Cerebellum – simply defined

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The cerebellum is a part of the human brain. It is the part of the brain that that is responsible for human movement, co-ordination, motor control and sensory perception. The cerebellum is in the lower posterior part of the brain which looks almost like it is separate but still of the same unit. The cerebellum receives signals from all over the body through neural pathways to keep the mind aware of where the body is positioned and how the body is coping with its environment at any one point in time though continuously.

The cerebellum is responsible for relaying messages about posture, equilibrium, movement and fine motor skills such as writing or catching a ball. It is a very important part of the brain that keeps us aware of our surroundings and therefore alive. Voluntary movement is monitored and initialized by the cerebellum through the manipulation of fine muscle movement. Cerebellum injuries can lead to forms of paralysis in many various ways such as paraplegic, quadriplegic or partial impairment of the motor neuron pathways.

The brain is surrounded by billions of neuron though the cerebellum has the most neurons compared to any other part of the brain. When excessive alcohol abuse affects the brain it is usually the cerebellum that is affected the greatest and this is why alcohol related brain damage causes permanent slurred speech loss of balance or co-ordination. We notice this effect the most because these are the most important aspects of life that we use the largely.

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Cerebral Hypoxia

Filed under: Cerebellum - 09 Jul 2013  | Spread the word !

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Cerebral hypoxia, or hypoxic brain injury, is a serious condition in which the brain is partially private from oxygen. In the most severe cases, it leases to deep brain injury. Many people make a confusion between anoxic brain injury and hypoxic brain injury, but the two are different conditions. In anoxic brain injury, no oxygen reaches the brain. In such cases, patients are submitted to oxygen and ventilation therapies, to avoid coma and brain death.

Why is this disease developed?

Cerebral hypoxia can be caused by any type of event that leads to brain injury and a lack of oxygen in the brain. Causes can be classified as internal or external to the body. The mild forms of the disease can be caused by asthma or anemia, as well as other diseases that affect blood oxygenation and breathing. However, in most cases, this brain disease is determined by traumatic events.

Cerebral hypoxia may be caused by:

  • Pressure on the windpipe;
  • Strangulation;
  • Chocking;
  • Breathing in smoke;
  • Carbon monoxide poisoning;
  • Drowning;
  • Drug overdose;
  • Very low blood pressure;
  • Cardiac arrhythmia;
  • Diseases that prevent movement.


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Signs and symptoms

There are few signs and symptoms that may indicate the development of this condition. They include:

  • Change in attention;
  • Poor judgment;
  • No breathing;
  • Uncoordinated movement;
  • No response of the pupils of the eye to light;
  • Complete unawareness and unresponsiveness.

Treatment

Emergency treatment has to be administrated to patients suffering from brain injury. The sooner the oxygen supply is restored to the brain, the higher chances a patient has to improve his health and avoid severe damage to the brain. Treatment depends on the state of each patient. It will commonly include mechanical ventilation and oxygen, controlling the heart rate, raising blood pressure, in case it is low, as well as medication to prevent and calm seizures.

Rushing the patient to the emergency room as soon as the disease shows its first signs is a must. This may not only help him overcome the disease sooner, but it may actually save his life.

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Cerebellar Stroke Syndrome

Filed under: Cerebellum - 04 Jun 2013  | Spread the word !

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The cerebellar stroke syndrome is a serious condition in which the circulation of blood to the cerebellum is impaired. This happens due to a lesion formed on the superior cerebellar artery. Commonly, a cerebellar stroke occurs when the blood supply for the brain is interrupted. In the lack of oxygen and nutrients, loss of important functions is experienced by patients. Immediate medical assistance is required when patients suffer from cerebellar stroke.


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There are two main types of cerebellar strokes: Ischemic and Hemorrhagic.

Ischemic cerebellar stroke

This is the most common type of cerebellar stroke diagnosed in patients. The stroke can be caused by a sudden decrease in blood flow determined by a series of factors. Some of the most important such factors include the forming of a cloth that breaks off and blocks the flow, but also a tear in an artery that supplies blood to the brain.

