Don't forget the little brain: A framework for incorporating the cerebellum into the understanding of cognitive aging. Academic Article uri icon


  • With the rapidly growing population of older adults, an improved understanding of brain and cognitive aging is critical, given the impacts on health, independence, and quality of life. To this point, we have a well-developed literature on the cortical contributions to cognition in advanced age. However, while this work has been foundational for our understanding of brain and behavior in older adults, subcortical contributions, particularly those from the cerebellum, have not been integrated into these models and frameworks. Incorporating the cerebellum into models of cognitive aging is an important step for moving the field forward. There has also been recent interest in this structure in Alzheimer's dementia, indicating that such work may be beneficial to our understanding of neurodegenerative disease. Here, I provide an updated overview of the cerebellum in advanced age and propose that it serves as a critical source of scaffolding or reserve for cortical function. Age-related impacts on cerebellar function further impact cortical processing, perhaps resulting in many of the activation patterns commonly seen in aging.

published proceedings

  • Neurosci Biobehav Rev

author list (cited authors)

  • Bernard, J. A.

complete list of authors

  • Bernard, Jessica A

publication date

  • January 1, 2022 11:11 AM