Disorders Of The Cerebellum

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.