Every part of the brain is significant. But, the cerebellum controls all your physical movement. So, it is one of the vital parts that can help you move according to your wish. The part of the brain plays an important role in your life like:
- Walk across the room or places
- Drive a car or bike
- Throw a ball
- See things from all directions (eye movement)
Any problem to the part of the brain can make your movement clumsy. It also leads to coordination difficulties. The issues with cerebellum can affect you rarely. But, it does not mean that you must not become aware of it. Therefore, the article will shed light on the location, function, and problems associated with the cerebellum. As the brain is an important part of the body, you need to learn everything. It will help you preserve the brain health.
Understanding Human Brain
The brain is the most significant part of the body. It is an integral part of the human nervous system. Along with the spinal cord, the brain makes the central nervous system. The brain controls most of the activities in your body. Be it processing the information, integrate it or coordinate it from the sense organs. It helps you make proper decisions. The brain aids in sending proper information to the rest of the body. So, you can perform your normal functions. As the brain is a sensitive organ, it needs protection. So, the skull bones protect the brain from any trauma or problems. The brain has three major parts:
What Is Cerebellum?
The cerebellum has two halves also known as hemispheres. You can locate it behind the brain stem’s upper part. Specifically, the location is where the brain meets the spinal cord. The region is significant in regulating the motor movements. It receives the information transmitted by the sensory system and controls the motor movements accordingly. Therefore, it coordinates the following in your body:
- Voluntary Movements
- Balanced Muscular Activity
- Learn Motor Behaviors
The cerebellum is not just present in human. Scientists have discovered that it is the oldest part of the brain. It has existed before the human. Before humans, the part has existed in the animals. With evolution, it is now present in humans. It looks small but has a significant impact on your body. Even with less than 10% weight of the brain, it has specialized cells. It contains more than half of the brain’s total neurons. The cells in the region can send information with the help of electric signals. Therefore, the problem of the region can lead to the following:
- It can result in a lack of balance
- Trigger shaking or tremors
- Unsteady motions
- Difficulty in completing complex tasks
But, damage to the area does not lead to intellectual impairment or paralysis. But, the problem with the area can have serious consequences.
Location Of Cerebellum
The cerebellum is the Latin word that literally means little brain. It is located near the brainstem. It is one of the major structure of your hindbrain. The cerebellum is the part of your brain that controls several functions in your body. You can find the cerebellum at the back portion of your skull. The exact location is below the occipital and temporal lobes. Your little brain is placed just above the brainstem.
Anatomy Of Cerebellum
When you observe the brain structure, the cerebellum looks like a separate structure. You can find the small structure beneath the cerebral cortex’s hemisphere.
At the visible level, the cerebellum has two major parts:
- Cortex: It is the crumpled layer that has white matter beneath it
- Ventricle: It is filled with fluid
You can see that it gets divided like the cerebral cortex into two hemispheres. When the parts get examined more closely, it has several functioning modules (microzones) that is laid out in a complex geometrical pattern. The astonishing fact is that the cerebellum makes only 10% of the brain. But, it contains more than 50% of the total neurons of the brain.
The brain controls several functions of your body. The cerebellum, in particular, controls several skills you require in daily life like:
- Motor Control
- Co-ordination of movements
To understand it better, read ahead. It will offer you comprehensive information about the cerebellum functions.
Co-ordination Of Body Movements
Mobility is an important factor that helps you move from one place to another. For the movement, several muscles work together to achieve the goal. Different muscle group works in motion for making a movement possible. The cerebellum does not initiate movements. But, it organizes all the actions in order for the specific movement. So, your body produces a smooth and coordinated movement. It helps in movements like:
- Throwing Ball
- Running, etc.
Posture And Balance
The cerebellum plays an important part in maintaining good balance and posture. When the cerebellum function gets impaired, it affects the balance and posture. One example to explain the situation is the situation that happens when people drink alcohol. Consuming alcohol can have an immediate effect on the brain. So, it affects the movements and coordination in the human body. It is the reason intoxicated people find it difficult to touch their own nose and walk in a straight line.
