Filmmaker Jo McGinley has created a brief and adorable film about her cat, Charley, who has cerebellar hypoplasia – a disorder in the development of the cerebellum that causes marked movement and coordination problems.
Cerebellar hypoplasia also occurs in humans and can lead to similar movement difficulties.
The complete function of the cerebellum is poorly understood, but it is well known that it is a key part of the brain’s movement system.
Damage to the cerebellum can affect coordination and timing, and the effect of alcohol on movement may, at least in part, be explained by its effect on the cerebellum.
‘Hypolasia’ means ‘incomplete growth’ and so the ‘cerebellar hypoplasia’ refers to the physical growth problem with this part of the brain.
The movement problem associated with this, as can be seen in Charley, is known as ‘cerebellar ataxia’.
‘Ataxia’ literally means ‘without order’ and refers to the coordination of muscles. So, ‘cerebellar ataxia’ refers to a disordered movement of muscles caused by problems with the cerebellum.
The film of Charley is wonderfully endearing, and it makes the point that kittens are often destroyed if they have this problem, despite the fact that they are in no pain, need no special care, and have a normal life span.
Link to film ‘This is Charley’