Verbal short-term memory and cerebellum: Evidence from a patient with congenital cerebellar vermis hypoplasia

Sandro Misciagna, Laura Iuvone, Paolo Mariotti, Maria Caterina Silveri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The impairment of phonological short-term memory has been reported in adults with cerebellar lesions. At the same time, a role of the cerebellum in speech production has been hypothesized. Cerebellar malformations have been related to developmental problems and language acquisition in children. We describe a 5-year-old male child with cerebellar vermis hypoplasia who presented a severe linguistic deficit. On language testing, verbal production was almost absent, while comprehension was partially spared. Digit span was markedly reduced. An extensive examination of phonological short-term memory confirmed a deficit at this level. Positron Emission Tomography revealed hypometabolism both in the cerebellum and the supratentorial areas involved in language function. This finding supports the hypothesis that the cerebellum is included in a cerebro-cerebellar network, that underlies the phonological short-term memory, whose integrity is necessary for language acquisition.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)119-124
Number of pages6
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2010



  • Cerebellum
  • Children
  • Language acquisition
  • Phonological short-term memory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology

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