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Cerebellar Disorders

Cerebellar disorders are a specific set of neurologic signs and symptoms caused by local or systemic conditions that affect Affect The feeling-tone accompaniment of an idea or mental representation. It is the most direct psychic derivative of instinct and the psychic representative of the various bodily changes by means of which instincts manifest themselves. Psychiatric Assessment the cerebellum Cerebellum The cerebellum, Latin for "little brain," is located in the posterior cranial fossa, dorsal to the pons and midbrain, and its principal role is in the coordination of movements. The cerebellum consists of 3 lobes on either side of its 2 hemispheres and is connected in the middle by the vermis. Cerebellum: Anatomy; the classic sign is ataxia Ataxia Impairment of the ability to perform smoothly coordinated voluntary movements. This condition may affect the limbs, trunk, eyes, pharynx, larynx, and other structures. Ataxia may result from impaired sensory or motor function. Sensory ataxia may result from posterior column injury or peripheral nerve diseases. Motor ataxia may be associated with cerebellar diseases; cerebral cortex diseases; thalamic diseases; basal ganglia diseases; injury to the red nucleus; and other conditions. Ataxia-telangiectasia, in addition to several other motor Motor Neurons which send impulses peripherally to activate muscles or secretory cells. Nervous System: Histology abnormalities that affect Affect The feeling-tone accompaniment of an idea or mental representation. It is the most direct psychic derivative of instinct and the psychic representative of the various bodily changes by means of which instincts manifest themselves. Psychiatric Assessment coordination. The causes of cerebellar disorders range from acute alcohol intoxication Alcohol intoxication An acute brain syndrome which results from the excessive ingestion of ethanol or alcoholic beverages. Alcohol Use Disorder to inherited conditions. Clinical presentation Presentation The position or orientation of the fetus at near term or during obstetric labor, determined by its relation to the spine of the mother and the birth canal. The normal position is a vertical, cephalic presentation with the fetal vertex flexed on the neck. Normal and Abnormal Labor is with incoordination of voluntary muscle movement, affected ocular movements, speech, gait Gait Manner or style of walking. Neurological Examination, balance, and muscle tone Muscle tone The state of activity or tension of a muscle beyond that related to its physical properties, that is, its active resistance to stretch. In skeletal muscle, tonus is dependent upon efferent innervation. Skeletal Muscle Contraction. The diagnosis is initially made clinically and then followed by imaging studies to determine the etiology; management depends on the specific etiology.

Last updated: 15 Dec, 2021

Editorial responsibility: Stanley Oiseth, Lindsay Jones, Evelin Maza

Overview

Definition

Cerebellar disorders are a specific set of neurologic signs and symptoms caused by local or systemic conditions that affect Affect The feeling-tone accompaniment of an idea or mental representation. It is the most direct psychic derivative of instinct and the psychic representative of the various bodily changes by means of which instincts manifest themselves. Psychiatric Assessment the cerebellum Cerebellum The cerebellum, Latin for “little brain,” is located in the posterior cranial fossa, dorsal to the pons and midbrain, and its principal role is in the coordination of movements. The cerebellum consists of 3 lobes on either side of its 2 hemispheres and is connected in the middle by the vermis. Cerebellum: Anatomy; the classic sign is ataxia Ataxia Impairment of the ability to perform smoothly coordinated voluntary movements. This condition may affect the limbs, trunk, eyes, pharynx, larynx, and other structures. Ataxia may result from impaired sensory or motor function. Sensory ataxia may result from posterior column injury or peripheral nerve diseases. Motor ataxia may be associated with cerebellar diseases; cerebral cortex diseases; thalamic diseases; basal ganglia diseases; injury to the red nucleus; and other conditions. Ataxia-telangiectasia, in addition to several other motor Motor Neurons which send impulses peripherally to activate muscles or secretory cells. Nervous System: Histology abnormalities that affect Affect The feeling-tone accompaniment of an idea or mental representation. It is the most direct psychic derivative of instinct and the psychic representative of the various bodily changes by means of which instincts manifest themselves. Psychiatric Assessment coordination.

Epidemiology

  • Inherited/ congenital Congenital Chorioretinitis etiologies: usually diagnosed at birth or during infancy
  • Vascular etiologies Vascular etiologies Secondary headache disorders attributed to a variety of cranial or cervical vascular disorders, such as brain ischemia; intracranial hemorrhages; and central nervous system vascular malformations. High-Risk Headaches: seen around ≥ 50 years of age
  • Both sexes are affected equally, but men display more gait Gait Manner or style of walking. Neurological Examination abnormalities. 

