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Cerebellum. 2018 Sep 27. doi: 10.1007/s12311-018-0979-5. [Epub ahead of print]

Consensus paper: Decoding the Contributions of the Cerebellum as a Time Machine. From Neurons to Clinical Applications.

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First Department of Neurology, St. Anne's University Hospital and Faculty of Medicine, Masaryk University, Brno, Czech Republic.
Department of Neurology, School of Medicine, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, USA.
School of Physiology, Pharmacology and Neuroscience, University of Bristol, Bristol, UK.
Department of Experimental Medicine, Section of Human Physiology and Centro Polifunzionale di Scienze Motorie, University of Genoa, Genoa, Italy.
Centre for Parkinson's Disease and Movement Disorders, Ospedale Policlinico San Martino, Genoa, Italy.
Department of Psychology and Helen Wills Neuroscience Institute, University of California, Berkeley, USA.
Neurophysiology Unit, Department of Brain and Behavioral Sciences, University of Pavia, Pavia, Italy.
Brain Connectivity Center, Fondazione Istituto Neurologico Nazionale Casimiro Mondino (IRCCS), Pavia, Italy.
First Department of Neurology, St. Anne's University Hospital and Faculty of Medicine, Masaryk University, Brno, Czech Republic.
Department of Neurology, University of Duisburg-Essen, Duisburg, Germany.
Department of Neurology, Yale School of Medicine, Yale University, New Haven, CT, USA.
Department of Chronic Disease Epidemiology, Yale School of Public Health, Yale University, New Haven, CT, USA.
Department of Psychology and Neuroscience, Duke University, Durham, NC, USA.
Department of Neurology, CHU-Charleroi, Charleroi, Belgium -Service des Neurosciences, UMons, Mons, Belgium.
Medical Education Promotion Center, Tokyo Medical University, Tokyo, Japan.


Time perception is an essential element of conscious and subconscious experience, coordinating our perception and interaction with the surrounding environment. In recent years, major technological advances in the field of neuroscience have helped foster new insights into the processing of temporal information, including extending our knowledge of the role of the cerebellum as one of the key nodes in the brain for this function. This consensus paper provides a state-of-the-art picture from the experts in the field of the cerebellar research on a variety of crucial issues related to temporal processing, drawing on recent anatomical, neurophysiological, behavioral, and clinical research.The cerebellar granular layer appears especially well-suited for timing operations required to confer millisecond precision for cerebellar computations. This may be most evident in the manner the cerebellum controls the duration of the timing of agonist-antagonist EMG bursts associated with fast goal-directed voluntary movements. In concert with adaptive processes, interactions within the cerebellar cortex are sufficient to support sub-second timing. However, supra-second timing seems to require cortical and basal ganglia networks, perhaps operating in concert with cerebellum. Additionally, sensory information such as an unexpected stimulus can be forwarded to the cerebellum via the climbing fiber system, providing a temporally constrained mechanism to adjust ongoing behavior and modify future processing. Patients with cerebellar disorders exhibit impairments on a range of tasks that require precise timing, and recent evidence suggest that timing problems observed in other neurological conditions such as Parkinson's disease, essential tremor, and dystonia may reflect disrupted interactions between the basal ganglia and cerebellum.The complex concepts emerging from this consensus paper should provide a foundation for further discussion, helping identify basic research questions required to understand how the brain represents and utilizes time, as well as delineating ways in which this knowledge can help improve the lives of those with neurological conditions that disrupt this most elemental sense. The panel of experts agrees that timing control in the brain is a complex concept in whom cerebellar circuitry is deeply involved. The concept of a timing machine has now expanded to clinical disorders.


Cerebellum; Climbing fiber; Consensus; Movement; Temporal processing; Timing


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