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The cerebellum and cognitive function: Implications for rehabilitation

Authors
Journal
Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation
0003-9993
Publisher
Elsevier
Publication Date
Volume
77
Issue
12
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1016/s0003-9993(96)90197-5
Disciplines
  • Law
  • Medicine
  • Psychology

Abstract

Abstract Objective: To characterize the cognitive effects of isolated cerebellar lesions. Design: Review of two inpatient cases. Setting: The rehabilitation unit of a tertiary general hospital. Patients or Other Participants: Two patients with acute ischemic strokes who had solitary cerebellar infarcts. Interventions: Assessment with standard neuropsychological tests. Scores were compared with patients' premorbid levels and standardized test norms. A classical conditioning eyeblink paradigm was performed. Main Outcome Measures: Neuropsychological measures of intellectual and executive functions, learning and memory, visual-spatial abilities, language functioning, fine motor speed, and dexterity. Results: Test findings suggested lesion-associated deficits in higher aspects of cognition (visuospatial reasoning, verbal and visual memory, and intellectual and executive functions). These functions are not usually associated with the fundamentally motoric role of the cerebellum. Conclusions: (1) Lesions in the cerebellum can be associated with impairments in higher cognitive functioning. (2) Such effects may be severe enough for a diagnosis of dementia under current diagnostic criteria. (3) These rehabilitation patients may benefit from comprehensive cognitive examination to determine if cognitive effects will detract from their participation. (4) Further research is needed to localize which cerebellar areas affect which cognitive abilities.

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