A written report on this discovery will appear in the February print problem of Nature Genetics.

Eventually, these nerves – – called Purkinje cells – – degenerate, and the person loses fine control of the arm and leg muscles. This would explain historical descriptions of Lincoln’s uneven gait – – an early sign of ataxia – – according to the researchers. Ataxia is an inability to coordinate muscle tissue activity in the legs and arms. ‘The discovery by the group of the SCA5 mutations in 90 of 299 descendants of Lincoln could enable us to show whether Lincoln himself carried the mutation by studying genetic material obtained from artifacts including his DNA,’ stated Rothstein, a co-author of the Nature Genetics paper. The experts found the mutation in every 90 affected individuals and in 35 descendants of Lincoln who had not yet started to show symptoms of SCA5 , he said.SOURCE Timberline Knolls Residential Treatment Center.

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