Current advances in lesion-symptom mapping of the human cerebellum

D. Timmann, J. Konczak, W. Ilg, O. Donchin, J. Hermsdörfer, E. R. Gizewski, B. Schoch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

68 Scopus citations


While high-resolution structural magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) combined with newer analysis methods has become a powerful tool in human cerebral lesion studies, comparatively few studies have used these advanced imaging techniques to study lesions of the human cerebellum and their associated symptoms. This review will summarize the methodology of MRI-based lesion-symptom mapping of the human cerebellum and discuss its potential for gaining insights into cerebellar function. The investigation of patients with defined focal lesions yields the greatest potential for obtaining meaningful correlations between lesion site and behavioral deficits. In smaller groups of patients overlay plots and subtraction analysis are good options. If larger groups of patients are available, different statistical techniques have been introduced to compare behavior and lesion site on a voxel-by-voxel basis. Although localization in degenerative cerebellar disorders is less accurate because of the diffuse nature of the disease, certain information about the supposed function of larger subdivisions of the cerebellum can be gained. Examples are given which show that lesion-symptom mapping allows to investigate the function of the intermediate zone and cerebellar nuclei. We conclude that meaningful correlations between lesion site and behavioral data can be obtained in patients with degenerative as well as focal cerebellar disorders.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)836-851
Number of pages16
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1 2009

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The contributions of Volker Aurich, Andreas Beck, Barbara Brandauer, Albena Dimitrova, Marcus Gerwig, Florian Kolb, Ofer Livne, Kasja Rabe and Stefanie Richter are greatly appreciated. Supported by DFG TI 239/5-2, TI 239/8-1 and HE 3592/4-1.


  • cerebellar nuclei
  • cerebellar stroke
  • functional compartmentalization
  • intermediate zone
  • volumetry
  • voxel-based


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