Autonomic function studies were performed on 15 patients with Friedreich's ataxia, and the results compared with those of 76 healthy subjects. There was an increase in resting supine heart rate, attributed to cardiac abnormalities. Other tests of sympathetic and parasympathetic function were normal. The normal autonomic function studies are consistent with the pathological findings of degeneration predominantly of large diameter myelinated fibres with sparing of small myelinated and unmyelinated fibres.
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