Etiologies

  • Vascular: posterior circulation Circulation The movement of the blood as it is pumped through the cardiovascular system. ABCDE Assessment stroke (e.g., lateral medullary syndrome Lateral Medullary Syndrome Lateral medullary syndrome (also known as Wallenberg syndrome, posterior inferior cerebellar artery (PICA) syndrome, and vertebral artery syndrome) is a neurological constellation of symptoms and signs due to obstruction in vessels supplying the medulla, resulting in brainstem ischemia or infarction. Lateral Medullary Syndrome (Wallenberg Syndrome))
  • Autoimmune: 
  • Space-occupying lesions:
    • Posterior fossa tumors (e.g., medulloblastoma Medulloblastoma Medulloblastomas are malignant primitive neuroectodermal tumors that arise in the posterior fossa in children. Medulloblastomas are the most common malignant brain tumors in children. Patients with medulloblastoma present with symptoms of increased intracranial pressure and cerebellar signs, which both evolve and worsen over weeks to a few months. Medulloblastoma, astrocytoma Astrocytoma Astrocytomas are neuroepithelial tumors that arise from astrocytes, which are star-shaped glial cells (supporting tissues of the CNS). Astrocytomas are a type of glioma. There are 4 grades of astrocytomas. Astrocytoma, hemangioblastoma Hemangioblastoma Hemangioblastomas are vascular neoplasms of the CNS. Hemangioblastomas are rare and are often associated with von Hippel-Lindau disease (VHL). The most common presentation is a headache and, depending on the size and location of the tumor, patients may present with sensory deficits and motor weakness. Hemangioblastoma, metastatic lesions)
    • Neurofibromatosis
    • Schwannomas
  • Toxic/metabolic:
    • Hypothyroidism Hypothyroidism Hypothyroidism is a condition characterized by a deficiency of thyroid hormones. Iodine deficiency is the most common cause worldwide, but Hashimoto’s disease (autoimmune thyroiditis) is the leading cause in non-iodine-deficient regions. Hypothyroidism 
    • Vitamin B12 deficiency
    • Celiac disease Celiac disease Celiac disease (also known as celiac sprue or gluten enteropathy) is an autoimmune reaction to gliadin, which is a component of gluten. Celiac disease is closely associated with HLA-DQ2 and HLA-DQ8. The immune response is localized to the proximal small intestine and causes the characteristic histologic findings of villous atrophy, crypt hyperplasia, and intraepithelial lymphocytosis. Celiac Disease
    • Wilson disease
    • Chronic alcohol use
  • Infectious Infectious Febrile Infant:
    • Enteroviruses
    • HIV HIV Anti-HIV Drugs (leukoencephalopathy)
    • Neurosyphilis Neurosyphilis Infections of the central nervous system caused by treponema pallidum which present with a variety of clinical syndromes. The initial phase of infection usually causes a mild or asymptomatic meningeal reaction. The meningovascular form may present acutely as brain infarction. The infection may also remain subclinical for several years. Late syndromes include general paresis; tabes dorsalis; meningeal syphilis; syphilitic optic atrophy; and spinal syphilis. General paresis is characterized by progressive dementia; dysarthria; tremor; myoclonus; seizures; and argyll-robertson pupils. Syphilis
    • Toxoplasmosis Toxoplasmosis Toxoplasmosis is an infectious disease caused by Toxoplasma gondii, an obligate intracellular protozoan parasite. Felines are the definitive host, but transmission to humans can occur through contact with cat feces or the consumption of contaminated foods. The clinical presentation and complications depend on the host’s immune status. Toxoplasma/Toxoplasmosis
    • Borreliosis ( Lyme disease Lyme disease Lyme disease is a tick-borne infection caused by the gram-negative spirochete Borrelia burgdorferi. Lyme disease is transmitted by the black-legged Ixodes tick (known as a deer tick), which is only found in specific geographic regions. Patient presentation can vary depending on the stage of the disease and may include a characteristic erythema migrans rash. Lyme Disease)
    • Prion diseases (e.g., Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease A rare transmissible encephalopathy most prevalent between the ages of 50 and 70 years. Affected individuals may present with sleep disturbances, personality changes, ataxia; aphasia, visual loss, weakness, muscle atrophy, myoclonus, progressive dementia, and death within one year of disease onset. A familial form exhibiting autosomal dominant inheritance and a new variant cjd (potentially associated with bovine spongiform encephalopathy) have been described. Pathological features include prominent cerebellar and cerebral cortical spongiform degeneration and the presence of prions. Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathies)
  • Inherited/ congenital Congenital Chorioretinitis:
    • Ataxia Ataxia Impairment of the ability to perform smoothly coordinated voluntary movements. This condition may affect the limbs, trunk, eyes, pharynx, larynx, and other structures. Ataxia may result from impaired sensory or motor function. Sensory ataxia may result from posterior column injury or peripheral nerve diseases. Motor ataxia may be associated with cerebellar diseases; cerebral cortex diseases; thalamic diseases; basal ganglia diseases; injury to the red nucleus; and other conditions. Ataxia-telangiectasia telangiectasia Telangiectasia Permanent dilation of preexisting blood vessels creating small focal red lesions, most commonly in the skin or mucous membranes. It is characterized by the prominence of skin blood vessels, such as vascular spiders. Chronic Venous Insufficiency
    • Friedreich ataxia Ataxia Impairment of the ability to perform smoothly coordinated voluntary movements. This condition may affect the limbs, trunk, eyes, pharynx, larynx, and other structures. Ataxia may result from impaired sensory or motor function. Sensory ataxia may result from posterior column injury or peripheral nerve diseases. Motor ataxia may be associated with cerebellar diseases; cerebral cortex diseases; thalamic diseases; basal ganglia diseases; injury to the red nucleus; and other conditions. Ataxia-telangiectasia
    • Von Hippel-Lindau syndrome
    • Chiari malformation
    • Dandy-Walker syndrome
    • Spinocerebellar ataxias
    • Episodic ataxias
  • Medications/ingestions:
    • Phenytoin Phenytoin An anticonvulsant that is used to treat a wide variety of seizures. The mechanism of therapeutic action is not clear, although several cellular actions have been described including effects on ion channels, active transport, and general membrane stabilization. Phenytoin has been proposed for several other therapeutic uses, but its use has been limited by its many adverse effects and interactions with other drugs. First-Generation Anticonvulsant Drugs
    • Carbamazepine Carbamazepine A dibenzazepine that acts as a sodium channel blocker. It is used as an anticonvulsant for the treatment of grand mal and psychomotor or focal seizures. It may also be used in the management of bipolar disorder, and has analgesic properties. First-Generation Anticonvulsant Drugs
    • Lithium Lithium An element in the alkali metals family. It has the atomic symbol li, atomic number 3, and atomic weight [6. 938; 6. 997]. Salts of lithium are used in treating bipolar disorder. Ebstein’s Anomaly
    • Cytarabine Cytarabine A pyrimidine nucleoside analog that is used mainly in the treatment of leukemia, especially acute non-lymphoblastic leukemia. Cytarabine is an antimetabolite antineoplastic agent that inhibits the synthesis of DNA. Its actions are specific for the s phase of the cell cycle. It also has antiviral and immunosuppressant properties. Antimetabolite Chemotherapy ( ara-C ara-C A pyrimidine nucleoside analog that is used mainly in the treatment of leukemia, especially acute non-lymphoblastic leukemia. Cytarabine is an antimetabolite antineoplastic agent that inhibits the synthesis of DNA. Its actions are specific for the s phase of the cell cycle. It also has antiviral and immunosuppressant properties. Antimetabolite Chemotherapy) chemotherapy Chemotherapy Osteosarcoma
    • Nitrous oxide Nitrous oxide Nitrogen oxide (N2O). A colorless, odorless gas that is used as an anesthetic and analgesic. High concentrations cause a narcotic effect and may replace oxygen, causing death by asphyxia. Inhaled Anesthetics
    • Alcohol
  • Other causes:
    • Gluten Gluten Prolamins in the endosperm of seeds from the triticeae tribe which includes species of wheat; barley; and rye. Celiac Disease enteropathy Enteropathy IPEX Syndrome
    • Paraneoplastic syndromes Paraneoplastic syndromes Paraneoplastic syndromes are a heterogeneous group of disorders caused by an abnormal immune response to a neoplasm. The substances produced are not due to the direct effect of the tumor, such as metastasis, mass effect, or invasion. Antibodies, hormones, cytokines, and other substances are generated and affect multiple organ systems. Paraneoplastic Syndromes (e.g., small cell lung cancer Lung cancer Lung cancer is the malignant transformation of lung tissue and the leading cause of cancer-related deaths. The majority of cases are associated with long-term smoking. The disease is generally classified histologically as either small cell lung cancer or non-small cell lung cancer. Symptoms include cough, dyspnea, weight loss, and chest discomfort. Lung Cancer)

