It’s only been since just about 1998 that the cerebellum has been considered as more than just a brain part responsible for motor competencies. It was researcher Schmahmann that published three back-to-back game-changing papers in 1990, 1997 and 1998. All three investigated the role of the cerebellum in cognition, to some extent. Read more
Dr. Kacie Flegal, a pediatrics chiropractor, claims a positive correlation between keeping toddlers and babies barefoot and intelligence. Read more
The cost of being right… There is no doubt that being right can be empowering. That being said, is it actually contributing to our growth? Read more
ADHD affects 5% of children and is characterized by impulsiveness, hyperactivity and inattention. ADHD is also associated with abnormalities in the pre frontal cortex, cerebellum and basal ganglia. These areas are all involved in sensorimotor control. Read more
It appears to be that if kids with ADHD get distracted, barn owls do not. On that note, researchers at John Hopkins University in Baltimore are studying these birds in order to better understand how attention actually works. Read more
If it’s safe to admit that sensory stimulation is good for brain development, one can wonder how early does this stimulation need to begin in order to optimize such development. Read more
If it’s true that we often think of the cerebellum as a motor component of the central nervous system, a body of research is emerging as to showcase its non-motor roles. The cerebellum has been most recently shown to be of interest in the cases of ADHD, major depressive disorder, anxiety disorders and more.
This blog will delve into the contributions of the cerebellum in these three scenarios.
There are three diagnostic criteria for ADHD:
- Attention deficit;
If some believe that ADHD is a dysfunction of the frontal-sub cortical pathway, structural and functional neuro imaging studies show changes in the prefrontal cortex, cingulum, basal ganglia, corpus callosum, and cerebral total volume. It is important to note that it is via motor development that these areas are supposed to sync and grow in use.
To add to this, there are multiple studies that have reported cerebellar changes in ADHD.
Castellanos et al. scanned adolescents diagnosed with ADHD (age 15-18) as well as healthy controls, to measure changes over a decade of brain anatomy and volume.
They found volumetric abnormalities with reduced cerebrum and cerebellum size that increased with age.
Major depressive disorder (MDD)
To be diagnosed with MDD, one needs to experience at least one depressive episode that may involve both motor and cognitive symptoms.
Cognitive symptoms consist of difficulty concentrating or indecisiveness. They have been often linked to the prefrontal cortex and limbic system in MDD.
To add to this, in addition to these brain regions, patients with MDD have also shown various abnormalities in the cerebellum.
Yucel et al. found a significantly smaller vermis, an area responsible for the regulation of emotion and cognition, in MDD patients compared to healthy controls.
When one considers that the vermis is responsible for posture and locomotion, it could be interesting to study the effects of a postural intervention on MDD.
Anxiety disorders are associated with excessive fear and anxiety. These disorders are often accompanied by autonomic reactions, such as muscle tension and elevated heart rate.
It has been reported that impairment of the cerebellum could be linked to a few disorders where anxiety is present, such as post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), and social anxiety disorder (SAD).
In conclusion, if one considers the possible effect that the cerebellum can have on someone’s health, maybe we should consider the relative importance of proprioception for performance, and that, on so many levels.
Many people are wondering what are the substrates of academic success. One often comes to think that one must simply repeat and repeat a particular activity constantly to improve. Read more
One reads in order to comprehend. That being said, to comprehend, decoding must be mastered. Why is it then that some can comprehend but have a hard time with decoding when it is decoding that is important for comprehension? Read more
I, without the shadow of a doubt, have been caught before speaking about motricity and cognition.
In 2013, a study out of Northwestern University, Dr. Nina Kraus showed a relationship between neural response consistency and ability to keep a beat. She has a particular interest in studying the relationships between speech, music and learning.
It is more than a 100 high school students that were studied in order to realize that there are surprising links between music, rhythmic abilities and language skills.
This study is actually the first to provide biological evidence linking the ability to keep a beat to the neural encoding of speech sounds. According to Kraus, this has significant implications for reading.
In the Journal of Neuroscience, on September 18th, a link was published between reading ability and beat keeping.
What this current study demonstrates is that accurate beat keeping involves synchronization between the parts of the brain responsible for hearing as well as movement.
Kraus adds: “rhythm is an integral part of both music and language and the rhythm of spoken language is a crucial cue to understanding”.
When one considers that the cerebellum is highly involved in rhythm production an that it is also responsible for activating the pre frontal areas where language is produced, maybe there actually is something about these coordination exercises suggested in the context of Functional Neurology in terms of improving both movement and learning!
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Mat Boulé, Osteopath, Posturologist, Educator
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