5 curiosities about the cerebellum
This organ is one of the most important parts of the brain, and it has many curious aspects.
When we think of the inside of the head, we usually imagine a brain directly. With its gray structure with lobes, and its somewhat amorphous mass. The brain, however, is just another part of the encephalon, which is considered the most important organ of the body.
Today we will explain one of its parts: the cerebellum. We will see what its physiological functions are, its anatomical location, why it is so important for our organism, and finally we will review the following curiosities about the cerebellum.
What is the cerebellum?
One of the curiosities about the cerebellum is its location. The cerebellum, as we have already seen, is a part of the encephalon. The encephalon consists of five parts: cerebrum, cerebellum, midbrain, pons and medulla oblongata. The encephalon is an organ of nervous mass contained within the skull.
This organ in turn is enveloped by the meninges, which are three membranes called, from exterior to interior: dura mater, arachnoid and pia mater. These membranes are made up of connective tissue that cover the entire central nervous system, providing soft protection below the hard protection of the bony structures.
The cerebellum is located in the posterior part of the brain and is formed by nervous tissue.. Its basic function and par excellence is to be in charge of muscular coordination and involuntary movements.
It processes information coming from other areas of the brain, the spinal cord and sensory receptors. Once the information is processed, it is translated into the indication of the exact time to perform coordinated movements of the skeletal muscular system. of the skeletal muscular system.
Curiosities about the cerebellum
This organ measures approximately 10 cm wide and 5 cm high and weighs about 150-160 grams (considering an adult cerebellum), and is involved in virtually all skeletal muscle movements. Here we will see some curiosities about the cerebellum that show how it works, what it looks like and some facts about how it has been studied.
Origin of the name
The word "cerebellum" comes from Latin and its literal meaning is "small brain".. This name is perfect because the size of the cerebellum is much smaller than that of the brain (the cerebellum is 10% of the brain in terms of size).
There are references that associate the creation of the term to Leonardo Da Vinci - who carried out advanced studies on neurology - for the first time in 1504.
The cerebellum is involved in a series of actions, from basic to complex, such as driving, passing an object, throwing a ball, crossing a bridge or playing an instrument. The cerebellum enables the body to move smoothly, maintain a state of equilibrium, coordinate eye movements, coordinate eye movements, and maintain a state of balance.The cerebellum allows the body to move smoothly, coordinate eye movements, motor learning (e.g. riding a horse) and other similar functions.
It was during the 19th century when research and experimentation with this part of the brain began in France. One of the first discoveries that came to light was that the surgical removal of the cerebellum produced disorders of movement and muscular coordination.
On the other hand, it is known that the cerebellum is involved in the regulation of emotions and cognitive processes.. It is in charge of relating emotional states with lived experiences, maintaining these sensations over time. On the other hand, it intervenes in the learning process of these emotions.
The cerebellum has also been related to connections between other areas of the cerebral cortex and therefore, with cognitive processes such as memory. There have even been studies that relate the size of the cerebellum with the intelligence of the person.
3. Diseases of the cerebellum
Other curiosities about the cerebellum are its diseases. It is known that the most common symptoms of a mild cerebellar disorder are: lack of muscle control and coordination. are: lack of muscle control and coordination, difficulty in walking or gait, unusual eye movements and headaches (typical headaches).
On the other hand, and since it became evident that the cerebellum was involved in movement, diseases that could affect this organ began to be studied. Thus, it was seen that most of the important diseases derived from some involvement of the cerebellum were related to movement, although cerebral hemorrhages, strokes, genetic malformations or cerebellar tumors are also considered.
Ataxia consists of the loss of muscular coordination and control as a result of a problem with the cerebellum.In this case what happens is that parts of the cerebellum (nervous system) that control movement have been damaged. Ataxia may be reversible when the cause is treated. In other cases, it may disappear on its own.
The causes of damage to the cerebellum (nervous system) are various: exposure to toxins (alcoholic beverages, certain medications, heavy metals such as mercury and lead, solvents such as those used in paint, etc.), exposure to viruses such as chickenpox or HIV, or strokes.
Hypotonia consists of the decrease in muscle tone and its consequent sluggishness and flaccidity.. This condition in itself is not of great concern - unless in infants or young children - but it is often a symptom of another underlying disease.
3.3. Uncontrolled tremors
Cerebellar-type tremors are caused by lesions in the cerebellum and involve spasms and involuntary movements. Its severity depends on the frequency of the spasms, the amplitude of the involuntary movements, the intensity and the rapidity of onset of these symptoms.
4. Its concentration of neurons is high
More curiosities about the cerebellum are the following. It is known that in the cerebellum are found approximately 50% of all the neurons present in the brain.. This is really curious because the size of the cerebellum with respect to the brain is 10%.
5. There are cases of people without cerebellum
After this detailed description of the functions of the cerebellum, it is difficult to believe that a human being can live without this organ. However, there are studies that document the existence of people who were born without a cerebellum.
What's more, there are there are almost a few recorded cases in the world of adults without a cerebellum, i.e., born without a cerebellum.that is to say, they were born without a cerebellum and did not die prematurely. This phenomenon demonstrates the survival and adaptive plastic capacity of the human brain to the surrounding environment.
How to maintain a healthy cerebellum
Maintaining good health in the organism is key to enjoying a quality of life. Intrinsic to this is taking care of our head and a healthy cerebellum.
For example, avoiding the risk of Cardiovascular accidents by giving up smoking and practicing physical exercise, limiting alcohol consumption (it damages the cerebellum), protecting the head at a physical level (and more so if we are exposed to accidents) or avoiding handling lead (as it can intoxicate the cerebellum chronically).
- Gerard J. Tortora, Bryan Derrickson (2018). Principles of Anatomy and Physiology. Editorial Médica Panamericana S.A. 15th Edition.
- Guyton and Hall (2016). Tratado De Fisiología Médica. Editorial Elsevier. 13th Edition.
- Schünke Michael, Schulte Erick, Schumacher Udo (2014). General anatomy and locomotor system. Editorial Médica Panamericana S.A. 3rd Edition.
(Updated at Mar 28 / 2023)