The cerebellum and epilepsy

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6 Scopus citations


Epilepsy is the fourth most common neurological disorder, but current treatment options provide limited efficacy and carry the potential for problematic adverse effects. There is an immense need to develop new therapeutic interventions in epilepsy, and targeting areas outside the seizure focus for neuromodulation has shown therapeutic value. While not traditionally associated with epilepsy, anatomical, clinical, and electrophysiological studies suggest the cerebellum can play a role in seizure networks, and importantly, may be a potential therapeutic target for seizure control. However, previous interventions targeting the cerebellum in both preclinical and clinical studies have produced mixed effects on seizures. These inconsistent results may be due in part to the lack of specificity inherent with open-loop electrical stimulation interventions. More recent studies, using more targeted closed-loop optogenetic approaches, suggest the possibility of robust seizure inhibition via cerebellar modulation for a range of seizure types. Therefore, while the mechanisms of cerebellar inhibition of seizures have yet to be fully elucidated, the cerebellum should be thoroughly revisited as a potential target for therapeutic intervention in epilepsy. This article is part of the Special Issue “NEWroscience 2018

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number106909
JournalEpilepsy and Behavior
Early online dateFeb 5 2020
StateE-pub ahead of print - Feb 5 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported in part by an American Epilepsy Society Postdoctoral Fellowship (MLS), NIH R01-NS104071 , a University of Minnesota McKnight Land-Grant Professorship award, and the University of Minnesota's MnDRIVE (Minnesota's Discovery, Research and Innovation Economy) initiative.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Elsevier Inc.


  • Channelrhodopsin
  • Deep brain stimulation
  • Fastigial nucleus
  • Halorhodopsin
  • Temporal lobe epilepsy
  • Thalamus


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