Peter Heath

the cerebellum

The cerebellum, commonly referred to as 'the little brain' controls important functions like balance, gait, posture, coordination and fine muscle control, allowing us to move skillfully and maintain our body structure. Cell loss here, as is typical of dementia diseases, contributes to coordination problems in the mid to later stages of the disease, and together with failing motor functions results in progressively increasing disability. The resultant condition, ataxia, can cause individuals to appear drunk, stagger and bump into other people and objects. As soon as the condition becomes apparent physical therapy can slow down the progress by strengthening muscles whilst specialist devices can assist in walking and other functions.