Pathophysiology and Clinical Presentation

Details regarding pathophysiology and presentation Presentation The position or orientation of the fetus at near term or during obstetric labor, determined by its relation to the spine of the mother and the birth canal. The normal position is a vertical, cephalic presentation with the fetal vertex flexed on the neck. Normal and Abnormal Labor depend on the specific underlying etiology.

Pathophysiology

  • Cerebellar injury → loss of adequate cerebellar function ensues → neurologic signs and symptoms related to area of injury
  • Symptoms are related to the affected anatomy:
    • Vermis: controls axial Axial Computed Tomography (CT) equilibrium Equilibrium Occurs when tumor cells survive the initial elimination attempt These cells are not able to progress, being maintained in a state of dormancy by the adaptive immune system. In this phase, tumor immunogenicity is edited, where T cells keep selectively attacking highly immunogenic tumor cells.This attack leaves other cells with less immunogenicity to potentially develop resistance to the immune response. Cancer Immunotherapy (balance) → abnormal truncal posture 
    • Hemispheres: control peripheral equilibrium Equilibrium Occurs when tumor cells survive the initial elimination attempt These cells are not able to progress, being maintained in a state of dormancy by the adaptive immune system. In this phase, tumor immunogenicity is edited, where T cells keep selectively attacking highly immunogenic tumor cells.This attack leaves other cells with less immunogenicity to potentially develop resistance to the immune response. Cancer Immunotherapy (extremities) → ataxia Ataxia Impairment of the ability to perform smoothly coordinated voluntary movements. This condition may affect the limbs, trunk, eyes, pharynx, larynx, and other structures. Ataxia may result from impaired sensory or motor function. Sensory ataxia may result from posterior column injury or peripheral nerve diseases. Motor ataxia may be associated with cerebellar diseases; cerebral cortex diseases; thalamic diseases; basal ganglia diseases; injury to the red nucleus; and other conditions. Ataxia-telangiectasia 
    • Flocculonodular lobe Flocculonodular lobe Cerebellum: Anatomy: control eye movements

Clinical presentation Presentation The position or orientation of the fetus at near term or during obstetric labor, determined by its relation to the spine of the mother and the birth canal. The normal position is a vertical, cephalic presentation with the fetal vertex flexed on the neck. Normal and Abnormal Labor

Mnemonic: “DANISH”

  • Dysdiadochokinesia (difficulty with rapid alternating movements)/dysmetria (past-pointing)
  • Ataxia (unsteady or wide-based gait Wide-based gait Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus)
  • Nystagmus
  • Intention tremor Tremor Cyclical movement of a body part that can represent either a physiologic process or a manifestation of disease. Intention or action tremor, a common manifestation of cerebellar diseases, is aggravated by movement. In contrast, resting tremor is maximal when there is no attempt at voluntary movement, and occurs as a relatively frequent manifestation of parkinson disease. Myotonic Dystrophies
  • Speech (slurred or scanning)
  • Hypotonia

Diagnosis

Diagnosis starts with clinical examination findings and is confirmed by diagnostic imaging and/or laboratory studies when warranted by clinical suspicion. 

