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The Cerebellum

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The cerebellum of the brain, the “little brain”, is located at the rear of the brainstem. The tissue is folded into itself several times and each layer helps with the organization on the mind. It is clear that the cerebellum has an essential job because over time it has grown, by studying fossilized skulls it has been exposed that the cerebellum has increased to three times its size over the past million years. This small lump of tissue was first discussed by Ray S. Snider in an article written for Scientific America in 1958. He described the organ as having “tantalizing mystery”. At this point in time it was uncertain has to what exact part of human functions the cerebellum assisted with. Over time scientist discovered that this bean shaped matter has a lot to do with coordinating voluntary movement. However, with new discoveries tying damage to the cerebellum with how quickly people can perceive sensory information and other non motor processes. Studies have also found that the cerebellum plays a role in attention, short term memory, event planning and many other daily tasks. Today scientist have developed a new hypothesis that the cerebellum helps the brain to gain sensory data.

The studies on the cerebellum are very widespread and many specialist have discovered various facts concerning the intricate working of the area. During World War I a neurologist named Gordon Holmes found that soldiers who had suffered from injuries to the cerebellum had a lack of motor coordination. In 1989 two men from the University of Oregon found that injures caused impairment in judging the duration of particular sounds as well as the amount of time that elapsed between sounds. Other findings suggest that cerebella damage affects the ability to complete tasks and puzzles that require planning and scheduling. It has also been found that people who have shrinkage to the cerebellum are more likely to answer incorrectly in tests where it is necessary to detect the presence and speed of moving patterns.

It has been found that when a certain area of a rat is touched with a probe it directly affects a specific area in the cerebellum. This study proved true for many animals as well as in the human brain. This shows that the cerebellar cortex serves as a small mini map for the body. The touch maps showed the regions associated with the body parts used to explore their world, such as the paw of a cat and the mouth of a rat. These discoveries



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