Contributions of age and alcohol consumption to cerebellar integrity, gait and cognition in non-demented very old individuals

Olivier Piguet*, Jane Cramsie, Hayley P. Bennett, Jillian J. Kril, Tanya C. Lye, Alastair J. Corbett, Michael Hayes, Helen Creasey, G. Anthony Broe

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


Gait disturbance and cognitive changes are common with ageing. The cerebellum contributes to motor coordination and participates in various aspects of cognition. However, no research has investigated the possible cerebellar contribution to gait and cognition in non-demented very old individuals. The current study aimed to determine the associations between indices of cerebellar size (vermal area and total volume) and measures of motor and cognitive integrity, as well as the role of variables known to impact on cerebellar size (alcohol consumption and chronological age) in a sample of 111 community dwellers (mean age: 85 years; range: 81-97 years). A marginally significant association was present between age and total vermal area. Significant correlations between current daily alcohol intake and some vermal areas were observed. These associations were more pronounced in men, particularly after controlling for cerebrum size. Multiple linear regression models revealed limited unique contributions of cerebellar predictors to neurological and cognitive measures. In summary, the results indicate that the cerebellum may be susceptible to alcohol-related shrinkage in non-demented very old individuals, more so in men, even at low dose. It also appears that the observed changes in cerebellum size in this population contribute little to neurological and cognitive changes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)504-511
Number of pages8
JournalEuropean Archives of Psychiatry and Clinical Neuroscience
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Ageing
  • Cerebellum
  • Cognition
  • Gait
  • MRI


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