The cerebellum is located at the back of the brainstem (it is the connection of the spinal cord to the brain) and is made up of two parts. Regarding its functions, the cerebellum is the recipient of information of different types from other areas of the brain and has a fundamental role in the regulation, coordination, realization, and learning of motor behaviors.
A lesion in the cerebellum, although it does not cause paralysis or intellectual deterioration, can lead to a lack of balance, slower movements, and tremors. Complex physical tasks would become unstable and stop. Want to know more about this complex organ of the nervous system? In this Psychology-Online article, we explain in detail what the cerebellum is: Cerebellum parts, functions and diseases.
Parts of the cerebellum
The central nervous system is enormously complex. However, to define the parts of the brain, we will do it on a basic level, it is divided into the brain, brainstem, and cerebellum. The brain participates in the higher levels of thought and action. And each of the four lobes that form it performs a different job.
Parts of the brain Four brain lobes
- The frontal lobe is located in the front and upper part of the brain. It is responsible for the highest levels of human thinking and behavior, such as planning, judgment, decision making, impulse control, and attention.
- The parietal lobe is behind the frontal lobe. This lobe captures sensory information and helps the individual understand their position in the environment.
- The temporal lobe is in the lower frontal part of the brain. This lobe is involved in visual memory, language, and emotion.
- Finally, the occipital lobe is located in the back of the brain. The occipital lobe processes the visual entry of the eyes.
Brain stem and cerebellum
The cerebellum and brainstem accompany the brain in complete physical and mental function. The brainstem handles vital automatic functions, such as breathing, circulation, sleep, digestion and swallowing, that is, involuntary processes controlled by the autonomic nervous system. And control the reflexes.
Parts of the cerebellum and its anatomy
The cerebellum is relatively small, but it contains a large number of neurons (approximately 50% of the brain). Its anatomy is quite complex since it is divided into three lobes (anterior, middle and posterior) but its central part (the vermis) is also divided.
The cerebellum is the area that is located in the back and lower part of the brain, behind the brainstem. The cerebellum has several functions related to movement and coordination. Among them, we highlight the following functions:
- Maintain balance: The cerebellum has special sensors that detect changes in balance and movement. Send signals for the body to adjust and move.
- Coordinate movement: Most body movements require the coordination of multiple muscle groups. The cerebellum measures muscle actions so that the body can move smoothly.
- Coordinate the vision: The cerebellum coordinates the eye movements.
- Motor learning: The cerebellum helps the body learn movements that require practice and adjustment. For example, the cerebellum plays an important role in learning to ride a bicycle or play a musical instrument.
Other functions of the cerebellum
Thanks to new research, some experts believe that the cerebellum has some role in conscious thinking and not only in the regulation of movements. Among these functions, we include language processing and mood. However, the findings on these functions have not yet been explored in detail.
Diseases and disorders of the cerebellum
As a result of the close relationship between the cerebellum and movement, the most common signs of a cerebellar disorder involve an alteration of muscle control.
Symptoms or signs may include:
- Lack of control and muscular coordination.
- Difficulties to walk and move.
- Difficulty speaking or difficulty speaking
- Abnormal eye movements
There are many disorders of the cerebellum, including:
- brain hemorrhages
- genetic abnormalities
If you want to know more about these types of diseases, we recommend the following article: diseases of the central nervous system.
The main symptom of cerebellar dysfunction is ataxia. Ataxia is a loss of coordination and muscle control. An underlying problem, such as a virus or a brain tumor, can cause these symptoms. Loss of coordination is often the first sign of ataxia, and speech difficulties appear soon after.
Other symptoms include
- Blurry vision
- Difficulty to swallow
- Difficulties with precise control of the muscles.
- Changes in mood or thinking
Several factors can cause ataxia can be:
- Poisons that damage the brain
- Head injury
- Multiple sclerosis
- Cerebral palsy
- Chickenpox and other viral infections
Types of ataxia
The disorders of ataxia are degenerative conditions. They can be genetic or sporadic.
- A genetic mutation causes genetic or hereditary ataxia. There are several different mutations and types. These disorders are rare and even the most common type, Friedreich’s ataxia, affects only 1 in 40,000 people.
The doctor will diagnose Friedreich’s ataxia after ruling out a variety of other causes. Genetic tests can identify the condition, which usually appears in childhood.
- The sporadic ataxia is a degenerative disorders group of movement for which there is no evidence of heredity. This condition usually progresses slowly and can become multisystemic atrophy.
You have a series of symptoms, including:
- Heart rate problems
- Erectile dysfunction
- Loss of bladder control.
These disorders usually get worse over time. There is no specific treatment to relieve or resolve symptoms, except in cases of ataxia in which the cause is a vitamin E deficiency. So we can say that sometimes, ataxia is reversible when the underlying cause is treatable. In other cases, ataxia resolves without treatment or cannot be resolved.
There are several devices that can help people with irreversible ataxia, such as canes and specialized computer systems to support mobility, speech and precise muscle control.
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