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Neurodevelopmental Disorders and Treatment

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Neurodevelopmental Disorders and the Cerebellum

Author(s): Claude Jordan, Stephanie Graham

The cerebellum has been dubbed "a neuronal learning machine", but its importance in development and developmental disorders has only lately been recognised. The cerebellum is assumed to facilitate implicit/procedural learning via the construction and error-driven adjustment of internal models of behaviour during development, which is a period of fast skill acquisition. The cerebellum develops in a similar way to the cerebral cortex, with parts supporting more basic sensorimotor skills (such as the cerebellar anterior lobe [lobules I�V]) maturing earlier than those supporting higher-level cognitive activities (e.g. posterolateral lobule VII). The structural foundation via which the cerebellum can affect activity patterns in distant regions is the closed-loop circuits between the cerebellum and the cerebral cortex. Based on these relationships, it's been hypothesised that cerebellar malfunction or disruption early in development could have a significant impact on the structure and function of the cortical regions into which it projects.

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