Locomotor ataxia

Locomotor ataxia is the inability to precisely control one's own bodily movements. People afflicted with this disease may walk in a jerky, non-fluid manner. They will not know where their arms and legs are without looking, but can, for instance, feel and locate a hot object placed against their feet. It is often a symptom of tabes dorsalis, which is a key finding in tertiary syphilis.[1]

It is caused by degeneration of the posterior (dorsal) white column of the spinal cord.

The chilling effects of this condition and its connection to venereal disease are dramatized in the story "Love O' Women" by Rudyard Kipling.

Bram Stoker's death certificate named the cause of death as "Locomotor Ataxia 6 months", presumed to be a reference to syphilis.[2][3]


  1. "Locomotor Ataxia - an overview | ScienceDirect Topics". www.sciencedirect.com.
  2. Davison, Carol Margaret (November 1, 1997). Bram Stoker's Dracula: Sucking Through the Century, 1897-1997. Dundurn. ISBN 9781554881055 via Google Books.
  3. "100 years ago today: the death of Bram Stoker". OUPblog. April 20, 2012.

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