Cerebellum

What is the Definition of Cerebellum?

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The brain is made up of several nerve centers. One of them is the cerebellum, located in the posterior region of the skull fossa and below the occipital lobes of the brain.

According to DigoPaul, the main function of the cerebellum (whose name comes from the Latin cerebellum) is to promote the integration of the neurons responsible for sensation and movement.

The instructions that reach the musculoskeletal system from the cerebral cortex, therefore, are controlled by the cerebellum. This causes an injury to this nerve center to generate disorders related to motor skills and balance.

Importantly, motor skills are not the only function that regulates the cerebellum. Learning, cognition skills, attention and even language are also linked to this organ, which houses about 50% of the brain’s neurons, although it only occupies 10% of its volume.

It should be noted that the brain (which is protected by the skull) and the spinal cord (the vertebral column is responsible for its protection) constitute the so-called central nervous system, within which the cerebellum fulfills important functions.

Cerebellar syndrome

It is known as cerebellar syndrome, on the other hand, the lesion that affects the entire surface, or much of it, of the cerebellum. This disorder, depending on its characteristics, can be divided into:

* Vermis cerebellar syndrome: as the flocculonodular lobe is involved, there are signs and symptoms related to the system in charge of balance and spatial control, which is called vestibular. Its influence produces lack of muscular coordination that exclusively affects the head and trunk. It is very common for those who suffer from it to tend to fall forward or backward and to have difficulties in keeping their head still and in an upright position, which can also occur with respect to the trunk;

* Hemispheric cerebellar syndrome: the origin of this variant of the disorder may be a tumor or a temporary or permanent decrease in the blood supply of a cerebellar hemisphere. The key points are the movements of the arms and legs, which break down and appear disorderly and incoherent. It is also common for the body to tend to fall to the side where the injury is located.

Lesions of the cerebellum

Symptoms that reveal some damage to the cerebellum include:

* hypotonia: which means that muscle tone is less than normal. It can be explored by moving the forearms to try to observe if the hands are swinging too much, or by using a rotary device so that the patient stands on it and sees if the arms move excessively, or through the knee reflex, if the leg hangs for a while after hit;

* ataxia: is the incoordination or alteration of voluntary movements. This can lead to exaggerated movements of the extremities, without correctly measuring the necessary path to take them to a certain point. The faster and more unexpected the action, the more noticeable the problem will be, as well as the decomposition of the movement in question. One of the phenomena within ataxia is called adiadochokinesia, which consists of complications to perform alternative movements quickly;

* Altered balance and gait: patients who suffer from this symptom feel instability that leads them to need to separate their feet to maintain balance. Oscillations are common when walking, as if one were suffering from dizziness, and there are deviations towards the side of the injury;

* Intentional tremor: which appears at the beginning of a movement and takes place in the proximal part of the limb, that is, just before its extreme point. To detect it, the patient may be asked to touch his nose with his finger or to drink a glass of water.

Cerebellum