There are a series of risk factors that can lead to the development of an cerebellar stroke. They include:

  • High blood pressure;
  • High cholesterol levels;
  • Obesity;
  • Alcohol abuse;
  • Drug abuse;
  • Atherosclerosis;
  • Metabolic syndrome;
  • Type 2 diabetes;
  • Atrial fibrillation;
  • Blood circulation problems.

There are certain lifestyle factors which can increase the risk of cerebellar stroke development. They include smoking, the lack of physical activity, as well as an unhealthy diet.

Symptoms

Preventing as much as possible a cerebellar stroke is a must. However, in case you are suffering from such a serious health problem, you need immediate medical assistance. This is why you need to be careful at all symptoms that may indicate something is wrong with your health and seek medical assistance as soon as possible.

Most common cerebellar stroke symptoms include:

  • Uncoordinated movements of the limbs;
  • Tremor;
  • Abnormal reflexes;
  • Speech problems;
  • Difficulty hearing;
  • Problems with vision and eyes;
  • Nausea and vomiting;
  • Difficulty walking;
  • Intense headache;
  • Loss of consciousness.

If you or someone else is experiencing such symptoms, you need to call an ambulance right away!

There are a series of tests that doctors will perform with the purpose to diagnose this condition. They include a CT scan, CT angiogram, MRO scan, MRA, blood tests, as well as kidney function tests and tests to check heart function. Treatment will vary from one patient to another, depending on his state of health, as well as his medical history. Rehabilitation will commonly be required for patients to improve their health.

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Movement Disorders

Filed under: Facts - 13 May 2013  | Spread the word !

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Movement disorders actually are neurological conditions which affect movement when it comes to speed, fluency, quality and ease of movement. There are numerous movement disorders that can be found in patients. The most common such conditions are listed below.


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1. Ataxia. Ataxia probably is the most common neurological condition that affects movement. This disease actually is a condition of the cerebellum. The cerebellum is responsible with controlling coordinated movement. Consequently, patients will experience uncoordinated movements, imbalance, as well as unsteady walk.

2. Dystonia. This is another commonly diagnosed neurological condition. When this disease is developed by patients, muscles contract involuntarily, causing twisting and repetitive movements. It can involve the entire body or just one part of the patient’s body.

3. Multiple system atrophy. This condition is quite an uncommon neurological disorder, but it can affect patients. Multiple system atrophy affects many areas of the brain and the nervous system. Consequently, it can lead to ataxia, as well as to Parkinson’s disease.

4. Tardive dyskinesia. A neurological condition, tardive dyskinesia is commonly caused by long-term use of drugs that are known to be able to treat certain psychiatric conditions. This disease determines repetitive and involuntary movements.

5. Parkinson’s disease. Parkinson’s disease is a progressive neurological condition. This disease affects movement, causing shaking and muscle stiffness, as well as impaired balance.

6. Essential tremor. Essential tremor is another neurological condition that can cause involuntary shaking. Hands are commonly affected by this disease, but other parts of the patient’s body can also be.

7. Tourette syndrome. This disease is a neurological condition that affects children. It commonly is developed between childhood and teenage years. This disease commonly is associated with repetitive movements, as well as vocal sounds, which become tics.

8. Huntington’s disease. This is an inherited progressive movement condition. The neurodegenerative disease determines nerve cells in the brain to deteriorate. Uncontrolled movements, as well as emotional and health disturbances can be experienced by patients.

9. Progressive supranuclear palsy. This is a rare neurological disease. The condition causes problems with walking, as well as issues with balance and eye moment. It commonly includes numerous similar symptoms with Parkinson’s disease.

10. Wilson’s disease. It is an inherited disorder which causes excessive amounts of copper to build up in the patient’s body. Various neurological problems can be experienced by patients diagnosed with this disease.

Movement disorders can be experienced by patients at any time. These are hard to cure diseases that require a complex treatment.

