International News Network (Internet) 07/29/06 A widely used sleeping pill appears to offer temporary help for people with a relentless degenerative nerve disease, researchers report. Dr. Tetsuo Ashizawa is chairman of neurology at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, and an authority on ataxia. "This paper intrigues patients with ataxia and neurologists who treat them," he said. But, he was quick to point out weaknesses in the report. "The authors did not use validated scales for evaluation of ataxia," Ashizawa said. "Thus, the study did not provide convincing scientific evidence for efficacy of the drug." But he called the study’s observation "interesting" because there are no effective treatments for ataxia, although the tranquillizer buspirone (BuSpar) has been found to relieve some symptoms in patients in a controlled study.