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Cerebellar Damage: Symptoms & Treatment Video

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  • 0:00 Cerebellar Damage
  • 0:59 Symptoms of Damage
  • 2:34 Treating Damage
  • 3:10 Managing Symptoms
  • 3:50 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Danielle Haak

Danielle has a PhD in Natural Resource Sciences and a MSc in Biological Sciences

Cerebellar damage refers to some type of illness or injury that has damaged the cerebellum, a part of the brain responsible for controlling movement and learning. In this video, you'll learn about the symptoms of cerebellar damage and how they are treated.

Cerebellar Damage

The brain is one of the most complex and mysterious systems that humans have studied. Researchers have identified different regions of the brain and categorized the major responsibilities of each one. The cerebellum is a region of the human brain responsible for coordinating and controlling movement of the body. It's the region that receives information, in the form of nerve transmissions, from the nervous system and brain, enabling us to regulate our muscular activity. Ultimately, cerebellum functioning affects our ability to stand, balance, and move when and how we want. It also allows us to speak. In fact, over 50% of all neurons in the brain are located in the cerebellum. Neurons are the cells that pass nerve impulses, or information, throughout the body. Cerebellar damage refers to some type of brain injury affecting the cerebellum.

Symptoms of Damage

Typically, cerebellar damage results in clumsy movements, difficulty balancing, and involuntary shaking due to the disruption of signals sent to the muscles. For example, think about how smoothly different parts of the body must work together in order for you to write your name on a piece of paper. Your brain sends signals through the nervous system to steady your hand, enable you to pick up the pen, hold it in your hand properly, and guide it across the paper to carry out the task. When the cerebellum is damaged, these nerve signals become disjointed and fail to flow in a smooth manner. This makes the resulting motion shaky and unsteady. You'd still be able to write your name, but not in a coordinated manner and with more effort.

Cerebellar damage also causes parts of the body to shake uncontrollably. In the handwriting example, a common symptom of cerebellar damage would be for the hand to shake more as it gets closer to picking up the pen. The damage affects the brain's ability to focus on a target as the hand gets closer, so the brain tries to correct itself. This often leads to over-correcting, causing the hand to get shakier as it nears the pen.

Another peculiar symptom of cerebellar damage is difficulty switching back and forth between two repetitive tasks, called dysdiadochokinesia. For example, if you asked the person to alternate between tapping their elbow twice and tapping the table twice, the task would be more difficult than for someone without damage to the cerebellum.

Individual symptoms will vary, as will their intensity, based on the location and severity of the injury.

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