You need to fine-tune your motor skills to master a skill with perfection. When you learn a new skill, you go through trial and error. The cerebellum plays an important role in mastering a skill. So, it plays a significant part in the motor learning process.
Tumors are one of the main problems of the brain. It is the abnormal tissue growth inside the brain. The brain tumors can affect people irrespective of their age. The tumor may not spread outside the brain tissue. It mostly confines itself to the brain itself. The tumor has a benign or malignant nature. The common types of tumor that can affect the cerebellum are:
Your brain may have connective tissue cells known as astrocytes. Glial cell tumors are derived from the astrocytomas. The cerebellum is the main location of the glial cell tumors. So, the tumor that develops in the cerebellum is known as cerebellar astrocytomas. It is one of the most common types of brain tumor. Children are more prone to the issue.
The tumor also comes under the glial cell tumors category. In most cases, the ependymomas develop along the spinal cord or in the lining of the ventricles. But, in kids, it is commonly found near the cerebellum.
PNET (Primitive Neuroectodermal Tumors)
The PNET tumor can occur anywhere in the brain. But, the cerebellum is the most common place of the tumor. When the tumor occurs near the cerebellum, it gets referred to as medulloblastomas. The rapidly growing tumor can cause server issues. It blocks the draining of the cerebral spinal fluid (CSF). The CSF is quite important as it bathes the spinal cord and brain.
Symptoms Of Cerebellum Tumor
The tumor in the cerebellum region can cause severe distress in the body. You can experience the problems in your movement, vision, and coordination. It is due to the fact that tumor in the ‘small brain’ region can affect its functions. Therefore, the tumor can cause the signs or symptoms like:
- Suffer problems in the balance
- Elevated levels of intracranial pressure
- Loss of body coordination
- Difficulty in communication
- Problems in walking
- Flickering of eyes
- Suffer stiff neck
- Problems with using the hands (dexterity issues)
When you encounter the symptoms, then you need to seek the doctor’s appointment. Your doctor can perform the required test to detect the issue precisely.
Diagnosis Of Cerebellum Tumor
Your body signals the problems of your body by showing certain signs and symptoms. When you observe such changes in your body, it is better to get medical advice. The matters of the brain need special attention and good care. Once the complication becomes irreversible, you can lose the normal functions in the body. Therefore, seek appointment from doctor to get a proper diagnosis. Your doctor can use the following diagnostic tools to determine the actual problem:
The tumors in the cerebellum can cause problems with the reflexes, eye movement, alertness, and coordination. Therefore, your doctor orders the neurological exam to check it properly.
To diagnose brain tumors, imaging tests plays a crucial part. Your doctor can detect the tumor in the brain with different imaging techniques. The neurosurgeons usually visualize the tumor after administering a contrast agent into your body intravenously. So, the images can show the tumor against the normal background of the brain. The different imaging techniques used to detect the brain issues are:
MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging)
The MRI uses magnetic and sophisticated imaging techniques to detect the presence of a tumor. To, detect the tumor in the cerebellum region, your doctor uses frameless stereotactic guidance. It uses special markers before taking the MRI. Fiducials or the special markers are placed on the scalp. So, it helps to calculate the exact location of the tumor. Therefore, the imaging technique is highly useful during surgery. The neurosurgeon can determine the exact location with the images. So, it minimizes the injuries to the surrounding parts of the brain.
CT Scan (Computed Tomography)
The CT scan offers a comprehensive image of the brain. Using a contrast agent, the neurosurgeon can visualize the tumor. It can show the tumor precisely against the normal background of the brain.
With sophisticated imaging techniques, your doctor can diagnose the problem precisely. Based on the diagnosis, your doctor adopts the treatment plan.
