Ataxia with Vitamin E Deficiency

National Organization for Rare Disorders, Inc.

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It is possible that the main title of the report Ataxia with Vitamin E Deficiency is not the name you expected. Please check the synonyms listing to find the alternate name(s) and disorder subdivision(s) covered by this report.


  • AVED
  • Familial Isolated Vitamin E Deficiency
  • Isolated Vitamin E Deficiency

Disorder Subdivisions

  • None

General Discussion

Ataxia with vitamin E deficiency (AVED) is a rare inherited neurodegenerative disorder characterized by impaired ability to coordinate voluntary movements (ataxia) and disease of the peripheral nervous system (peripheral neuropathy). AVED is a progressive disorder that can affect many different systems of the body (multisystem disorder). Specific symptoms vary from case to case. In addition to neurological symptoms, affected individuals may experience eye abnormalities, disorders affecting the heart muscles (cardiomyopathy), and abnormal curvature of the spine (scoliosis). AVED is extremely similar to a more common disorder known as Friedreich's ataxia. AVED is inherited as an autosomal recessive trait.

Vitamin E deficiency often occurs secondary to disorders that impair the absorption of vitamin E from fat including liver disorders, disorders of fat metabolism, and disorders of bile secretion. These disorders include cholestasis (a syndrome of various causes characterized by impaired bile secretion); cystic fibrosis (primarily a lung disorder that may also affect bile secretion); primary biliary cirrhosis (a liver disorder that results in cholestasis); and abetalipoproteinemia (a digestive disorder characterized by fat malabsorption). Premature infants may have a low vitamin E reserve because only small amounts of vitamin E cross the placenta, and therefore they may become deficient if fed a formula high in unsaturated fats and low in vitamin E. In rare cases, vitamin E deficiency may be caused by a poor diet. (For more information on the above disorders, choose the specific disorder name your search term in the Rare Disease Database.)

Supporting Organizations

Friedreich's Ataxia Research Alliance

533 W. Uwchlan Ave.
Downingtown, VA 19335
Tel: (484)879-6160
Fax: (484)872-1402

Genetic and Rare Diseases (GARD) Information Center

PO Box 8126
Gaithersburg, MD 20898-8126
Tel: (301)251-4925
Fax: (301)251-4911
Tel: (888)205-2311

March of Dimes Birth Defects Foundation

1275 Mamaroneck Avenue
White Plains, NY 10605
Tel: (914)997-4488
Fax: (914)997-4763

NIH/National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke

P.O. Box 5801
Bethesda, MD 20824
Tel: (301)496-5751
Fax: (301)402-2186
Tel: (800)352-9424

National Ataxia Foundation

2600 Fernbrook Lane Suite 119
Minneapolis, MN 55447
Tel: (763)553-0020
Fax: (763)553-0167

National Scoliosis Foundation

5 Cabot Place
Stoughton, MA 2072
Tel: (781)341-8333
Fax: (781)341-8333
Tel: (800)673-6922

Retinitis Pigmentosa International

P.O. Box 900
Woodland Hills, CA 91365
Tel: (818)992-0500
Fax: (818)992-3265
Tel: (800)344-4877


Lincoln House
Kennington Park
London, SW9 6DE
United Kingdom
Tel: 4402075821444

For a Complete Report

This is an abstract of a report from the National Organization for Rare Disorders (NORD). A copy of the complete report can be downloaded free from the NORD website for registered users. The complete report contains additional information including symptoms, causes, affected population, related disorders, standard and investigational therapies (if available), and references from medical literature. For a full-text version of this topic, go to and click on Rare Disease Database under "Rare Disease Information".

The information provided in this report is not intended for diagnostic purposes. It is provided for informational purposes only. NORD recommends that affected individuals seek the advice or counsel of their own personal physicians.

It is possible that the title of this topic is not the name you selected. Please check the Synonyms listing to find the alternate name(s) and Disorder Subdivision(s) covered by this report

This disease entry is based upon medical information available through the date at the end of the topic. Since NORD's resources are limited, it is not possible to keep every entry in the Rare Disease Database completely current and accurate. Please check with the agencies listed in the Resources section for the most current information about this disorder.

For additional information and assistance about rare disorders, please contact the National Organization for Rare Disorders at P.O. Box 1968, Danbury, CT 06813-1968; phone (203) 744-0100; web site or email

Last Updated:  12/29/1969
Copyright  2004 National Organization for Rare Disorders, Inc.