The cerebellum participates in mental activity: tomographic measurements of regional cerebral blood flow

Brain Res. 1990 Dec 10;535(2):313-7. doi: 10.1016/0006-8993(90)91615-n.


Measurements in man of regional cerebral blood flow (rCBF) have demonstrated a number of cortical and subcortical events coupled to sensory stimulation or motor performance. It has also been shown that local activity changes take place in the cortex during 'pure' mental activity such as motor imagery (unaccompanied by sensory input or motor output). Thus, our group has previously shown that imagination of hand movements gives predominantly a frontal cortical rCBF activation while the corresponding hand movement activates the rolandic hand area mainly. In this paper we report tomographic rCBF measurements with a 133-Xenon SPECT technique during imagined tennis movements and silent counting. Both procedures gave rise to a significant cerebellar activation in addition to cortical rCBF changes. Apparently, the cerebellum may participate in pure mental activity. It possibly plays a role for the temporal organization of neuronal events related to cognition.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Brain / anatomy & histology
  • Cerebellum / anatomy & histology
  • Cerebellum / blood supply
  • Cerebellum / physiology*
  • Cerebrovascular Circulation / physiology*
  • Electromyography
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Processes / physiology*
  • Tomography, Emission-Computed, Single-Photon