The brain is arguably the most essential, most complicated organ in your body. It is in charge of everything. It operates in the background, making sure we stay alive, and, in the foreground as the home of our awareness. This is why it’s so concerning when someone experiences a traumatic brain injury, and why it’s important to understand how each part of the brain is impacted by a TBI.
At CareFor, we believe that learning about the possible traumatic brain injury signs and symptoms in relation to the area in the brain where the injury took place can help families better understand and make more knowledgeable decisions relating to their loved one’s care.
How Does a TBI Affect Each Area of the Brain?
- Parietal Lobe: The parietal lobe is the base of our comprehension of language, our sense of touch, our spatial awareness, visual perceptions, and our sense of time. When this section of the brain is injured, people might experience problems with reading, the inability to draw or name objects, difficulty differentiating right from left, problems with math, and an unawareness of or neglect of specific body parts. They will also commonly have difficulty with eye-hand coordination.
- Temporal Lobe: The temporal lobe is the home to our language comprehension, memory, hearing, learning, and sequencing. It lets us recognize faces and generates emotions. The effects of a temporal lobe injury can include difficulty with key functions as well as changes in sexual behavior, persistent talking (specifically with right lobe damage) and elevated aggression.
- Frontal Lobe: The frontal lobe is home to a person’s personality, intelligence, and emotions. It is the region of the brain that controls concentration, makes judgments, and problem-solves. It also controls body movement, including writing and speech. The effects of a frontal lobe injury can include changes and/or difficulties with the core functions controlled by the frontal lobe in addition to more subtle manifestations of the core functionality, such as a lack of inhibition, an impaired sense of smell, vision loss, persistence of a single thought, and mood swings.
- Cerebellum: The cerebellum manages movement, balance, and coordination. A cerebellum injury can cause someone to lose the ability to do things that require coordination, such as walking, talking, or reaching out to pick up something. It can also cause tremors, dizziness, and/or slurred speech.
- Brain Stem: The brain stem regulates the basic mechanism of life, which includes heart rate, respiration, digestion, and blood pressure. It is the home of the startle response and reflex emotions, sleeping and waking cycles, and our ability to sneeze, cough, swallow, and vomit. Brain stem damage can lead to problems with all of these basic mechanisms, including impacting speech, due to a reduced capacity for breathing.
- Occipital Lobe: The occipital lobe is the home of sight. The impact of an occipital lobe injury might include vision problems, such as blurred vision or blind spots, hallucinations, visual illusions, the inability to detect the movement of an object, or difficulties with reading and writing.
The brain, although it is made up of parts, does function as a whole. Difficulties with behaviors or functions can cascade, as can accomplishments gained through rehabilitation. If you have a loved one with a traumatic brain injury and could use help with caregiving due to the behavioral or physiological effects of the person’s trauma, CareFor can help.