History

Table: Causes for the onset of cerebellar disorders
Type Causes
Acute
  • Transitory: acute intoxication (e.g., with alcohol)
  • Reversible: hypothyroidism Hypothyroidism Hypothyroidism is a condition characterized by a deficiency of thyroid hormones. Iodine deficiency is the most common cause worldwide, but Hashimoto’s disease (autoimmune thyroiditis) is the leading cause in non-iodine-deficient regions. Hypothyroidism ( myxedema Myxedema A condition characterized by a dry, waxy type of swelling (edema) with abnormal deposits of mucopolysaccharides in the skin and other tissues. It is caused by a deficiency of thyroid hormones. The skin becomes puffy around the eyes and on the cheeks. The face is dull and expressionless with thickened nose and lips. Edema)
  • Enduring effects:
    • Trauma
    • Vascular (e.g., stroke)
Subacute
  • Space-occupying lesions
  • Nutritional problems related to alcohol abuse (e.g., vitamin B12 deficiency)
  • Paraneoplastic cerebellar degeneration Paraneoplastic cerebellar degeneration Cerebellar degeneration associated with a remote neoplasm. Clinical manifestations include progressive limb and gait ataxia; dysarthria; and nystagmus, pathologic. The histologic type of the associated neoplasm is usually carcinoma or lymphoma. Pathologically the cerebellar cortex and subcortical nuclei demonstrate diffuse degenerative changes. Anti-purkinje cell antibodies (anti-yo) are found in the serum of approximately 50% of affected individuals. Paraneoplastic Syndromes
  • Multiple sclerosis Multiple Sclerosis Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic inflammatory autoimmune disease that leads to demyelination of the nerves in the CNS. Young women are more predominantly affected by this most common demyelinating condition. Multiple Sclerosis ( demyelination Demyelination Multiple Sclerosis)
  • Cerebral abscess Abscess Accumulation of purulent material in tissues, organs, or circumscribed spaces, usually associated with signs of infection. Chronic Granulomatous Disease
  • HIV HIV Anti-HIV Drugs-related leukoencephalopathy
  • Prion diseases (e.g., Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease A rare transmissible encephalopathy most prevalent between the ages of 50 and 70 years. Affected individuals may present with sleep disturbances, personality changes, ataxia; aphasia, visual loss, weakness, muscle atrophy, myoclonus, progressive dementia, and death within one year of disease onset. A familial form exhibiting autosomal dominant inheritance and a new variant cjd (potentially associated with bovine spongiform encephalopathy) have been described. Pathological features include prominent cerebellar and cerebral cortical spongiform degeneration and the presence of prions. Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathies)
Chronic
  • Celiac disease Celiac disease Celiac disease (also known as celiac sprue or gluten enteropathy) is an autoimmune reaction to gliadin, which is a component of gluten. Celiac disease is closely associated with HLA-DQ2 and HLA-DQ8. The immune response is localized to the proximal small intestine and causes the characteristic histologic findings of villous atrophy, crypt hyperplasia, and intraepithelial lymphocytosis. Celiac Disease
  • Wilson disease
  • Inherited ataxias (e.g., Friedreich ataxia Ataxia Impairment of the ability to perform smoothly coordinated voluntary movements. This condition may affect the limbs, trunk, eyes, pharynx, larynx, and other structures. Ataxia may result from impaired sensory or motor function. Sensory ataxia may result from posterior column injury or peripheral nerve diseases. Motor ataxia may be associated with cerebellar diseases; cerebral cortex diseases; thalamic diseases; basal ganglia diseases; injury to the red nucleus; and other conditions. Ataxia-telangiectasia)
  • Congenital malformations Congenital malformations Congenital malformations or teratogenic birth defects are developmental disorders that arise before birth during the embryonic or fetal period. The rate of incidence for children born alive is approximately 3%. Teratogenic Birth Defects (e.g., Chiari malformation)

