Sara Bellum
October 29 2009

Our word for today is: Cerebellum

Cerebellum: A portion of the brain that helps regulate posture, balance, and coordination during activities such as playing ball, picking up objects, and balancing.

Why do I like this word so much? Say it again: "cer·e·bel·lum" (s?r'?-b?l'?m)—yup, it's my namesake! When we walk down the street or concentrate on keeping our balance, our cerebellum is guiding us. The cerebellum coordinates our voluntary muscle movement as well as our posture and balance, like a puppeteer helping us put one leg in front of the other. Suppose you're playing ball? Picking up your pet? Playing a musical instrument? Your cerebellum is hard at work inside your head so you can slam dunk that basketball, hold onto the cat, and play each note on your electric guitar perfectly. And these are just a few of the activities that the cerebellum handles for us. The cerebellum is located just above the brainstem, where our brain connects to our spinal cord. The average teen's cerebellum weighs about 6 ounces. That's about one-eighth of the total weight of our brain, which weighs about 3 pounds. Hmm...who knew something so little could be so powerful? You can look up more words in the NIDA for Teens glossary.

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