The cerebellum is at the back of the brain near the brain stem around the junction between the spinal cord and brain, above the medulla oblongata. It is divided into two hemispheres connected in the middle.
The cerebellum controls balance, coordination, and voluntary muscle movement. Disorders or damage that affects the cerebellum can cause neuromuscular problems that impair coordination and movement.
The Role of the Cerebellum
There are three main parts of the brain. The cerebrum is in the front, the cerebellum in the back, and the brain stem is at the bottom of the brain. The brain stem connects the cerebrum to the spinal cord.
While the cerebrum controls speech, learning, and thinking, and the brain stem controls involuntary functions like breathing and blood pressure, the cerebellum controls voluntary motor movements.
The cerebellum plays a role in balance by commanding motor neurons to make adjustments based on changes in the body’s position or other factors. Damage to the cerebellum could cause difficulty in balancing.
Coordination and Voluntary Movement
The cerebellum also coordinates muscle groups, so the body moves in a smooth, fluid motion. The cerebellum sends commands to the various muscle groups instructing them to move.
Cerebellar Disorders & Damage
Cerebellar disorders may include:
- Ataxias, which refers to impaired muscle control and coordination
- Degeneration, which refers to the deterioration of neurons in the cerebellum
- Brain tumors affecting the cerebellum
- Genetic disorders
A cerebellar disorder could affect coordination, balance, and movement. Symptoms might include:
- Difficulty measuring or judging distance (dysmetria)
- Impaired coordination (asynergia)
- Inability to perform rapid alternating rhythmic movements like tapping one’s finger (adiadochokinesia)
- Unsteady gait (ataxic gait)
- Intention tremor (cerebellar tremor)
- Slurring of speech (ataxic dysarthria)
- Irregular eye movement (nystagmus)
Cerebellar disorders may cause other symptoms and complications too. A doctor can better review your symptoms and provide appropriate care for your condition. A doctor may order tests, including imaging scans, to identify the cause of your symptoms and diagnose your condition.
Causes of Cerebellar Disorders & Damage
Cerebellar disorders may be congenital (present at birth) or acquired. For example, congenital malformations may be present at birth and manifest early in a child’s life. Other children may inherit hereditary ataxias involving the cerebellum, such as Friedreich ataxia and spinocerebellar ataxia.
An example of an injury that can cause an acquired cerebellar disorder or damage is a traumatic brain injury (TBI). A TBI may be the result of a sports injury or a motor vehicle accident.
Further, other nonhereditary conditions that can cause cerebellar conditions to include multiple sclerosis, cerebellar stroke, and exposure to certain toxins like carbon monoxide, heavy metals, and more. Brain tumors may also cause cerebellar conditions.
Filing a Lawsuit for a Cerebellar Disorder
Depending on the circumstances, another party may be liable for a cerebellar disorder or damage to the cerebellum. In such cases, injured parties may pursue a claim or lawsuit against a defendant to recover damages.
Recoverable damages may include:
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Pain and suffering
Speak with a brain injury attorney about your case. Call 888-808-5977 to get legal help. Pintas & Mullins handles complex civil litigation, including cases involving brain injuries caused by auto accidents, medical malpractice, and more.