Physical examination

  • Complete neurologic exam, including:
    • Eyes:
      • Extraocular movements
      • Evaluate for nystagmus Nystagmus Involuntary movements of the eye that are divided into two types, jerk and pendular. Jerk nystagmus has a slow phase in one direction followed by a corrective fast phase in the opposite direction, and is usually caused by central or peripheral vestibular dysfunction. Pendular nystagmus features oscillations that are of equal velocity in both directions and this condition is often associated with visual loss early in life. Albinism
      • Optic atrophy Atrophy Decrease in the size of a cell, tissue, organ, or multiple organs, associated with a variety of pathological conditions such as abnormal cellular changes, ischemia, malnutrition, or hormonal changes. Cellular Adaptation on fundoscopy Fundoscopy Cranial Nerve Palsies (Friedreich ataxia Ataxia Impairment of the ability to perform smoothly coordinated voluntary movements. This condition may affect the limbs, trunk, eyes, pharynx, larynx, and other structures. Ataxia may result from impaired sensory or motor function. Sensory ataxia may result from posterior column injury or peripheral nerve diseases. Motor ataxia may be associated with cerebellar diseases; cerebral cortex diseases; thalamic diseases; basal ganglia diseases; injury to the red nucleus; and other conditions. Ataxia-telangiectasia)
    • Cranial nerve testing
    • Evaluate gait Gait Manner or style of walking. Neurological Examination:
      • Ataxia Ataxia Impairment of the ability to perform smoothly coordinated voluntary movements. This condition may affect the limbs, trunk, eyes, pharynx, larynx, and other structures. Ataxia may result from impaired sensory or motor function. Sensory ataxia may result from posterior column injury or peripheral nerve diseases. Motor ataxia may be associated with cerebellar diseases; cerebral cortex diseases; thalamic diseases; basal ganglia diseases; injury to the red nucleus; and other conditions. Ataxia-telangiectasia/ wide-based gait Wide-based gait Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus
      • Slow initiation of movement
      • Ataxic “intention” tremor Tremor Cyclical movement of a body part that can represent either a physiologic process or a manifestation of disease. Intention or action tremor, a common manifestation of cerebellar diseases, is aggravated by movement. In contrast, resting tremor is maximal when there is no attempt at voluntary movement, and occurs as a relatively frequent manifestation of parkinson disease. Myotonic Dystrophies: side-to-side oscillation as movement approaches a target in space
      • Uneven and inconsistent strides, lurching (especially when turning)
    • Listen for dysarthria Dysarthria Disorders of speech articulation caused by imperfect coordination of pharynx, larynx, tongue, or face muscles. This may result from cranial nerve diseases; neuromuscular diseases; cerebellar diseases; basal ganglia diseases; brain stem diseases; or diseases of the corticobulbar tracts. The cortical language centers are intact in this condition. Wilson’s Disease
      • Slurred speech
      • Scanning dysarthria Dysarthria Disorders of speech articulation caused by imperfect coordination of pharynx, larynx, tongue, or face muscles. This may result from cranial nerve diseases; neuromuscular diseases; cerebellar diseases; basal ganglia diseases; brain stem diseases; or diseases of the corticobulbar tracts. The cortical language centers are intact in this condition. Wilson’s Disease (cerebellar “staccato” speech, with words broken into syllables)
    • Evaluate equilibrium Equilibrium Occurs when tumor cells survive the initial elimination attempt These cells are not able to progress, being maintained in a state of dormancy by the adaptive immune system. In this phase, tumor immunogenicity is edited, where T cells keep selectively attacking highly immunogenic tumor cells.This attack leaves other cells with less immunogenicity to potentially develop resistance to the immune response. Cancer Immunotherapy:
      • Romberg sign: difficulty standing with feet together and eyes closed
      • Rapid alternating movements for dysdiadochokinesia
      • Point-to-point movements for dysmetria
    • Muscle tone Muscle tone The state of activity or tension of a muscle beyond that related to its physical properties, that is, its active resistance to stretch. In skeletal muscle, tonus is dependent upon efferent innervation. Skeletal Muscle Contraction/ motor Motor Neurons which send impulses peripherally to activate muscles or secretory cells. Nervous System: Histology exam:
    • Signs of upper motor Motor Neurons which send impulses peripherally to activate muscles or secretory cells. Nervous System: Histology neuron disease ( demyelination Demyelination Multiple Sclerosis)
    • Sensory Sensory Neurons which conduct nerve impulses to the central nervous system. Nervous System: Histology exam: peripheral neuropathy Neuropathy Leprosy may be found.
    • Reflexes
  • General physical exam:
    • Signs of hypothyroidism Hypothyroidism Hypothyroidism is a condition characterized by a deficiency of thyroid hormones. Iodine deficiency is the most common cause worldwide, but Hashimoto’s disease (autoimmune thyroiditis) is the leading cause in non-iodine-deficient regions. Hypothyroidism
    • Telangiectasias Telangiectasias Ataxia-telangiectasia in the eyes and skin Skin The skin, also referred to as the integumentary system, is the largest organ of the body. The skin is primarily composed of the epidermis (outer layer) and dermis (deep layer). The epidermis is primarily composed of keratinocytes that undergo rapid turnover, while the dermis contains dense layers of connective tissue. Skin: Structure and Functions ( ataxia Ataxia Impairment of the ability to perform smoothly coordinated voluntary movements. This condition may affect the limbs, trunk, eyes, pharynx, larynx, and other structures. Ataxia may result from impaired sensory or motor function. Sensory ataxia may result from posterior column injury or peripheral nerve diseases. Motor ataxia may be associated with cerebellar diseases; cerebral cortex diseases; thalamic diseases; basal ganglia diseases; injury to the red nucleus; and other conditions. Ataxia-telangiectasia telangiectasia Telangiectasia Permanent dilation of preexisting blood vessels creating small focal red lesions, most commonly in the skin or mucous membranes. It is characterized by the prominence of skin blood vessels, such as vascular spiders. Chronic Venous Insufficiency)
    • Mental status exam
    • Hepatomegaly

