The aim of the present study was to investigate the manifestations of mutism after surgery in children with cerebellar tumors. Speech impairment following cerebellar mutism in children was investigated based on standardized acoustic speech parameters and perceptual criteria. Mutistic and non–mutistic children after cerebellar surgery as well as orthopedic controls were tested pre–and postoperatively. Speech impairment was compared with the localization of cerebellar lesions (i. e. affected lobules and nuclei). Whereas both control groups showed no abnormalities in speech and behavior, the mutistic group could be divided into children with dysarthria in post mutistic phase and children with mainly behavioral disturbances. In the mutistic children involvement of dentate and fastigial nuclei tended to be more frequent and extended than in the nonmutistic cerebellar children.
Cerebellar mutism is a complex phenomenon of at least two types. Dysarthric symptoms during resolution of mutism support the anarthria hypothesis, while mainly behavioral changes suggest an explanation independent from speech motor control.
Key wordscerebellum children dysarthria posterior fossa syndrome
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