Vol. 6 nº 4 - Oct/Nov/Dec de 2012
Original Article Páginas: 203 a 211

Relationship between structural abnormalities in the cerebellum and dementia, posttraumatic stress disorder and bipolar disorder

Authors Leonardo Baldaçara1,2; João Guilherme Fiorani Borgio1; Célia Araújo1; Fabiana Nery-Fernandes3; Acioly Luiz Taveres Lacerda1; Walter André dos Santos Moraes1; Maria Beatriz Marcondes Macedo Montaño1; Marlos Rocha3; Lucas C. Quarantini3; Aline Schoedl1; Mariana Pupo1; Marcelo F. Mello1; Sergio B. Andreoli1; Angela Miranda-Scippa3; Luiz Roberto Ramos1; Jair J. Mari1; Rodrigo Affonseca Bressan1; Andrea Parolin Jackowski1


keywords: cerebellum, neuroimaging, mental disorders, risk factors, comparative study.

New evidence suggests that the cerebellum has structural and functional abnormalities in psychiatric disorders.
OBJECTIVE: In this research, the goal was to measure the volume of the cerebellum and its subregions in individuals with psychiatric disorders and to relate these findings to their symptoms.
METHODS: Patients with different degrees of cognitive impairment (Epidemiology of the Elderly - UNIFESP) and patients with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) from population studies were analyzed. Also, patients with bipolar disorder from an outpatient clinic (Center for the Study of Mood and Anxiety Disorders, Universidade Federal da Bahia) were recruited for this study. All subjects underwent a 1.5T structural magnetic resonance scan. Volumetric measures and symptom measurements, by psychometric scales, were performed and compared between patients and controls.
RESULTS: The cerebellum volume was reduced in patients with cognitive impairment without dementia and with dementia, in patients with PTSD, and in patients with bipolar disorder compared to controls. In dementia and PTSD, the left cerebellar hemisphere and vermis volume were reduced. In bipolar disorder, volumes of both hemispheres and the vermis were reduced. In the first two studies, these cerebellar volumetric reductions correlated with symptoms of the disease.
CONCLUSION: The exact nature of cerebellar involvement in mental processes is still not fully understood. However, abnormalities in cerebellar structure and its functions have been reported in some of these diseases. Future studies with larger samples are needed to clarify these findings and investigate whether they are important for treatment and prognosis.


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