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Structure and Function



It would be easy to write 10,000 words on the structure of the cerebellum; none of this is likely to be relevant clinically.

Simply put, it looks like a mini-brain, hanging below and behind the cerebral hemispheres. It lies behind the pons, and is connected to the brainstem by the cerebellar peduncles.


The cerebellum plays an important role in learning and co-ordinating motor functions.[1]

It is basically a motor spell check: it reads the brainstem

This magician has managed to make his entire body vanish. Sadly, he has also removed his cerebellum in the process, giving him the symptoms on the left.

through its connecting peduncles, looks at the motor and sensory information running up and down, and puts it all together to shout "You are going to fall over unless you contract this, this and this muscle!"

When cerebellums go wrong

There are a series of key symptoms seen in people with cerebellar disease/infarcts. They love to test this in exams, so learn VANISH'D, and learn how to examine it:

  • Vertigo
  • Ataxia
  • Nystagmus
  • Intention tremor
  • Slurred speech
  • Hypotonia
  • Dysdiadochokinesia

Arterial and Venous supply

The blood supply to the cerebellum comes from branches of the vertebral and basilar arteries. The three cerebellar arteries are[2] the:

  • Superior cerebellar artery (SCA)
  • Anterior inferior cerebellar artery (AICA)
  • Posterior inferior cerebellar artery (PICA)



Clinical Conditions

Sample Clinical Condition #1


  1. Neuroscience at a glance by Baker & Barasi 2nd Edition - Chapter 37 The Cerebellum: page 82
  2. HyperBrain Syllabus by Utah School of Medicine - Last accessed 19th March 2011

http://www.tchain.com/otoneurology/disorders/central/cerebellar.htm use this!