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Jeremy Schmahmann, MD

  • Director, Ataxia Unit


Accepting New Patients


Dr. Schmahmann is Professor of Neurology at Harvard Medical School, Director of the MGH Ataxia Unit and the Laboratory for Neuroanatomy and Cerebellar Neurobiology, and a member of the MGH Cognitive Behavioral Neurology Unit.



Clinical Interests
  • Ataxia
  • Cerebellar disorders
  • Cognitive/behavioral neurology
Medical Education
  • MD, University of Cape Town
  • Residency, Boston Medical Center
Board Certifications
  • Neurology
  • Boston: Massachusetts General Hospital
Patient Gateway
Yes, learn more
Insurances Accepted
  • Aetna Health Inc.
  • Beech Street
  • Blue Cross Blue Shield - Blue Care 65
  • Blue Cross Blue Shield - Indemnity
  • Blue Cross Blue Shield - Managed Care
  • Blue Cross Blue Shield - Partners Plus
  • Centene/Celticare
  • Cigna (PAL #'s)
  • Fallon Community HealthCare
  • Great-West Healthcare (formally One Health Plan)
  • Harvard Pilgrim Health Plan - ACD
  • Harvard Pilgrim Health Plan - PBO
  • Health Care Value Management (HCVM)
  • Humana/Choice Care PPO
  • Medicaid
  • Medicare
  • Medicare - ACD
  • Neighborhood Health Plan - ACD
  • Neighborhood Health Plan - PBO
  • OSW - Maine
  • OSW - New Hampshire
  • OSW - Rhode Island
  • OSW - Vermont
  • Private Health Care Systems (PHCS)
  • Railroad Medicare
  • Railroad Medicare - ACD
  • Senior Whole Health
  • TriCare
  • Tufts Health Plan
  • Unicare
  • United Healthcare (non-HMO) - ACD
  • United Healthcare (non-HMO) - PBO
Patient Age Group

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Jeremy D. Schmahmann, M.D. is Founding Director of the MGH Ataxia Unit, a member of the Cognitive Behavioral Neurology Unit, and Professor of Neurology at Harvard Medical School (HMS). He graduated with distinction from the University of Cape Town, winning the Nestle Prize (pediatrics) and Wilfrid Exner Bauman Prize (best student). After residency in the Boston City Hospital Neurological Unit, and fellowship in the Boston University School of Medicine Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology, he joined the MGH faculty in 1989. He has been cited in The Best Doctors in America since 1996, is a Fellow of the American Academy of Neurology, the American Neurological Association, and the American Neuropsychiatric Association, member of the National Ataxia Foundation medical research advisory board, the Cerebellar Research Consortium, and the Multiple System Atrophy Global Working Group.

Dr. Schmahmann won the 2000 Norman Geschwind Prize from the American Academy of Neurology and Behavioral Neurology Society for pioneering research on the cerebellum and cognition, the 2008 Distinguished Neurology Teacher Award from the American Neurological Association, and the 2013 Special Award for Sustained Excellence in Teaching in from HMS. His neurological and neuroanatomical research has been funded by NIH and private foundations. Dr. Schmahmann was a Founding Co-Director of the HMS Dementia Course, and has over 180 publications in peer-reviewed journals and academic texts. He has authored and edited 5 books: The Cerebellum and Cognition (Academic Press), MRI Atlas of the Human Cerebellum (Academic Press), Fiber Pathways of the Brain (Oxford University Press), Cerebellar Disorders in Children (Mac Keith Press), and Handbook of the Cerebellum and Cerebellar Disorders (Springer).

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Research & Publications

Research Summary
Structure and function of the cerebellum in health and disease
In collaboration with colleagues locally and nationally we study: healthy individuals using magnetic resonance brain imaging (MRI) techniques to identify regions of the cerebellum that are engaged in motor control, intellectual functions and emotional processing; adults and children with cerebellar injury (stroke, tumors, developmental disorders) to understand the effects of cerebellar damage on motor control, as well as on intellect and mood; anatomical circuits in the monkey linking the cerebellum with other brain regions; transcranial magnetic stimulation of the cerebellum to treat psychiatric conditions; stem cells derived from patients with cerebellar diseases to explore the biology of these diseases; new treatments for Friedreich's Ataxia; genetic basis for multiple system atrophy; mitochondrial basis to some cases of sporadic ataxia; the natural history of the spinocerebellar ataxia types 1, 2, 3 and 6; and MRI markers of disease progression in cerebellar degeneration

Connectional neuroanatomy in the human brain
We use MRI techniques (DSI - diffusion spectrum imaging) to conduct research in the human brain, both living and deceased, to find out how the human brain is hard wired. In collaboration with MGH investigators who invented this new technology, we analyze the wiring of brain regions relevant to many neuropsychiatric conditions (schizophrenia, autism, depression, obsessive compulsive disorder, and post-concussion injury), and neurological disorders (Alzheimer's disease, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis), and we use this connectional approach to explore how cerebellum is linked to the cerebral hemispheres. This ability to study the connections, functions and anatomy of the human brain in living individuals across time is an exciting and major development that has implications for the understanding and treatment of disorders of the nervous system.

View my most recent publications at PubMed


Schmahmann JD. An emerging concept: The cerebellar contribution to higher function. Arch. Neurol. 1991;48:1178-1187.

Schmahmann JD and Pandya DN. Anatomic organization of the basilar pontine projections from prefrontal cortices in rhesus monkey. J. Neurosci. 1997;17:438-458.

Schmahmann JD and Sherman JC. The cerebellar cognitive affective syndrome. Brain. 1998; 121:561-579.

Levisohn L, Cronin-Golomb A, Schmahmann JD. Neuropsychological consequences of cerebellar tumor resection in children: Cerebellar cognitive affective syndrome in a pediatric population. Brain. 2000; 123:1041-50.

Schmahmann JD, Weilburg JB, Sherman JC. The neuropsychiatry of the cerebellum: insights from the clinic. The Cerebellum. 2007; 6:254-67.

Schmahmann JD, Pandya DN, Wang R, Dai G, d'Arceuil HE, de Crespigny AJ, Wedeen VJ. Association fiber pathways of the brain: Parallel observations from diffusion spectrum imaging and autoradiography. Brain. 2007; 130:630-53.

Schmahmann JD. The role of the cerebellum in cognition and emotion: Personal reflections since 1982 on the dysmetria of thought hypothesis, and its historical evolution from theory to therapy. Neuropsychol Rev. 2010;20(3):236-60.

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Neurology & Stroke Services
15 Parkman Street
Boston MA, 02114-3117
Phone: 617-726-8639617-724-3992
Fax: 617-724-7836

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