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Current concepts regarding the cerebellum and cognition
OBJECTIVE. To review the main cognitive processes regulated by the cerebellum and the anatomical circuits involved in their clinical correlation. DEVELOPMENT. The cerebellum is generally regarded as a regulator of motor function with a key role in movement coordination. Clinical evidence of the relation of the cerebellum to neural functions typically considered as cortical, is supplied by several neuropsychological alterations detected in both degenerative disorders and acute insult to the region such as vascular event and surgery. More anatomical circuits between the cerebellum and several cortical areas and limbic system, with the ventral pons region as main afference and efference relay of all these pathways. Cerebellar structures that are phylogenetically older such as the floculonodullar lobe, vermix, fastigial nuclei and globus nuclei have a tight relationship to emotional control and autonomic manifestations. More complex circuits are founded in the regulation of learning, motor planning and language. Functional imaging studies have helped to confirm the relationship between the cerebellum and memory processes, finding a selective activation of lateral regions during to cerebellar damage, such a frontal like syndromes, memory deficits and aphasia and even though dysmetria with incoordination between mental process velocity and its motor execution.
CONCLUSIONS. All the data from clinical and functional studies indicate that the cerebellum has a central co-ordinating function not only of movement but also regulating thought. The cerebellum should, therefore, be reconsidered as a complex neurone system at much the same level as the more advanced cortical structures
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