Merck Manual

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Locating the Cerebellum and Basal Ganglia

Locating the Cerebellum and Basal Ganglia

The cerebellum is located below the cerebrum just above the brain stem. The cerebellum coordinates the body’s movements. With information it receives from the cerebral cortex and the basal ganglia about the position of the limbs, the cerebellum helps the limbs move smoothly and accurately. (The cerebral cortex is the convoluted layer of tissue that forms the outer surface of the cerebrum. It contains most of the nerve cells in the nervous system.)

The basal ganglia are collections of nerve cells located deep within the brain. They include the following structures:

  • Caudate nucleus (a C-shaped structure that tapers to a thin tail)

  • Putamen

  • Globus pallidus (located next to the putamen)

  • Subthalamic nucleus

  • Substantia nigra

The basal ganglia help smooth out muscle movements and coordinate changes in posture.

Locating the Basal Ganglia