and bloodwork and all coming back negative. She was tested via the spinal tap for DRD(Dopa-Responsive Dystonia), again a negative report. Please help, from a concerned Gramps. Thank You.:(

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  • Okay, I would ask you to please provide me with more detail regarding the head injury, ie whether it was more of a bump on the head or if it resulted in any loss of consciousness, with or without concussion, and required medical attention. I would also like to know the cause of the injury as well. Also tell me whether the child had suffered any type of viral infection within several weeks prior to the onset of the symptoms. Although I feel certain that her doctors have performed the requisite tests, I would ask if the child's difficulty in walking is associated with dizziness or an acquired lack of coordination? In other words, does she state that everything is either spinning or tilting, or does she say that she can't make her legs move in the right direction or can't control their movements? Are you aware of any family history associated with ataxia, or difficulty in walking? Once you've provided answers to my inquiry, I may be able to better direct you and provide some information. Best regards, J Cottle, MD
    JCottleMD 580 Replies Flag this Response
  • DR J Cottle,:) Thank you for repling to our promblem. Our granddaugher fell in a soccer game, she fell on her buttock and jerked her head backwards, she cried and that's something she never does when she playing soccer. It hurt her for 3 days and then after 3 weeks she got up and she was off balanced and then a week later her speech was slower. She has NO pain, but her personality is different. Our daughter and son in law took her to Cleveland Clinic last week and they said she has ataxia . We still don't know what's wrong with her and don't know how to help her. They took blood and said to get her into physical therapy and we've done that, they also said to come back in 3 months, long time to wait for an answer to our problem.The Doctor in WV said she had DOPA RESPONSIVE DESTONIA,her spinal tap came back that she DID NOT have it.THANK GOD.She's had MRI on her brain,MRI on her spine,cat scan on her brain, checked for inner ear, ENG, back X ray, spinal tap, and a lot of blood work. What else can we do? This was a very very active 12 year old and outstanding girl in sports and a straight A student. I pray that you can help us. Our daughter had her to copy a paragraph and it took her 10 mins. and her writing wasn't neat like before. Thank you,Granny :( PS there is no history of ataxia in either sides of the family
    Gramps 2 Replies Flag this Response
  • Sorry for the delay. Based upon your description of the injury, it is very possible that she has suffered a whiplash that in rare instances can cause a syrinx to form, in particular, something called a syringobulbia which is is a fluid-filled cavity located in the spinal cord at the level of the brain stem. The symptoms in such cases include dysarthria, or difficulty with speech and vertigo. It can also induce medullary compression which results in motor deficits, ie ataxia. My suggestion here is to bring this information to the direct attention of your doctors and make certain that they focus on ruling out the presence of a syringobulbia. In some cases, there is a congenital condition known as Chiari malformation that for the most part does not produce any symptoms, but in instances where whiplash injury has been evident, there is an increased risk of syringobulbia. So if evidence of such a malformation exists, then it should not be ignored in the instance where neurological symptoms such as those being described by you are present. Although they tend to form over a greater period of time, rare instances do occur which are quite proximal in time to the injury and can produce symptoms. So again, bring this point to the direct attention of your doctors and make certain that they perform the necessary studies to rule out a syringobulbia which will appear as a small slit-like gap on imaging and may be difficult to detect. Best regards, J Cottle, MD
    JCottleMD 580 Replies Flag this Response
  • Thank you for your concern and for answering our questions, We'll pass on your suggestions to her Doctor. GOD BLESS YOU, Thank you again,Granny & Gramps:)
    Gramps 2 Replies Flag this Response
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