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The cerebellum functions in motor control by coordinating movements including those involving precise and accurate movements. Damage in the cerebellum manifests itself as problems with fine movement, equilibrium and posture. The following tests serve to examine each function of the cerebellum—balance,coordination, and proprioception(knowing where the parts of the body are without the need of sight)—in a non-clinical setting by using tests that are used as part of a physician's screening.  It by no means is intended to provide an accurate diagnosis. After each test there will be information about what is considered normal as well as some signs that could relate to problems with the cerebellum. Examples of common malformations/diseases that could cause these signs will also be given. However, If you have any medical questions please ask a certified medical doctor. 

Materials

- A willing patient is required.

Expected Time of Completion

- 5 minutes 

Level of Difficulty

- Low

Level of Risk 

- Minimal 

Step 1: Balance


The following test exams the balance function of the cerebellum.

Ask the patient to stand up (if they are not already), place their feet together, and then close their eyes. 

Normal Function:

The patient should be able to stand completely still without any problems maintaing their position. 

Signs of Abnormal Function: 

- Swaying 
- Problems maintaining position

Possible Causes of Abnormality

- Cerebellar Ataxia (lack of voluntary coordination of muscle movements)
- Aging causes changes in the cerebellum which may manifest problems
- Tumors in the cerebellum can disrupt function. 

NOTE: This exam is not meant to replace a consultation with a certified doctor and suggestions should not be taken as accurate diagnoses. 
 

Step 2: Hand Coordination



The following test measures hand coordination. 

With the patients eyes still closed, ask the patient to raise their arms fully extended in front of them. 

Normal Function

The patient should be able to hold the hands stretched out in front of them at about the same level as the other. 

Signs of Abnormal Function

- Unleveled hand positions (one hand below or above the height of the other) 

Possible Causes of Abnormality

- Cerebellar Ataxia (lack of voluntary coordination of muscle movements)
- Aging causes changes in the cerebellum which may manifest problems
- Tumors in the cerebellum can disrupt function

NOTE: This exam is not meant to replace a consultation with a certified doctor and suggestions should not be taken as accurate diagnoses.

Step 3: Movement Coordination





The following test examines the coordination in movement. 
 
With the patient's eyes still closed and their arms fully extended in front of them ask the patients to make a fist.  Now, ask them to stick out the pinky in both hands. Then ask the patient to try to place the tip of their left pinky on the tip of the nose. Ask them to do it again with their right pinky.

Normal Function 

The patient should be able to stick out their piny in both hands without difficulty. They should touch the tip of their nose with their pinky in a single smooth movement.

Signs of Abnormal Function

- Shaky hands
- Inaccuracy (missing the tip of the nose)
- Choppy Movements (taking more than one try to touch the tip of the nose with their pinky) 

Possible Causes of Abnormality

- Cerebellar Ataxia (lack of voluntary coordination of muscle movements)
- Aging causes changes in the cerebellum which may manifest problems
- Tumors in the cerebellum can disrupt function.
- Physical Lateral Damage to the Cerebellum (damage to either the left or the right side of the cerebellum) 

NOTE: This exam is not meant to replace a consultation with a certified doctor and suggestions should not be taken as accurate diagnoses.

Step 4: Movement Coordination



The following test is another way to examine movement coordination. 

Now have the patient open both their eyes. Stick out your index finger in front of them at about arms length. Have patient the fully extend their hands out in front of them. Now have them stick out their index finger on each of their hands. Ask them to touch the tip of their index finger to the tip of the nose and then from the nose touch the tip of your outstretched finger. Repeat the test with both hands. 

Normal Function 

The patine should be able to place the tip of their index finger to the tip of their nose in a smooth and single movement without missing. They should also be able to touch the tip of your finger in a single smooth movement. 

Signs of Abnormal Function

- Shaky movements
- Inaccuracy (missing the nose or your finger)

Possible Causes of Abnormality

- Cerebellar Ataxia (lack of voluntary coordination of muscle movements)
- Aging causes changes in the cerebellum which may manifest problems
- Tumors in the cerebellum can disrupt function.
- Physical Lateral Damage to the Cerebellum (damage to either the left or the right side of the cerebellum)

NOTE: This exam is not meant to replace a consultation with a certified doctor and suggestions should not be taken as accurate diagnoses.

Step 5: Alternating Movement


The following test examines alternation movement coordination. 

With the patient's eyes open have them extend their arms fully in front of them. Ask them to wave both their hands (waving goodbye). Then ask them to do the same but have them pull their hands inwards so that their hands are next to their chest and their elbows are behind their back.

Normal Function

The patient should be able to move both hands at the same time and at the same speed.

Signs of Abnormal Function 

- One hand going slower than the other
- Inability to coordinate (cannot simultaneously wave both hands)

Possible Causes of Abnormality

- Cerebellar Ataxia (lack of voluntary coordination of muscle movements)
- Aging causes changes in the cerebellum which may manifest problems
- Tumors in the cerebellum can disrupt function.
- Physical Lateral Damage to the Cerebellum (damage to either the left or the right side of the cerebellum)

NOTE: This exam is not meant to replace a consultation with a certified doctor and suggestions should not be taken as accurate diagnoses.

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