Testing

  • Labs:
    • CBC 
    • Erythrocyte sedimentation rate Erythrocyte Sedimentation Rate Soft Tissue Abscess ( ESR ESR Soft Tissue Abscess)
    • Liver function tests Liver function tests Liver function tests, also known as hepatic function panels, are one of the most commonly performed screening blood tests. Such tests are also used to detect, evaluate, and monitor acute and chronic liver diseases. Liver Function Tests ( AST AST Enzymes of the transferase class that catalyze the conversion of l-aspartate and 2-ketoglutarate to oxaloacetate and l-glutamate. Liver Function Tests, ALT ALT An enzyme that catalyzes the conversion of l-alanine and 2-oxoglutarate to pyruvate and l-glutamate. Liver Function Tests, alkaline phosphatase Alkaline Phosphatase An enzyme that catalyzes the conversion of an orthophosphoric monoester and water to an alcohol and orthophosphate. Osteosarcoma ( ALP ALP An enzyme that catalyzes the conversion of an orthophosphoric monoester and water to an alcohol and orthophosphate. Osteosarcoma))
    • Vitamin B12 levels
    • Thyroid Thyroid The thyroid gland is one of the largest endocrine glands in the human body. The thyroid gland is a highly vascular, brownish-red gland located in the visceral compartment of the anterior region of the neck. Thyroid Gland: Anatomy function ( thyroid Thyroid The thyroid gland is one of the largest endocrine glands in the human body. The thyroid gland is a highly vascular, brownish-red gland located in the visceral compartment of the anterior region of the neck. Thyroid Gland: Anatomy-stimulating hormone (TSH))
    • Copper Copper A heavy metal trace element with the atomic symbol cu, atomic number 29, and atomic weight 63. 55. Trace Elements levels if Wilson disease is suspected
    • Anti–tissue transglutaminase antibody if celiac disease Celiac disease Celiac disease (also known as celiac sprue or gluten enteropathy) is an autoimmune reaction to gliadin, which is a component of gluten. Celiac disease is closely associated with HLA-DQ2 and HLA-DQ8. The immune response is localized to the proximal small intestine and causes the characteristic histologic findings of villous atrophy, crypt hyperplasia, and intraepithelial lymphocytosis. Celiac Disease is suspected
  • Consider other tests:
  • Imaging: MRI of brain Brain The part of central nervous system that is contained within the skull (cranium). Arising from the neural tube, the embryonic brain is comprised of three major parts including prosencephalon (the forebrain); mesencephalon (the midbrain); and rhombencephalon (the hindbrain). The developed brain consists of cerebrum; cerebellum; and other structures in the brain stem. Nervous System: Anatomy, Structure, and Classification and spinal cord Spinal cord The spinal cord is the major conduction pathway connecting the brain to the body; it is part of the CNS. In cross section, the spinal cord is divided into an H-shaped area of gray matter (consisting of synapsing neuronal cell bodies) and a surrounding area of white matter (consisting of ascending and descending tracts of myelinated axons). Spinal Cord: Anatomy to visualize any demyelinating, vascular, or structural abnormalities

Management and Prognosis

Management

Management of cerebellar disorders requires a multidisciplinary approach, with specialties including neurology, endocrinology, genetics Genetics Genetics is the study of genes and their functions and behaviors. Basic Terms of Genetics, and/or psychiatry depending on the specific diagnosis. Therefore, management is done by multidisciplinary approach.

  • Physical and occupational therapists:
    • Gait Gait Manner or style of walking. Neurological Examination training
    • Walking aids AIDS Chronic HIV infection and depletion of CD4 cells eventually results in acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), which can be diagnosed by the presence of certain opportunistic diseases called AIDS-defining conditions. These conditions include a wide spectrum of bacterial, viral, fungal, and parasitic infections as well as several malignancies and generalized conditions. HIV Infection and AIDS
    • Fall prevention measures
    • Coordination and resistance Resistance Physiologically, the opposition to flow of air caused by the forces of friction. As a part of pulmonary function testing, it is the ratio of driving pressure to the rate of air flow. Ventilation: Mechanics of Breathing training to improve gait Gait Manner or style of walking. Neurological Examination and balance
  • Speech therapy Speech Therapy Treatment for individuals with speech defects and disorders that involves counseling and use of various exercises and AIDS to help the development of new speech habits. Myotonic Dystrophies for dysarthria Dysarthria Disorders of speech articulation caused by imperfect coordination of pharynx, larynx, tongue, or face muscles. This may result from cranial nerve diseases; neuromuscular diseases; cerebellar diseases; basal ganglia diseases; brain stem diseases; or diseases of the corticobulbar tracts. The cortical language centers are intact in this condition. Wilson’s Disease 
  • Social work or case management 

Complications

  • Falls (especially worrisome in the elderly)
  • Dizziness Dizziness An imprecise term which may refer to a sense of spatial disorientation, motion of the environment, or lightheadedness. Lateral Medullary Syndrome (Wallenberg Syndrome)
  • Paralysis (increased risk of being bedbound)
  • Gait Gait Manner or style of walking. Neurological Examination disorders
  • Worsening tremor Tremor Cyclical movement of a body part that can represent either a physiologic process or a manifestation of disease. Intention or action tremor, a common manifestation of cerebellar diseases, is aggravated by movement. In contrast, resting tremor is maximal when there is no attempt at voluntary movement, and occurs as a relatively frequent manifestation of parkinson disease. Myotonic Dystrophies