Treatment Plan For Cerebellum Tumors
Depending on the severity of the tumor and its nature, your neurosurgeon decides an apt treatment. The treatment opted by the doctor focusses on providing your relief. It also aims to enhance the quality of life. Therefore, the treatment options available are:
In most cases, the surgery can offer you relief from the brain tumor. It is most ideal for the benign tumor in the cerebellum. After removing the tumor, your neurosurgeon sends it for examination. So, testing the tumor cells under the microscope can shed more light. It provides a proper diagnosis of the problem. Hence, your doctor decides further treatment. The next steps of the treatment may include radiation or chemotherapy.
At times, the neurosurgeon may not succeed in removing the malignant tumor completely. So, to avoid spreading of the tumor, your doctor opts radiation therapy. So, mostly the treatment technique overcomes the incomplete removal of a malignant tumor.
Sometimes surgery is not a viable option for the malignant tumor. So, your neurosurgeon can opt for chemotherapy to overcome the cancerous cerebellum tumor. The chemotherapy aims to destroy the cancerous cells affecting the brain.
For smaller tumors, your doctor can opt stereotactic radiosurgery. It uses a high focus radiation beam. It can target specific cancer cells. So, it effectively treats the cancer cells without any damage to surrounding tissue.
The tumor cells affecting the cerebellum may vary from one another. Sometimes, the low-grade tumor can escalate into a high-grade one. Without treatment, it may prove fatal. Therefore, you need to seek treatment at the right time to avoid complications.
Preventing Cerebellum Problems
Protecting the overall brain health can prevent damage to the cerebellum. It will help you have a good quality of life. You can avoid worrying about the possible complications to the brain. So, it can help overcome the negative effects on your life. So, you need to follow certain steps to ensure you maintain brain health.
Avoid Exposure To Toxic Elements
You need to limit your exposure to toxic elements. The overexposure to poison can lead to complications like stroke or brain injury. It also leads to cerebellum issues like ataxia. If you work in a place that increases your toxic exposure, the take preventive measures. So, follow proper safety guidelines to avoid complications.
Smoking can affect your health adversely. It can thicken your blood. So, it increases your blood pressure levels. Smoking can increase your probability of cerebellum problems. Therefore, quit smoking to reduce the adverse effects on your brain.
Alcohol consumption is bad for health. Consuming a large amount of alcohol can damage cerebellum. It can raise blood pressure. So, it ultimately results in a stroke. It can cause severe damage to your brain health. It is important to know the adverse effects of consuming alcohol and limit use.
Include Physical Exercise
Including regular physical activities in your daily life can promote health. The increased blood flow to the heart and its blood vessels can reduce several health risks. It reduces the accumulation of cholesterol and fat in your body. So, it prevents health risks like stroke. By including physical activity for just two and a half hours of exercise per week can enhance your quality of life.
Protecting your head from the trauma or injury can prevent any health risk. So, you need to follow the safety guidelines to avoid any health risk like:
- Wear seat belts while driving the car to prevent head injury during accidents.
- Helmets are necessary during the bike ride to avoid head trauma in the event of mishaps.
- Following all safety guidelines at home to reduce the risk of hazards (children must not have access to fire escapes or balconies).
Avoid Toxic Elements
Toxic elements like lead can increase the chances of brain problems. So, people working in the construction field need to maintain caution. Though the latest building technology strictly avoids lead, some old homes may have the lead presence. The old homes may have lead paint and pipes. Hence, people need to keep their home clean. The dust may have lead elements in it. Preventing kids from playing in the soil can also prevent brain problems.
The brain tumor in the cerebellum can affect your life adversely. The prognosis depends on the individual and the extent of the problem. With prompt medical attention, you have better chances to overcome the problem. Therefore, aggressive therapy can provide the best prognosis. Rehabilitation becomes a necessity when you lose motor skills or muscle strength. You need to continue it for some time to get back the normal functions of life. So, you need the assistance of occupational, physical, and speech therapists for rehabilitation. With new technology and treatment methods introduced each day, it can decrease the side-effects.
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