Cerebellar atrophy or degeneration is the condition that results when neurons in the cerebellum deteriorate and die, according to National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. The cerebellum is the area of the brain that controls a person's balance and coordination, but other areas of the central nervous system are sometimes affected as well, including the brain stem, spinal cord, medulla oblongata and cerebral cortex.
Cerebellar degeneration is linked to inherited genetic mutations, states the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. This mutation is thought to alter the normal production of the proteins neurons need to survive and function.
Signs and symptoms of cerebellar degeneration include a wide, clumsy gait, uncoordinated arm and leg movements and slow or slurred speech, explains the Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center. Apart from being caused by genetic mutations, cerebellar degeneration also results from chronic alcoholism and cancer-associated conditions. Treatment for cerebellar degeneration varies according to the underlying cause.
There is no cure for cerebellar degeneration that results from heredity, states the Genetic and Rare Diseases Information Center. For individuals with non-genetic or non-inherited forms of the disease, some symptoms are reversible with treatment. However, even those with inherited forms of the disorder have treatment options such as physical therapy to improve muscular coordination.