Prognosis Prognosis A prediction of the probable outcome of a disease based on a individual’s condition and the usual course of the disease as seen in similar situations. Non-Hodgkin Lymphomas

  • Depends on the underlying cause
  • Metabolic, infectious Infectious Febrile Infant, toxic, and iatrogenic Iatrogenic Any adverse condition in a patient occurring as the result of treatment by a physician, surgeon, or other health professional, especially infections acquired by a patient during the course of treatment. Anterior Cord Syndrome causes → resolve with appropriate treatment
  • Genetic/inherited, vascular, and traumatic causes → long-term effects

Differential Diagnosis

  • Parkinson disease Parkinson disease Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a chronic, progressive neurodegenerative disorder. Although the cause is unknown, several genetic and environmental risk factors are currently being studied. Individuals present clinically with resting tremor, bradykinesia, rigidity, and postural instability. Parkinson’s Disease: chronic and progressive neurodegenerative disorder that presents clinically with resting tremor Tremor Cyclical movement of a body part that can represent either a physiologic process or a manifestation of disease. Intention or action tremor, a common manifestation of cerebellar diseases, is aggravated by movement. In contrast, resting tremor is maximal when there is no attempt at voluntary movement, and occurs as a relatively frequent manifestation of parkinson disease. Myotonic Dystrophies, bradykinesia Bradykinesia Parkinson’s Disease, rigidity Rigidity Continuous involuntary sustained muscle contraction which is often a manifestation of basal ganglia diseases. When an affected muscle is passively stretched, the degree of resistance remains constant regardless of the rate at which the muscle is stretched. This feature helps to distinguish rigidity from muscle spasticity. Megacolon, and postural instability. Parkinson disease Parkinson disease Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a chronic, progressive neurodegenerative disorder. Although the cause is unknown, several genetic and environmental risk factors are currently being studied. Individuals present clinically with resting tremor, bradykinesia, rigidity, and postural instability. Parkinson’s Disease is diagnosed clinically on the basis of characteristic signs and symptoms. The finding of Lewy bodies Lewy bodies Intracytoplasmic, eosinophilic, round to elongated inclusions found in vacuoles of injured or fragmented neurons. The presence of lewy bodies is the histological marker of the degenerative changes in lewy body disease and parkinson disease but they may be seen in other neurological conditions. They are typically found in the substantia nigra and locus coeruleus but they are also seen in the basal forebrain, hypothalamic nuclei, and neocortex. Parkinson’s Disease in the brain Brain The part of central nervous system that is contained within the skull (cranium). Arising from the neural tube, the embryonic brain is comprised of three major parts including prosencephalon (the forebrain); mesencephalon (the midbrain); and rhombencephalon (the hindbrain). The developed brain consists of cerebrum; cerebellum; and other structures in the brain stem. Nervous System: Anatomy, Structure, and Classification postmortem is the only confirmation for the disease. Treatment includes supportive physical and emotional care plus medications such as levodopa Levodopa The naturally occurring form of dihydroxyphenylalanine and the immediate precursor of dopamine. Unlike dopamine itself, it can be taken orally and crosses the blood-brain barrier. It is rapidly taken up by dopaminergic neurons and converted to dopamine. It is used for the treatment of parkinsonian disorders and is usually given with agents that inhibit its conversion to dopamine outside of the central nervous system. Parkinson’s Disease Drugs/carbidopa, monoamine oxidase type B inhibitors Monoamine Oxidase Type B Inhibitors Parkinson’s Disease, and dopamine Dopamine One of the catecholamine neurotransmitters in the brain. It is derived from tyrosine and is the precursor to norepinephrine and epinephrine. Dopamine is a major transmitter in the extrapyramidal system of the brain, and important in regulating movement. Receptors and Neurotransmitters of the CNS agonists.
  • Major neurocognitive disorder Major Neurocognitive Disorder Major neurocognitive disorders (NCDs), also known as dementia, are a group of diseases characterized by decline in a person’s memory and executive function. These disorders are progressive and persistent diseases that are the leading cause of disability among elderly people worldwide. Major Neurocognitive Disorders (NCD): also known as dementia Dementia Major neurocognitive disorders (NCD), also known as dementia, are a group of diseases characterized by decline in a person’s memory and executive function. These disorders are progressive and persistent diseases that are the leading cause of disability among elderly people worldwide. Major Neurocognitive Disorders. Major neurocognitive disorders Major Neurocognitive Disorders Major neurocognitive disorders (NCDs), also known as dementia, are a group of diseases characterized by decline in a person’s memory and executive function. These disorders are progressive and persistent diseases that are the leading cause of disability among elderly people worldwide. Major Neurocognitive Disorders are a group of diseases characterized by a decline in a person’s memory Memory Complex mental function having four distinct phases: (1) memorizing or learning, (2) retention, (3) recall, and (4) recognition. Clinically, it is usually subdivided into immediate, recent, and remote memory. Psychiatric Assessment and executive function. These disorders are progressive and persistent diseases with several distinct etiologies. The diagnosis is made clinically with mental status testing and often requires interviewing caregivers. Although there are known risk factors and measures to prevent major NCDs NCDs Major neurocognitive disorders (NCDs), also known as dementia, are a group of diseases characterized by decline in a person’s memory and executive function. These disorders are progressive and persistent diseases that are the leading cause of disability among elderly people worldwide. Major Neurocognitive Disorders, there are no effective curative treatments.