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Cerebellar Tumors

Filed under: Cerebellum - 30 Apr 2013  | Spread the word !

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The cerebellum is the second largest part of the brain. The cerebellum is located in the back of the skull, above the brain stem. This part of the brain is responsible with posture, balance, as well as equilibrium. The cerebellum controls movements, walking and talking. Some of the most serious conditions that can affect the cerebellum are tumors. Tumors located in the cerebellum interfere with normal functions, causing a wide range of symptoms.


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Symptoms of cerebellar tumors

The symptoms experienced by patients who have a cerebellar tumor will vary depending on the size, location, but also the type of the tumor. The speed at which the brain tumor is growing may also be an important factor in determining symptoms. However, what patients should know is that being careful at such symptoms and scheduling a doctor’s appointment in time may actually make the difference between life and death. Regardless of the type or location of these tumors, they have to be removed.

Below you can find a list of the most common symptoms that patients will experience.

  • Headaches;
  • Nausea;
  • Dizziness;
  • Difficulty with coordination and balance;
  • Confusion;
  • Disorientation;
  • Vision loss;
  • Speech difficulty;
  • Behavior changes;
  • Impaired memory.

Many of these symptoms can be associated with a wide range of other diseases. This is why, as soon as you feel that there may be something wrong with your health, you should seek medical assistance.


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Types

There are two main types of cerebellar tumors: primary and secondary tumors. They can be benign or malignant. Primary tumors are the tumors that originate in the cerebellum. On the other hand, secondary tumors are the ones that spread from other parts of the body and affect the cerebellum.

Medulloblastoma is one of the most serious types of tumors that originates in the cerebellum. This is a fast growing type of brain tumor, summing about 20 percent of all brain tumors found in both children and adults. Still, children are more affected by this tumor than adults. However, you should know that there are many other types of tumors that can be traced in the cerebellum. Cerebellar astrocytoma is another primary type of tumor located in the cerebellum.


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Diagnosis

In case you feel that something can be wrong with your health, schedule an appointment with your doctor. The physician will ask you about your symptoms and in case he has reasons to suspect that you may suffer from a cerebellar condition, you will be referred to a neurologist. This specialist will test reflexes, as well as hearing and vision. A magnetic resonance imaging test, as well as a computerized tomography may be recommended to confirm the suspicion in the diagnosing process. Additional tests may be performed with the purpose to measure the tumor’s activity, as well as to determine if it is cancerous or not.

Treatment

In most cases, specialists are going to recommend the surgical removal of the tumor found in the cerebellum. In case the tumor has started to spread, it can only be partially removal or may cause additional damage to the body, radiation and chemotherapy can also be recommended.


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Treating tumors in the cerebellum is extremely difficult. Even though people can overcome such conditions, these tumors cause numerous deaths, too, as they can be traced in highly advanced stages. This is why seeking medical assistance immediately after realizing that something may not be in order with your health is mandatory.

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All You Should Know About Ataxia

Filed under: Cerebellum - 13 Nov 2012  | Spread the word !

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Ataxia is a disease of the cerebellum. This condition is usually described by the lack of muscle coordination. Ataxia can affect normal movement, as well as speech, eye movement and the ability to swallow. The disease is commonly caused by damage to the cerebellum. It can be determined by a wide range of conditions, as well as by alcohol abuse, stroke, multiple sclerosis, tumors and cerebral palsy.

Starting the right treatment, as soon as the disease is developed is highly important. However, to be able to get an early diagnosis, you need to first know which are the symptoms of this disease. Ataxia is a condition that can be developed suddenly, so no symptoms will be experienced. The disease can also be developed over time, depending on its cause. When symptoms start being felt they will include the following:

  • Poor coordination;
  • Unsteady walk;
  • Tendency to stumble;
  • Change in speech;
  • Difficulty when swallowing;
  • Involuntary eye movement;
  • Difficulty in eating or writing, as well as in numerous other normal fine-motor tasks.

