Cognitive and affective disturbances following focal cerebellar damage in adults: A neuropsychological and SPECT study

Hanne Baillieux, Jung DE SMET Hyo, André Dobbeleir, Philippe Paquier, Peter P De Deyn, Peter Marien

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

119 Citations (Scopus)


The traditional view on cerebellar functioning has recently been challenged by results from neuroanatomical, neuroimaging and clinical studies. In this contribution, eighteen patients with primary cerebellar lesions (vascular: n=13; neoplastic: n=5) were systematically investigated by means of an extensive neuropsychological test battery. Fifteen patients (83%) presented with a broad variety of cognitive and linguistic deficits following cerebellar damage. Disturbances of concentration (72%), executive functioning (50%) and memory (50%) were most commonly found. Analyses of our results tend to support the hypothesis of a lateralization of cognitive modulation within the cerebellum: the right cerebellar hemisphere being associated with logical reasoning and language processing; and the left cerebellum mediating right-hemispheric functioning including concentration and visuo-spatial skills. In addition, nine patients (50%) presented with frontal-like behavioral and affective alterations. In an attempt to determine the working-mechanism underlying the cerebellar induced cognitive and affective disturbances, all patients were investigated by means of quantified ECD-SPECT studies. From a semiological point of view, the cerebellum can cause a broad spectrum of clinically significant cognitive and affective disturbances. From a pathophysiological point of view, quantified SPECT data support the functional impact of the cerebellar lesion on cortical functioning through disruption of cerebello-cerebral connections, reflected by the phenomenon of cerebello-cerebral diaschisis.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)869-879
Number of pages10
Issue number2010
Publication statusPublished - 2010


  • cerebellum
  • adults
  • cognition
  • cognitive-affective syndrome


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