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Based on its physioanatomical position, allowing it to affect known attentional systems, it has been shown for the past decade that the cerebellum contributes to attention operations by allowing attention to be shifted rapidly, accurately, smoothly and effortlessly.

Recent behavioural and empirical evidence suggests that the cerebellum participates in cognitive and language functions of the human brain, beyond the purely motor expression of speech or gesture. Advanced techniques for scanning and imaging the brain have revealed that the lateral cerebellum is strikingly activated when an individual performs information-processing, semantic association, working memory, declarative and episodic memory tasks.

Input to the cerebellum

The cerebellum receives not only visual, auditory and somatosensory information from the posterior lobes of the cerebral cortex, and not only motor information from the frontal lobe, but also highly processed multisensory information from some association areas.

In addition to such projections from the cerebral neocortex, the phylogenically older limbic lobe and hypothalamus also project to the pontine nuclei, which can, therefore, provide the cerebellum with some motivational and affective information that may be needed for regulating autonomic and emotional behaviour. In addition to these direct thalamic and hypothalamic projections, the cerebellum is also connected to reticular structures in the brainstem. They provide another, but less direct route to the older limbic structures, which are concerned with autonomic, emotional, and motivational behaviour.

Output from the cerebellum

Two direct routes from the cerebellum to the cerebrum have been traced anatomically. One route connects the cerebellum to the thalamus and, thence, to the prefrontal cortex. The other route connects the cerebellum to the hypothalamus and, in turn, to the older, limbic, structures of the brain. In addition to these direct thalamic and hypothalamic projections, the cerebellum also is connected to reticular structures in the brainstem, providing a less direct, but additional, route to the older structures of the limbic brain.

EMDR stimulation (visual, auditory and tactile), in addition to its constant alternating shifting of attention, also constitutes a constant and marked stimulation of the cerebellum.

Output fibers to the hypothalamus and to reticular nuclei in the brainstem allow the cerebellum to transmit information to the limbic structures. Input fibers from the hypothalamus and from the reticular nuclei in the brainstem allow it to receive information from the limbic lobe.

The attendant activation of each output dentate nucleus of the cerebellum then sends its processed information through output fibers to two main regions of the thalamus; to the ventrolateral thalamic nucleus and to the central lateral thalamic nucleus. The ventrolateral nucleus transmits its information and activates areas of the prefrontal cortex; specifically the orbitofrontal and dorsolateral cortices.

The orbitofrontal cortex performs the organizing executive functions of the right hemisphere; while the dorsolateral cortex performs the organizing executive functions of the left hemisphere.

Uri Bergmann may be contacted by e-mail at UBergmann@worldnet.att.net, or by post at 353 Veterans Memorial Highway, 3rd Floor, Commack, New York 11725, USA.

 

 

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