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Cortex. 2010 Jul-Aug;46(7):858-68. doi: 10.1016/j.cortex.2009.07.018. Epub 2009 Sep 24.

The cerebellum and language: historical perspective and review.

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School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences, The University of Queensland, Australia.


Investigation of a possible role for the cerebellum in the mediation of cognitive processes, including language, has historically been overshadowed by research interest in cerebellar coordination of motor control. Over the past two decades, however, the question of a possible participation of the cerebellum in language processing itself has come to the forefront. In particular recent advances in our understanding of the neuroanatomy of the cerebellum combined with evidence from functional neuroimaging, neurophysiological and neuropsychological research, have extended our view of the cerebellum from that of a simple coordinator of autonomic and somatic motor function. Rather it is now more widely accepted that the cerebellum, and in particular the right cerebellar hemisphere, participates in modulation of cognitive functioning, especially to those parts of the brain to which it is reciprocally connected. The present paper reviews the neuroanatomical, clinical and functional neuroimaging evidence suggestive of a role for the cerebellum in language processing. The possible neuropathophysiological substrates of language impairment associated with cerebellar pathology are discussed and the nature of the linguistic deficits associated with disease or damage to the cerebellum described.

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