How does brain trauma affect the different parts of the brain?

How does brain trauma affect the different parts of the brain?

Brains are complicated organs. Because of the brain’s complexity, the effects of a brain injury can vary greatly from person to person and can depend on factors such as severity, cause and the location of the brain. Each part of the brain has a specific role, and it works with other parts of the brain. Even a minor or mild injury to the brain can disrupt the brain’s ability to function.

Although brain injuries are complicated and can have unpredictable effects, injuries to specific areas of the brain are known to cause different symptoms. The Brain Injury Association of America (BIAA) has divided these effects into three general areas. They are:

  • Injuries to the left side of the brain. These injuries can cause difficulties in understanding language or speaking language, depression, anxiety, verbal memory and logic problems, problems with sequencing and lack of control over body movements on the right side of the body.
  • Injuries to the right side of the brain. These injuries can cause visual-spatial impairment, inattention to the left side of the body, lack of the ability to consider the “big picture,” changed creativity, less awareness of the brain’s deficits, and problems with visual memory.
  • Injuries scattered throughout the brain. These injuries are called diffuse brain injuries and can cause confusion, fatigue, reduced attention, reduced speed of thinking and reduced cognitive skills in general.

In addition to being separated into the right and left sides, the brain can be divided into lobes. To learn more about the effects of brain injuries to specific lobes or parts, please review our pages on these topics:

  • Brain stem injuries, which affect the part of the brain that connects to the spinal cord
  • Frontal lobe injuries, which affect the part of the brain that manage voluntary movement, thinking and personality
  • Parietal lobe injuries, which affect the part of the brain that manages mathematical and reading ability, sensory ability and visual-spatial processing
  • Occipital lobe injuries, which affect the part of the brain that handles visual perception and the ability to know colors
  • Temporal lobe injuries, which affect the parts of the brain that deal with emotional stability and sensory input on the left side and speech, music, experience extreme emotions, and remembering art and music on the right side.

Source: Brain Injury Association of America, Living with Brain Injury, Oct. 12, 2012 

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