What is the cerebellum? 

The cerebellum sits below the larger cerebrum of the brain, and is connected via the brainstem. The cerebellum is divided into two hemispheres separated dorsally by a midline zone called the vermis. It contains three primary lobes, the flocculonodular lobe, anterior lobe, and posterior lobe. Broadly, the cerebellum is thought to function in fine motor control (coordination and precision) and motor learning, balance, posture, as well as some cognitive and emotional capacity. The interaction of sensory, cognitive and motor functions may also contribute to proprioception (the awareness of self in space), planning movements, and evaluating information for action. The detailed functions of each region of the cerebellum are determined largely by their connectivity.

What is the evidence for cerebellum alterations?

Moderate quality evidence suggests reductions in grey matter in bilateral cerebellum of people with chronic or first-episode schizophrenia, particularly treatment-naïve patients. Moderate to low quality evidence also suggests reduced white matter integrity in the cerebellum.

Changes in functional activity in the cerebellum in people with schizophrenia are most frequently identified during motor, cognitive/executive, and emotional tasks. Functional activation is decreased in the left cerebellum during episodic memory retrieval tasks. There is reduced functional activity in the cerebellum in first-degree relatives of people with schizophrenia compared to controls during working memory tasks, with no differences during cognitive control, long-term memory, and language processing tasks.

March 2019

Last updated at: 3:03 am, 28th March 2019
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