In case you lose balance and muscle coordination you should see a doctor as soon as possible. Other symptoms include difficulty walking and swallowing. In case you delay the doctor’s appointment, you may develop complications. The disease can evolve until becoming very serious and hard to cure, too.


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Causes

The main cause of ataxia is the damage, degeneration or loss of nerve cells in the cerebellum. Below you can find a list of some of the most important causes that have been associated to this disease:

  • Head trauma;
  • Stroke;
  • Transient ischemic attack;
  • Cerebral palsy;
  • Multiple sclerosis;
  • Chickenpox;
  • Paraneoplastic syndromes;
  • Tumor;
  • Toxic reactions.

Causes will vary from one case to another. Naturally, not all patients who have been submitted to the aforementioned risk factors will necessarily develop ataxia.

Diagnosis

There are several tests that can be used to diagnose ataxia. The physical and neurological exams will be included in all diagnosis processes. They check memory and concentration, as well as balance, coordination and reflexes. Other tests used in diagnosis include:

1. Blood tests to confirm a suspected condition. Specific blood tests will be recommended depending on the causes experienced by each patient.
2. Urine tests may also be required. They suppose taking a urine sample to check for abnormalities.
3. Imaging studies, CT scans, of the brain can also determine whether the patient is suffering from ataxia or not.
4. Lumbar puncture supposes the insertion of a needle into your lower back.
5. Genetic testing can be recommended to find out if there are any gene mutations that may determine the development of this condition.


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Treatment

One of the most important things you should know about ataxia treatment is that this is hard to cure disease. There is no specific treatment for this condition that can help you overcome it. However, there are several therapies that can be recommended in some cases. They can include physical therapy to built strength and enhance mobility, as well as therapy to improve speech and aid swallowing.

Ataxia is a disease of the cerebellum, such as other conditions of this type being extremely difficult to overcome. Getting the right treatment and receiving an early diagnosis can be crucial in achieving a cure as soon as possible.

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Can A Person Live Without A Cerebellum?

Filed under: Cerebellum - 10 Oct 2012  | Spread the word !

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Theoretically, no person would be able to leave a normal life without a cerebellum. But Chase Britton came to the world to prove the contrary. Chase Britton is the son of Heather and David, a couple who desired to have another child after their son Trey was born 11 weeks earlier than scheduled and died exactly the day he should have had a liver transplant that would have probably saved his life. After such a tragic loss, the couple was happy to find out Heather was pregnant again. Unfortunately, she gave birth prematurely once again. The boy, Chase, was born blind and when he was one year old doctors suspected he suffers of cerebral palsy. But what they discovered was absolutely incredible.

Again, theoretically, little Chase should not be able to live normally without a cerebellum. Of course, his life is a little bit harder than that of a regular kid, but fortunately, he has his parents and big brother Alex to help him all the time. According to what is known in the medical world, because of the lack of his cerebellum, the boy should not have balance, coordination skills, emotional control, language and learning abilities and motor control. He also misses the pons, not just the cerebellum and this should stop him from sleeping and breathing.

However, you have surely observed that Chase is a sweet and happy child who moves almost like any other and who learns slowly everything about the world around him. More astonishing in his case is also the fact that in the ultrasounds it’s perfectly clear that as a fetus, Chase has the cerebellum. 

For doctors and researchers in the medical area, Chase is a huge mystery and challenge, leading them to think that what they thought they knew about the cerebellum may be completely wrong. For his family, he is a little miracle that brings a smile on their face each day.

Chase Britton is making steps to develop his skills each day. Whether the doctors will ever be able to solve the mystery of his health or whether he will lead a normal adult life it is not known yet, but time will show everything.

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Disorders Of The Cerebellum

Filed under: Cerebellum - 11 Sep 2012  | Spread the word !

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The cerebellum is the area of the brain responsible with coordination and balance. This region in the human brain plays an important role in motor control. Patients can be diagnosed with a wide range of cerebellar disorders. Below you can find a list of the most frequently diagnosed such diseases. 


