026 The Function of the Cerebellum

In this video, Leslie describes the cerebellum and explains how it’s involved in coordination of movements.

Enjoy!

Transcript of Today’s Episode

Hello and welcome to another episode of Interactive Biology TV, where we’re making biology fun! My name is Leslie Samuel. In this episode, I’m going to be talking about the function of the cerebellum. Inside this video, first I’m going to answer the question, “Where is the cerebellum?”, then I’m going to answer the question, “What does the cerebellum do?” Lastly, I’m going to talk about what happens when there’s damage to the cerebellum. So let’s get right into it.

Where is the cerebellum? Well, the cerebellum is right here. In the last video, we spoke about the cerebrum, and this is the cerebrum here. In one of the future videos, we’re going to talk about this part here, that’s the brainstem. So when we’re talking about the cerebellum, we’re talking about this portion here, kind of at the bottom and to the back of the brain, tucked away right here. That is where the cerebellum is.

Now, let’s answer the question, “What does the cerebellum do?” First of all, the ‘cerebellum’ is Latin for ‘little brain’, so that’s where it comes from. It’s involved in coordination of movement, in other words, motor control. It receives sensory input from the body, and then it coordinates the motor output. It’s involved in posture, precision, and accurate timing.

To illustrate this, let’s imagine that you’re trying to climb a flight of stairs. So here are our stairs. You’re trying to get to the top, and let’s say that this is you over here. Ooh, great drawing. I think I should quit teaching and start drawing for a living. Okay, let’s make you happy, and let’s make you not bald. There we go. So this is you, and you’re trying to get to the top of the stairs. Now, what does that involve? That involves coordinating the motion of your legs, and your legs are going to go from the bottom step to the next step. Now, let’s start going to the next step here, but we’re going to pause here.

When I’m at this point, there are a number of things that your brain needs to know. Your brain needs to know that you’re at this point, and your brain needs to know that you are trying to reach this point. So what the cerebellum does is it takes the sensory input. You get stimulation from your eyes, saying “Okay, I can see what’s going on here. I can see where the next step is. I can see where I am at this point.” Based on that, it can coordinate the motion of your feet and your legs so that you can reach to that point.

So it brings in sensory input about where you currently are, where the position of your body is, and it looks at where you’re trying to reach. And if there are any adjustments that need to be made, it makes those adjustments.

If you’re at this point and, for example, the brain thinks that you’re at this point, the brain is going to try to get you to go down. What’s going to happen is you’re going to trip and fall. We don’t want that to happen, and fortunately, we have a cerebellum at the back of the brain that coordinates that taking input and motor output.

Let’s talk a little bit about what happens when there’s damage to the cerebellum. The cerebellum doesn’t cause motion, but it just coordinates it. So if there’s damage to the cerebellum, movement is still possible. However, it’s going to cause disorders in fine-motor control, posture, and motor learning.

For example, in the scenario that I just drew, if you’re trying to climb the stairs and the brain does not know exactly where your foot is, so it can’t really calculate how far you need to go, it can cause problems with you walking up the stairs. It can also cause jerky movements because the cerebellum is not able to fine-tune that motion and coordinate it in the way that it normally does.

That’s it for this video. In review, we’ve answered the question, “Where is the cerebellum?”, and then we answered the question, “What does the cerebellum do?” Lastly, we looked at what happens when there’s damage to the cerebellum. That’s it for this video, and I’ll see you in the next one.



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  • very helpful…… especially the explanation with diagrams…innovative and easy to understand…thank you…

  • Thank you Lakshmi,

    Glad you found value in it, and I’m also glad that it makes it easy to understand. Stay tuned because there’s a lot more coming 🙂

  • hello

    i really like ur videos
    i am a medical student, in ur videos i found some info that helped me in certain points in my human nervous system course,
    thank u

  • That’s great Salim. Keep checking back because there will be many more videos and other resources added over time 🙂

  • i love your videos.I am glad that finally i found a site where i got what i needed.could you please suggest a similar site for physics and chemistry???

