The cerebellum: parts, functions and diseases

  • Jul 26, 2021
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The cerebellum: parts, functions and diseases

The cerebellum is located at the back of the brain stem (it is the connection between the spinal cord and the brain) and is made up of two parts. Regarding its functions, the cerebellum is the receptor of information of different types from other areas of the brain, and has a fundamental role in the regulation, coordination, performance and learning of behaviors motorcycles.

An injury to the cerebellum, while not causing paralysis or intellectual impairment, can lead to poor balance, slower movements, and tremors. Complex physical tasks would become unstable and stop. Do you want to know more about this complex organ of the nervous system? In this Psychology-Online article we explain in detail what is the cerebellum: parts, functions and diseases.

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  1. Parts of the cerebellum
  2. Functions of the cerebellum
  3. Diseases and disorders of the cerebellum
  4. Types of ataxia

Parts of the cerebellum.

The nervous system central is enormously complex. However, to define the parts of the brain, we will do it at a basic level, it is divided into brain, brainstem and cerebellum. The brain participates in the higher levels of thought and action. And each of the four lobes that make it up does a different job.

Parts of the brain Four lobes of the brain

  • The frontal lobe It 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 it is located behind the frontal lobe. This lobe captures sensory information and helps the individual understand its position in the environment.
  • The temporal lobe It is in the lower front part of the brain. This lobe is involved in visual memory, language, and emotion.
  • Finally, the occipital lobe It is located in the back of the brain. The occipital lobe processes visual input from the eyes.

Brainstem and cerebellum

The cerebellum and brain stem accompany the brain in full 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 nervous system autonomous. And control reflections.

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.

So that you understand better cerebellum anatomy, we are going to show you an image:

The cerebellum: parts, functions and diseases - Parts of the cerebellum

Functions of the cerebellum.

The cerebellum is the area at the back and bottom of the brain, behind the brain stem. The cerebellum has several functions related to movement and coordination. Among them, we highlight the following functions:

  • Keep the balance: The cerebellum has special sensors that detect changes in balance and movement. Sends signals for the body to adjust and move.
  • Coordinate the 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 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 the new research, some experts believe that the cerebellum has some role in the conscious thought and not only in the regulation of movements. These functions include the language and mood processing. However, the findings on these functions have yet to be explored in detail.

The cerebellum: parts, functions and diseases - Functions of the cerebellum

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 a impaired muscle control.

Symptoms or signs may include:

  • Lack of muscle control and coordination.
  • Difficulties walking and moving.
  • Difficulty speaking or difficulty speaking
  • Abnormal eye movements
  • Headaches

There are many cerebellum disorders, including:

  • apoplexy
  • brain hemorrhages
  • toxins
  • genetic abnormalities
  • contamination
  • Cancer

If you want to know more about this type of disease, we recommend the following article: central nervous system diseases.


The main symptom of cerebellar dysfunction is ataxia. Ataxia is a loss of muscle control and coordination. An underlying problem, such as a virus or brain tumor, can cause these symptoms. Loss of coordination is often the first sign of ataxia, and speech difficulties appear soon after.

Others symptoms include

  • Blurry vision
  • Difficulty to swallow
  • Fatigue
  • Difficulties with precise muscle control.
  • Changes in mood or thinking

Various factors can cause ataxia They may be:

  • Genes
  • Poisons that damage the brain
  • Apoplexy
  • Tumors
  • Head trauma
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Cerebral palsy
  • Chickenpox and other viral infections

Types of ataxia.

The ataxia disorders they are degenerative conditions. They can be genetic or sporadic.

  • A genetic mutation causes genetic or inherited ataxia. There are several different types and mutations. These disorders are rare and even the most common type, Friedreich's ataxia, affects only 1 in 40,000 people.

Your doctor will diagnose Friedreich's ataxia after ruling out a variety of other causes. Genetic testing can identify the condition, which usually appears in childhood.

  • The sporadic ataxia is a group of degenerative movement disorders for which there is no evidence of inheritance. This condition usually progresses slowly and can develop into multisystem atrophy.

Presents a series of symptoms, including:

  • Fading
  • Heart rate problems
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Loss of bladder control.

Ataxia treatment

These disorders generally get worse over time. There is no specific treatment to alleviate or resolve symptoms, except in cases of ataxia where the cause is a vitamin E deficiency. So we can say that ataxia is sometimes reversible when the underlying cause is treatable. In other cases, the ataxia resolves without treatment or cannot be resolved.

There are several devices that can help people with irreversible ataxia, such as rods and specialized computer systems to support mobility, speech, and precise control of muscles.

This article is merely informative, in Psychology-Online we do not have the power to make a diagnosis or recommend a treatment. We invite you to go to a psychologist to treat your particular case.

If you want to read more articles similar to The cerebellum: parts, functions and diseases, we recommend that you enter our category of Neuropsychology.

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