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1. Tumors 

Statistics show that approximately 15 to 20 percent of all tumors arise in the posterior fossa, where the cerebellum is located. These tumors can be classified in primary and secondary tumors. Primary tumors originate in the cerebellum. The secondary ones spread from other parts of the patient’s body. Surgery is recommended only in case the tumors can be removed without complications.


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Common symptoms:

  • Headaches that come suddenly, worst in the mornings;
  • Nausea;
  • Vomiting;
  • Trouble walking;
  • Confusion;
  • Dizziness;
  • Disorientation;
  • Cranial nerve damage.

Symptoms of cerebellum tumors most commonly affect muscular coordination, including walking and speech. They get worse as the tumor grows. Patients experiencing symptoms that may raise concern should schedule a doctor appointment as soon as possible.


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2. Ataxia

Ataxia, also known as loss of coordination, is a disease determined by the damage, degeneration or loss of nerve cells in the cerebellum.

Causes include:

  • Head trauma;
  • Stroke;
  • Transient ischemic attack;
  • Cerebral palsy;
  • Multiple sclerosis;
  • Toxic reaction;
  • Paraneoplastic syndromes.

Common symptoms:

  • Poor coordination;
  • Change in speech;
  • Unsteady walk;
  • Tendency to stumble;
  • Involuntary eye movement;
  • Difficulty in swallowing;
  • Difficulty with fine-motor tasks.

Ataxia is a condition which can develop over time, but it can also be formed suddenly. This aspect will mostly vary depending on the cause determining ataxia development. Patients experiencing balance and muscle coordination loss, who have difficulties in walking or speaking should seek medical assistance as soon as possible. There is no specific treatment for this disease, but various therapies can help.


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3. Degeneration

Cerebellar degeneration is a disease in which neurons in the cerebellum deteriorate or actually die. The process can be determined by inherited genetic mutations that alter the normal production of proteins. Specific proteins are crucial for neutrons normal development and health.

Cerebellar degeneration can be caused by many diseases specific to the brain. They include:

  • Hemorrhagic stroke;
  • Cerebellar cortical atrophy;
  • Friedreich’s ataxia;
  • Transmissible spongiform encephalopathies; 
  • Multiple sclerosis;
  • Chronic alcohol abuse;
  • Paraneoplastic disorders. 

Symptoms include:

  • Impaired balance;
  • Slurred speech;
  • Tremor;
  • Slow limb movements;
  • Wide-legged walk;
  • Unsteady walk;
  • Incoordination.

Wide-legged, unsteady, lurching walk usually is the most characteristic symptom of cerebellar degeneration. Rapid movements of the eyes, slowed and slurred speech, as well as tremor in the trunk of the body are also common symptoms of this brain condition. 


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There are numerous other medical problems that patients can develop due to cerebellar damage. They include strokes, specific tumors, hemorrhage, but also many others life-threatening conditions. Early diagnosis is important in all cases and it can actually make the difference between life and death.

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Main Functionality Principles Of The Cerebellum

Filed under: Facts - 03 Jul 2012  | Spread the word !

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The cerebellum is one of the most fascinating parts of the human brain, due to the fact that it has many functions and numerous studies have pointed out its importance in the system of the human body. The computational functions have always been under constant study, in the idea that the relative simplicity of the the anatomy of this part of the brain will be easily translated into these functions as well. However, the results provided have been rather elusive, but the finality of the research has ended in the identification of four main functionality principles.

The first principle is that of feedforward processing, which refers to the way in which the signal processing is in this part of the brain as opposed to all the others. The signals go through an input – output type of system, which means that they simply transgress the existing portions, without leaving marks or recurrences. The cases in which these occur are very rare. Divergence and convergence is the second principle. This refers to the fact that the number of the inputs received is rather modest. These signals are then taken into the network system of the small brain and are taken out at the end in the form of small number of output signals. This is also the process from which the different types of cells are initiated, as they comprise themselves in order to form new ones. This means that the mossy fiber cells are expanded into granule cells, from which the parallel fiber outputs are transformed into Purkinje cells.

