Cognitive and affective disturbances following focal cerebellar damage in adults: a neuropsychological and SPECT study
Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences
Faculty of Pharmaceutical, Biomedical and Veterinary Sciences . Biomedical Sciences
Cortex. - Milano
, p. 869-879
University of Antwerp
The traditional view on cerebellar functioning has recently been challenged by results fromneuroanatomical, neuroimaging and clinical studies. In this contribution, eighteen patients with primary cerebellar lesions (vascular: n ¼ 13; neoplastic: n ¼ 5) were systematically investigated by means of an extensive neuropsychological test battery. Fifteen patients (83%) presented with a broad variety of cognitive and linguistic deficits following cerebellar damage. Disturbances of attention (72%), executive functioning (50%) and memory (50%) were most commonly found. Analyses of our results tend to support the hypothesis of a lateralization of cognitive modulation within the cerebellum, the right cerebellar hemisphere being associated with logical reasoning and language processing and the left cerebellum mediating right-hemispheric functions including attentional and visuo-spatial skills. In addition, nine patients (50%) presented with frontal-like behavioural and affective alterations. In an attempt to determine the working-mechanism underlying cerebellarinduced cognitive and affective disturbances, all patients were investigated by means of quantified Tc-99m-ethylenecysteine dimer (ECD) single photon emission computerized tomography (SPECT) studies. From a semiological point of view, damage to the cerebellum can cause a broad spectrum of clinically significant cognitive and affective disturbances. From a pathophysiological point of view, quantified SPECT data, reflecting the phenomenon of cerebello-cerebral diaschisis, support the functional impact of the cerebellar lesion on cortical functioning through disruption of cerebello-cerebral connections.