, Volume 135, Issue 1, pp 22-33

Activation of the cerebellum in co-ordinated eye and hand tracking movements: an fMRI study

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Dysfunction of the cerebellum leads to significant deterioration of movements performed under visual guidance and of co-ordinated eye and hand movement. Visually guided tracking tasks combine both of these control features, as the eyes and hand together track a visual target. To better understand the involvement of the cerebellum in tracking tasks, we used functional magnetic-resonance imaging to study the activation of cerebellar structures in visually guided tracking movements of the eye and hand. Subjects were tested performing ocular tracking, manual tracking without eye movement or combined eye and hand tracking of a smoothly moving visual target. Three areas were activated in the cerebellum: a bilateral region in the ansiform lobule of the lateral hemisphere, a region in the ipsilateral paramedian lobule and a region in the oculomotor vermis. The ansiform and paramedian areas were most strongly activated by hand movement, although the vermal site was also active. The reverse was found for ocular tracking, with predominantly vermal activation. Activation of these cerebellar cortical areas related to movement of eyes or hand alone was significantly enhanced when the subjects performed co-ordinated eye and hand tracking of a visual target. These results provide the first direct evidence from a functional-imaging study for cerebellar activation in eye and hand co-ordination.

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