  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, is a sporadic or inherited neurodegenerative disease of upper motor neurons (UMNs) and lower motor neurons (LMNs). ALS is the most common progressive motor neuron disease in North America, primarily affecting men and individuals of Caucasian ethnicity. Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis ( ALS ALS Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, is a sporadic or inherited neurodegenerative disease of upper motor neurons (UMNs) and lower motor neurons (LMNs). ALS is the most common progressive motor neuron disease in North America, primarily affecting men and individuals of Caucasian ethnicity. Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis): also known as “Lou Gehrig disease.” Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, is a sporadic or inherited neurodegenerative disease of upper motor neurons (UMNs) and lower motor neurons (LMNs). ALS is the most common progressive motor neuron disease in North America, primarily affecting men and individuals of Caucasian ethnicity. Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis is a neurodegenerative disease that affects both upper and lower motor Motor Neurons which send impulses peripherally to activate muscles or secretory cells. Nervous System: Histology neurons Neurons The basic cellular units of nervous tissue. Each neuron consists of a body, an axon, and dendrites. Their purpose is to receive, conduct, and transmit impulses in the nervous system. Nervous System: Histology and is characterized by signs of lower motor Motor Neurons which send impulses peripherally to activate muscles or secretory cells. Nervous System: Histology neuron degeneration. The diagnosis is made clinically after other disorders are ruled out. Management is supportive and symptomatic, eventually progressing to end-of-life care. 
  • Ischemic stroke Ischemic Stroke An ischemic stroke (also known as cerebrovascular accident) is an acute neurologic injury that occurs as a result of brain ischemia; this condition may be due to cerebral blood vessel occlusion by thrombosis or embolism, or rarely due to systemic hypoperfusion. Ischemic Stroke: acute neurologic injury resulting from brain ischemia Brain Ischemia Localized reduction of blood flow to brain tissue due to arterial obstruction or systemic hypoperfusion. This frequently occurs in conjunction with brain hypoxia. Prolonged ischemia is associated with brain infarction. Ischemic Stroke. Ischemic stroke Ischemic Stroke An ischemic stroke (also known as cerebrovascular accident) is an acute neurologic injury that occurs as a result of brain ischemia; this condition may be due to cerebral blood vessel occlusion by thrombosis or embolism, or rarely due to systemic hypoperfusion. Ischemic Stroke presents with neurologic symptoms with varying degrees of motor Motor Neurons which send impulses peripherally to activate muscles or secretory cells. Nervous System: Histology and sensory Sensory Neurons which conduct nerve impulses to the central nervous system. Nervous System: Histology loss corresponding to the area of the brain Brain The part of central nervous system that is contained within the skull (cranium). Arising from the neural tube, the embryonic brain is comprised of three major parts including prosencephalon (the forebrain); mesencephalon (the midbrain); and rhombencephalon (the hindbrain). The developed brain consists of cerebrum; cerebellum; and other structures in the brain stem. Nervous System: Anatomy, Structure, and Classification affected and the extent of tissue damage. Diagnosis is made by physical examination and imaging. Management is ideally with thrombolytic therapy to restore blood flow Blood flow Blood flow refers to the movement of a certain volume of blood through the vasculature over a given unit of time (e.g., mL per minute). Vascular Resistance, Flow, and Mean Arterial Pressure if the time frame and clinical situation permit. Long-term rehabilitation with physical, occupational, and speech therapy Speech Therapy Treatment for individuals with speech defects and disorders that involves counseling and use of various exercises and AIDS to help the development of new speech habits. Myotonic Dystrophies are important after the acute event.

References

  1. Ropper, A. H., Samuels, M. A., Klein, J. P., & Prasad, S. (2019). Ataxia and Disorders of Cerebellar Function. In Ropper A.H., et al., (Eds.), Adams and Victor’s Principles of Neurology, 11th ed. McGraw-Hill Education. http://accessmedicine.mhmedical.com/content.aspx?aid=1162589702 
  2. Ataullah, A.H.M., Naqvi, I.A. (2021). Cerebellar dysfunction. StatPearls. Retrieved August 30, 2021, from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK562317/
  3. Rosenberg, R.N. (2018). Ataxic disorders. In: Jameson, J. L., et al. (Eds.), Harrison’s Principles of Internal Medicine, 20th ed. McGraw-Hill Education. http://accessmedicine.mhmedical.com/content.aspx?aid=1180749951 
  4. Kuo, S.-H., Lin, C.-C., Ashizawa, T. (2022). Cerebellar ataxia. In: Jankovic, J., Mazziotta, J.C., Pomeroy, S.L., Newman, N.J. (Eds.). pp. 288-309.e9.
  5. Ilg, W., Bastian, A.J., et al. (2014). Consensus paper: management of degenerative cerebellar disorders. Cerebellum 13:248–268. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12311-013-0531-6

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