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The pathophysiologic mechanism of cerebellar mutism.


Posted on: 11/22/2006

Surg Neurol. 2006 Jul;66(1):18-25.

 
The pathophysiologic mechanism of cerebellar mutism.

Ozgur BM, Berberian J, Aryan HE, Meltzer HS, Levy ML.

Pediatric Neurosurgery, Children's Hospital of San Diego, San Diego, CA 92123, USA. bozgur@ucsd.edu

OBJECTIVE: Cerebellar mutism (CM) is a postoperative complication of mainly pediatric posterior fossa surgery. Multiple theories exist for explaining this phenomenon. We have made an attempt to further understand this entity given a particularly interesting case as it relates to multiple pathophysiologic pathways. METHODS: We have reviewed the details surrounding a particularly interesting case of CM. A retrospective analysis of this patient's clinical history and recovery is described. An extensive literature review has been performed in conjunction with an attempt to help elucidate details and a better understanding of CM. RESULTS: A thorough analysis of existing theories as to the pathophysiologic mechanism of CM has been performed as it relates to the details of this particular case. A case is described in which a child exhibiting CM abruptly improved and made a relatively quick recovery after the triggering of the melodic speech pathway by way of watching and beginning to sing along with a video. It appears that this incident involving a familiar song catalyzed various speech pathways, which apparently were in some state of shock. This phenomenon seems to be a temporary entity involving not only the mechanical coordination of speech production, but also the initiation of speech itself. CONCLUSIONS: Evidence exists for a pathophysiologic pathway for speech by way of coordinating phonation and articulation. In addition, there seems to exist a pathway by which the initiation of speech may be altered or halted by posterior fossa pathology, namely, vermian or dentate nuclear injury. In particular to this case, we found that the incidental appreciation of other forms of speech, melodic in this instance, may be the key to help stimulate and accelerate the recovery from CM.

Publication Types:
PMID: 16793430 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]

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