What is the function of the cerebellar vermis?


Quick Answer

The cerebellar vermis plays a role in maintaining equilibrium and coordinating speech, eye and body movement, specifically along the extremities. In addition, the vermis, together with the fastigial nucleus and flocculonodular lobe, are said to be involved in emotional processes.

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Full Answer

The cerebellum is located in the rear portion of the shallow, depressed area of the skull. It is divided into two hemispheres that are connected by a thin, elongated structure known as the vermis. The cerebellar hemispheres are partitioned into three lobes: flocculonodular, posterior and anterior. The cerebellum contains four types of deep nuclei from where all cerebellar projections come from. These include the interposed nuclei, dentate nucleus, vestibular nuclei and fastigial nucleus.

There are three primary functional cerebellar subdivisions: vestibulocerebellum, cerebrocerebellum and the spinocerebellum. The vestibulocerebellum includes the flocculonodular lobe and its linkages to the vestibular nuclei. It helps in keeping the body in an upright position. The cerebrocerebellum includes the hemispheres on the lateral side and their connections to the dentate nucleus. It is involved in cognitive processes, planning and control of voluntary movement.

The spinocerebellum consists of the vermis, the anterior and posterior lobes and their associations with the fastigial and interposed nuclei. The vermis, via the vermal zone, provides information regarding sensations along the extremeties, as well as the different stimuli that pertain to balance, visual and auditory processes. The spinocerebellum also has a direct influence on muscle tone to produce corrective measures in movement in various situations.

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