The cerebellum, or more commonly known as the little brain, is a region of the brain that plays a very important role in the motor control of the body. The cerebellum can also be involved in some of the cognitive functions, such as attention and language, as well as regulating fear and pleasure responses. The cerebellum is not responsible for movement, but it contributes to coordination, precision and accurate timing. Due to its fine-tuning function, damage to the cerebellum does not have the effect of paralysis, but instead, it produces disorders in fine movement, equilibrium, posture, and motor learning.
The most common symptoms of a cerebellum disorder are related to motion. The specific symptoms depend on which part of the cerebellum is involved. Damage to the flocculonodular lobe, may have as consequences the loss of equilibrium, and an altered walking gait, with a wide stance that indicates difficulty in keeping the balance. Other symptoms of a cerebellum disorder or accident, may include decreased muscle tone, problems with speech articulation, the inability to perform rapid alternating movements, and tremors.
With aging, the human cerebellum also changes. These changes may differ from other parts of the brain. For instance, the gene expression pattern in the human cerebellum shows less age-related alteration than in the cerebral cortex. This phenomenon is due to the number of cells and the volume of tissue involved. In terms of tumor, the cerebellum is rarely affected by any type. There are, however cases of metastatic tumors, that occur only in the case of adults.
The cerebellum, just like the cerebral cortex, undergoes a process of progress and regress, throughout the entire period of our lives. Most importantly, people have to realize that it is important to keep the cerebellum healthy, in the sense that they should resort to special types of memory exercises, or even treatments that will strengthen it and reduce the damages done to the little brain. Therefore, maintaining a healthy lifestyle is crucial for the good functioning of the cerebellum and implicitly, of the whole organism.