Voluntary movements, like lifting your hand to wave, are executed through precise coordination between different brain areas. Sometimes, due to the loss of neurons in the brain, some individuals cannot coordinate such voluntary movements and are said to be suffering from a condition called ataxia. A type of ataxia, known as the spinocerebellar ataxia, involves the loss of neurons from the spinal cord and cerebellum. These brain areas are responsible for controlling movement and balance.
The reaction simplifies the production of pharmaceutically important molecules called lactones and other complex compounds.