  • were do you teach??? you are such a nice teacher you should come and teach at Bronx Community College in NEW YORK!!! ….. i want a teacher like you :))))

  • @madej1858 Awww, stop it. You are going to make me blush, and that’s quite hard. I actually teach at a high school in Michigan, but I love the more advanced stuff. Thanks for your comment!

  • Awww, stop it. You are going to make me blush, and that’s quite hard. I actually teach at a high school in Michigan, but I love the more advanced stuff. Thanks for your comment!

  • were do you teach??? you are such a nice teacher you should come and teach at Bronx Community College in NEW YORK!!! ….. i want a teacher like you :))))

  • Awww, stop it. You are going to make me blush, and that’s quite hard. I actually teach at a high school in Michigan, but I love the more advanced stuff. Thanks for your comment!

  • My 43 year old husband just had a stroke in the left portion of his cerebellum. This video was a great way to show my 8th grade sceience classes where the cerebellum is and what it controls.

    PS…My husdand is doing very well with little residiual effects.

  • Unfortunately, Leslie is no longer taking requests for specific Biology videos. He has many to work on at the moment. So stay tuned for more.

  • You’re welcome! Glad that you’re finding value in these Biology videos. Stay tuned for more!

  • Thanks a lot for posting such videos !! its really helping me out in studying. I wish my teacher could teach like you !!!!

  • Thank you too for watching! We’re glad to know that the videos are helping you a lot. Stay tuned for more Biology videos in the website!

  • Hi.. i think Damage of the cerebellum leads to: Ataxia → wide-based drunken gate, and Nystagmus → loss of control of eye movements.

    is that right ?

  • pls take a look also at my videos aout cerebellum and if u like it please subscribe or comment

  • Perfect seriers of video! I am so confuse when study about the brain structure for the next psychology class exam. The problem is there are to many information that is not in well order! Your video help me alot to picture the structure of brain in my mind and how does each part work! Thank you very much! so helpful! Nice picture, nice explain and nice drawing 🙂

  • i must say one thing u r an excellent person 4 this profession…..keep up this good work and god bless u……..

  • I like to think of the Frankenstein monster, and imagine that Dr. Frankenstein couldn’t find a decent cerebellum, so he just went without. Hence the grossly uncoordinated movement patterns and lack of finesse. You can also imagine someone who’s super drunk! LOL

  • I like to think of the Frankenstein monster, and imagine that Dr. Frankenstein couldn’t find a decent cerebellum, so he just went without. Hence the grossly uncoordinated movement patterns and lack of finesse. You can also imagine someone who’s super drunk! LOL

  • You helped me pass final year Biology, and now I’m studying Neuro Physiotherapy dergree at University. Still watching your videos to refresh the basics.

  • You helped me pass final year Biology, and now I’m studying Neuro Physiotherapy dergree at University. Still watching your videos to refresh the basics.

  • Sir you truly are a blessing! I am very thankful to you. You’re using your knowledge to help us. Such an awesome person. Thanks a lot really.

  • is it possible to do a video on Purkinje cells, Festigial nucleus and other parts of the cerebellar pathway? It is quite a bit more in depth but would great if you did do it.

  • I love your videos !!!! You make it so much easier to understand and grasp the concept by breaking it down and giving examples, compared to the hours I spend trying to comprehend the materials in my book….thank you so much 🙂

  • So if I have my fingertip pointing to a spot is it the Cerebellum that is controlling the pointing to the spot. Can I get an EEG reading on this?

  • Hi! Im a Med Student and your videos are really awesome! You seem to be a good teacher! I just wished my teachers were like you. Keep doing great videos!! Im a fan! 🙂

  • I enjoy your videos. They are very helpful in understanding the nervous system. And the interactive stuff and demonstrations are definitely a plus. Great help!

  • I enjoy your videos. They are very helpful in understanding the nervous system. And the interactive stuff and demonstrations are definitely a plus. Great help!

  • I enjoy your videos. They are very helpful in understanding the nervous system. And the interactive stuff and demonstrations are definitely a plus. Great help!

  • Thanks !! I have my physiology final tomorrow and my brain wouldn’t absorb
    any info from my textbook but your videos are interesting and help me
    absorb information so much more easily!!

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