Objective: To determine whether there are non-motor regions of cerebellum in which sizeable infarcts have little or no impact on motor control.
Experimental procedures: We evaluated motor deficits in patients following cerebellar stroke using a modified version of the International Cooperative Ataxia Rating Scale (MICARS). Lesion location was determined using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and computerized axial tomography (CT). Patients were grouped by stroke location-Group I, stroke within the anterior lobe (lobules I-V); Group 2, anterior lobe and lobule VI; Group 3, posterior lobe (lobules VI-IX; including flocculonodular lobe, lobule X); Group 4, posterior lobe but excluding lobule VI (i.e. lobules VII-X); Group 5, stroke within anterior lobe plus posterior lobe.
Results: Thirty-nine patients were examined 8.0+/-6.0 days following stroke. There were no Group 1 patients. As mean MICARS scores for Groups 2 through 5 differed significantly (one-way analysis of variance, F(3,35)=10.9, P=0.000 03), post hoc Tukey's least significant difference tests were used to compare individual groups. Group 2 MICARS scores (n=6; mean+/-SD, 20.2+/-6.9) differed from Group 3 (n=6; 7.2+/-3.8; P=0.01) and Group 4 (n=13; 2.5+/-2.0; P=0.000 02); Group 5 (n=14; 18.6+/-12.8) also differed from Group 3 (P=0.009) and Group 4 (P=0.000 02). There were no differences between Groups 2 and 5 (P=0.71), or between Group 3 and Group 4 (P=0.273). However, Group 3 differed from Group 4 when analyzed with a two-sample t-test unadjusted for multiple comparisons (P=0.03). Thus, the cerebellar motor syndrome resulted from stroke in the anterior lobe, but not from stroke in lobules VII-X (Groups 2 plus 5, n=20, MICARS 19.1+/-11.2, vs. Group 4; P=0.000 002). Strokes involving lobule VI produced minimal motor impairment.
Conclusion: These findings demonstrate that cerebellar stroke does not always result in motor impairment, and they provide clinical evidence for topographic organization of motor versus nonmotor functions in the human cerebellum.