Modularity is the third principle of the cerebellum. The small brain is divided into a series of numerous modules, which each have their internal processes through which they take inputs and release outputs. The module is formed out of a small cluster of neurons in the inferior olivary nucleus, strips of Purkinje cells in the cerebellar cortex and small neuron clusters in the deep cerebellar nuclei. Plasticity is the last of the principles of the small brain. It mainly refers to the strength of the synapses between various types of cells, fibers and nucleus. The fact that they can modify in strength brings out a sense of plasticity, through which the processes are alleviated. The importance of these principles is connected to the functions of the cerebellum and to the processes of the whole system.  

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Main Functions Of The Cerebellum And Their Processes

Filed under: Facts - 12 Jun 2012  | Spread the word !

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The functions of the cerebellum have been established on the basis of the affections that can come over them and on the way in which the organism reacts to these damages. The natural progression of understanding the functions and the way in which this part acts has been therefore placed under the research of the damages and of the affections that can happen to the small brain and to its reactions. From these studies, the researchers have been able to pinpoint some of the main functions of the small brain, the way in which they act and process, what are the issues that may affect these functions and how the entire proper and improper functionality can be rendered and treated. 

The main function that has surfaced out of the studies related to the damaging issues of the small brain have been connected with motor control. This means that the small brain is the one that coordinates the motor abilities of the body, in relation with movements of all kinds. Precision, movements, activity are just some of the functions, which have integrated into the general characteristic of the small brain and are also some of the most important ones for the correct activity of the human body in almost all daily instances. Some of the other smaller functions of it, which have been discovered much later on, have been connected to the processing of language, attention and imagery of the brain. Therefore, the small brain is also the one that coordinates some of our most important perceptions in relation to the way in which we conceive, imagine and understand the world around us and its most important factors and activities.

The cerebellum is therefore one of the very important parts of the human neurological system. Without it and its proper functionality, we would not be able to have all the connections made between what we want to do and the motor that helps us transform intention into action. The importance of the motor function, of the attention, imagination and language functions are valuable and vital for the way in which we live our lives, due to the fact that they are the ones to make us live properly in our world. As a result, the health of the cerebellum is one that must always be a priority and any change in the way we perceive these normal functions should be submitted to a medical consult.

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Cellular Components Of The Cerebellum

Filed under: Cerebellum - 10 May 2012  | Spread the word !

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The cellular components are the ones that form the internal structure of the cerebellum and the base of all the functions carried out by this part of the human organism. Analyzing the most important components of the cerebellum in terms of the cells will lead to the understanding of the functions taken up. It is important to know that these cells are the smallest parts of the cerebellum and that they are the ones to dictate all the actions of the small brain. The connection between the cells is done through a lined pathway as follows: mossy fiber, granule cells, parallel fibers, Purkinje cells and deep nuclei.

The mossy fibers are the ones to start up the processes in the cerebellum, due to the fact that they are the ones to create a sort of excitatory synapses, alongside with the granule cells. Through this action, the entire functionality of the cerebellum is started in the proper way and is ensured for the whole activity. The granule cells, which are also a part of the initial processing, are the smallest neurons in the cerebellum, but also the most numerous ones. These cells emit dendrites, which form enlargements together, called dendritic claws. The Purkinje cells are the earliest discoveries in the functionality of the cerebellum. They are also easily distinctive from the other neurons, due to the fact that they have a specific form for the dendritic tree. The deep nuclei are the ones through which the outputs are sent. They are formations of gray matter.

The importance of each of these components is major in the correct functionality of the cerebellum. With each new type of cell, a particular part of the cerebellum functions is taken up and the chain of reactions is carried out until the moment of the output result. All the cells have a specific purpose in the processes carried out by the cerebellum and must be in full and proper function for the perfect realization of all the typical functions. Studies carried on these are based on their particular characteristics and on the way in which they are connected.

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