Basic Information

The cerebellum is involved in the coordination of voluntary motor movement, balance, and equilibrium and muscle tone. The cerebellum is comprised of white matter and a thin, outer layer of densely folded gray matter. The folded outer layer of the cerebellum (cerebellar cortex) has smaller and more compact folds than those of the cerebral cortex. The cerebellum contains hundreds of millions of neurons for processing data. It relays information between body muscles and areas of the cerebral cortex that are involved in motor control.

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Cerebellar injury results in movements that are slow and uncoordinated. Individuals with cerebellar lesions tend to sway and stagger when walking.
Damage to the cerebellum can lead to:
1) loss of coordination of motor movement (asynergia)
2) the inability to judge distance and when to stop (dysmetria)
3) the inability to perform rapid alternating movements (adiadochokinesia)
4) movement tremors (intention tremor)
5) staggering, wide based walking (ataxic gait)
6) tendency toward falling
7) weak muscles (hypotonia)
8) slurred speech (ataxic dysarthria)
9) abnormal eye movements (nystagmus)

Directionally, the cerebellum is situated at the base of the skull, above the brainstem and beneath the occipital lobes of the cerebral cortex.