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A Simple, Plain English Guide to the Areas of the Brain and How an Injury to Them Can Affect You

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One of the most frightening things about traumatic brain injury (TBI) is that it shows us how little we know about the brain. While busy, concerned medical staff try to explain what’s damaged, they can lose you in a sea of medical terms.

To help out traumatic brain injury survivors and their families, here’s a list of the major parts of the brain and how injury from an accident can affect them. We got this info from brainline.org, which is a great resource for injury victims.

Frontal Lobes

As you might expect, the frontal lobes are right behind the forehead. It’s the largest part of the brain. They often get injured due to their location at the front of the skull, near rough, bony skull ridges. The frontal lobe handles:

  • Planning and organizing
  • Problem solving and decision making
  • Memory and attention
  • Controlling behavior, emotions, and impulses
  • Speech and language

A frontal lobe injury can affect those functions.

Temporal Lobes

These are on either side of the brain, at the level of your ears, stretching from around the eyes to almost the back of the skull. The temporal lobes handle:

  • Hearing
  • Understanding and making speech
  • Memory

Damage to these areas can affect the ability to hear, speak, and understand words, or even recognize a familiar person’s face.

Parietal Lobes

They are located behind the frontal lobe on the top back of the brain. The parietal lobes:

  • Contain the “primary sensory cortex,” controlling senses like touch, hot/cold, and pain
  • Orient us on direction—like which way is up
  • Make us aware of where our body parts are, so we don’t bump into things when we walk, for instance

Injury to the parietal lobes can make it impossible to locate parts of your body or even recognize them.

Occipital Lobe

This is located at the lower back of the brain. It helps us see and recognize shapes and colors. Injury to this area can cause problems with sight, including distortions of size, color, and shape.

Cerebellum

This area of the lower back of the brain controls:

  • Balance
  • Movement
  • Coordination
  • The ability to stand upright

An injured cerebellum can cause loss of these functions, including lost muscle tone and an inability to walk properly.

Hypothalamus

This is a tiny area inside the midbrain helping us:

  • Regulate body temperature
  • Recognize hunger or thirst
  • Experience moods
  • Release and regulate hormones

Damage to this area can affect these functions, including sex drive, sleep, and emotions.

Pituitary Gland

Located within the brain behind the eyes, the pituitary gland is important to our overall wellbeing and handles hormone release and regulation.

An injured pituitary gland may be revealed in:

  • Stunted growth in children
  • Blood pressure problems
  • Fatigue
  • Depression
  • Diminished sex drive
  • Body temperature
  • Impaired ability to sense pain

Amygdala

This is located in the front part of the temporal lobes. It’s involved in:

  • Creating and storing information related to emotional events
  • Long-term memory
  • Learning from pleasure
  • Recognizing danger or fear

An injured amygdala can impair these functions. It may damage memory, learning, emotional sensitivity, and can cause depression and anxiety.

Hippocampus

This is located in the middle of the temporal lobes. It’s involved in:

  • Creating and retaining memory
  • Orienting us to our surroundings
  • Helping us find our way around

Damage to the hippocampus can harm these functions, plus impair mood and create confusion and disorientation.

Brain Stem

This is located at the bottom of the brain. It’s made of three parts: the midbrain, pons, and medulla. It maintains basic involuntary functions necessary to survive, like:

  • Breathing
  • Heart rate
  • Pressure
  • Swallowing

It’s also involved in alertness and sensation. A damaged brain stem can be highly threatening, even lethal.

Simplify the Legal Part, Too

If you or someone you love has a brain injury, your life is complicated and confusing enough. Confronting the legal and insurance system on your own will only make it worse. Insurance companies make a lot of money taking advantage of people like you, who just want to get one more problem behind them so they can move to the next one.

This is a problem that needs to be dealt with carefully. A cheap settlement can have lifelong implications you will regret forever, especially if you have enormous medical bills to pay now and expect more brain injury care in the future, plus lost income you really need to get back. Having the right legal advisor can be the difference between financial ruin and peace of mind.

If you’ve got questions about your case or just want your load lightened, call toll free at 888-230-1841 or fill out a Get Help Now form.

Learn what past clients have to say about our services by checking out our Avvo.com reviews.

 

Rob Usry
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Rob is a Spartanburg, South Carolina personal injury and criminal defense lawyer.
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