In our last edition in Brainstorm Bites we discussed the brain. We looked at the characteristics typical of a left hemisphere vs right hemisphere individual. If you need to revise simply click on Episode 7, likewise you can review or replay any of the previous editions from Brainstorm Bites.
What does “To play the guitar, catch a ball and learn your four times table” have in common?
Answer…a strong dependence on a healthy cerebellum.
The cerebellum is the “little brain” paired structure located low in the brain. A healthy functioning cerebellum is essential for most everyday functions. A principal role is to smooth and modify planned and performed movement. Let us see briefly how…
Neurophysiological, you could see a functional division within the cerebellum into three zones. In humans, the outer section is much newer and packed with nerves. This section links to the high brain and supports the planning of movement. Let us say we are preparing to catch a ball. The memory of the action and gestures are recalled from this zone and sent to the high brain.
As you are throwing the ball, you sense that a stiff breeze is drifting across. You will need to adjust your action! This adjustment and fine-tuning is orchestrated within the middle or second zone of the cerebellum. This zone connects indirectly to spinal, trunk and limb muscles. As you can see that the action of throwing can be modified continuously and checked by the brain.
I mentioned that the cerebellum has three zones. Well the third, is vital for commanding eye and head movements. To track the ball as it floats across the sky required constant direction from the cerebellum.
Can you think of another function where we require our eye to track…
what about reading, driving a car, walking, riding a bike or crawling. As you can see, the cerebellum plays a considerable role in everyday activities. Whether it may be at school, work or play - a breakdown of the cerebellum can have a massive impact on your health. A clear understanding of brain function is essential when applying appropriate therapy and rehabilitation.
At Brainstorm, we are dedicated to switching on brains. For references and information, jump to brainstormrehab.com.au or join the conversation on Facebook. Thanks for joining us today on Brainstorm Bites podcast.