The Cerebellar Cognitive Affective/Schmahmann Syndrome: a Task Force Paper

Cerebellum. 2020 Feb;19(1):102-125. doi: 10.1007/s12311-019-01068-8.


Sporadically advocated over the last two centuries, a cerebellar role in cognition and affect has been rigorously established in the past few decades. In the clinical domain, such progress is epitomized by the "cerebellar cognitive affective syndrome" ("CCAS") or "Schmahmann syndrome." Introduced in the late 1990s, CCAS reflects a constellation of cerebellar-induced sequelae, comprising deficits in executive function, visuospatial cognition, emotion-affect, and language, over and above speech. The CCAS thus offers excellent grounds to investigate the functional topography of the cerebellum, and, ultimately, illustrate the precise mechanisms by which the cerebellum modulates cognition and affect. The primary objective of this task force paper is thus to stimulate further research in this area. After providing an up-to-date overview of the fundamental findings on cerebellar neurocognition, the paper substantiates the concept of CCAS with recent evidence from different scientific angles, promotes awareness of the CCAS as a clinical entity, and examines our current insight into the therapeutic options available. The paper finally identifies topics of divergence and outstanding questions for further research.

Keywords: Affect; Cerebellar cognitive affective syndrome; Cerebellum; Cognition; Emotion; Schmahmann syndrome.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Advisory Committees*
  • Cerebellar Diseases / diagnostic imaging*
  • Cerebellar Diseases / epidemiology
  • Cerebellar Diseases / psychology
  • Cognitive Dysfunction / diagnostic imaging*
  • Cognitive Dysfunction / epidemiology
  • Cognitive Dysfunction / psychology
  • Humans
  • Mood Disorders / diagnostic imaging*
  • Mood Disorders / epidemiology
  • Mood Disorders / psychology
  • Syndrome