The Lobes of the Brain and the Brain Stem: Specific Functions and Effects of Brain Trauma Injury

When a person becomes a victim of any traumatic brain injury, he may suffer from various significant neurologic, physiological, emotional, and physical changes. To have a better understanding and idea about the effects of brain trauma, there is a need for people to have an overview of the organs involved and what precise effects would result if damaged or injured because the outcome of the injury will depend greatly on the extent and location of the brain damage.

The human body will not be able to function if any of the organ system’s function has been disrupted because they have their own individual roles to play. One of the most vital organ systems of all is the central nervous system; this is composed mainly of the brain and the spinal cord.

  • The Brain functions as the main or the central core of the human body as it assimilates all the information, interprets the gathered information, coordinates them with the other systems of the body and sends neural impulses to a particular part of the body to allow it to perform its specific functions. Lobe and Stem Injury are the most common forms traumatic brain injuries.
  • The Spinal Cord is a bundle of thin and long nerve tissues that originate from the medulla oblongata of the brain beginning at the occipital bone and extends to the lumbar region of the vertebra. It basically is responsible for the somatosensory organization which functions as the pathway for receiving sensory stimuli and sends them to the brain for interpretation. This part of the central nervous system also serves as the pathway for motor neuronal impulses.

The Structure and Function of the Human Brain

The brain controls all human activities and all the vital processes like breathing and the heartbeat. It also is the center for cognitive activities, psychological perception, and emotional response.

The brain is basically divided into 2 hemispheres:

The Left hemisphere: it controls and interprets all movements and sensations from the right side of the body. If the head trauma causes damages on this side of the brain, then all movements and activities of the right side of the body are affected. Since this part of the brain is responsible for most cognitive and logical processes the person’s speech, comprehension, writing and listening abilities are also disrupted.

The Right Hemisphere: This other half of the brain is considered the center of music and arts because it is responsible for integrating information to create a picture in the brain; this part also is responsible for interpreting visual and oral patterns as well as creating proper emotional expression and responses. Therefore, when this part of the brain sustains injuries or damages, emotional and behavioral changes will be manifested by the person.

The different lobes of the brain and the brainstem: specific functions and effects of brain trauma injury:

Frontal Lobe. This is located in the most anterior portion of the brain just under the forehead. It is responsible for a person’s consciousness, emotional response, language, and memory for some motor activities.

  • Injury to this lobe of the brain may result to the following:
  • Paralysis
  • Uncoordinated body movements
  • Inability to interact with others
  • Inability to focus
  • Emotional and behavioral changes
  • Inability in finding solutions to simple problems
  • Broca’s Aphasia
  • Personality changes

Pareital Lobe. This lobe is located near the rear and crown of the head. This is responsible for locating the point of visual and touch stimuli, the ability to manipulate objects, control of voluntary movements and integration and interpretation of the different sensations.

  • Injury to this lobe of the brain may result to the following:
  • Anomia – the person is unable to name familiar objects
  • Agraphia – inability to recognize and locate words for writing
  • Alexia – inability to read
  • Uncoordinated eye and hand movements
  • Dyscalculia – inability to solve mathematical problems
  • Inability to distinguish the right from the left
  • Inability to draw
  • Inability to focus visually

Occipital Lobe. This is located in the most posterior area of the head and its basic and major function involves receiving and interpreting visual stimuli.

  • Injury to this lobe of the brain may result to the following:
  • Visual disturbances such as visual field cuts
  • Inability to locate and identify certain objects
  • Color Agnosia – inability to identify colors
  • Seeing objects inaccurately creating some visual illusions and hallucinations
  • Recognizing words may be difficult
  • Movement Agnosia
  • Difficulty in writing and reading

Temporal Lobe. This is located on both sides of the head just above the ears. This is lobe is responsible for hearing, other visual perception and memory.

  • Injury to this lobe of the brain may result to the following:
  • Prosopagnosia – inability to recognize familiar faces
  • Wernicke’s Aphasia – difficulty or inability to comprehend spoken words
  • Trouble in identifying and describing or verbalizing about certain objects
  • Development of antagonistic and hostile behavior
  • Persistent talking
  • Reduced interest in sex

Brain Stem. This is located deep inside the brain and is connected to the spinal cord. This part of the nervous system is responsible for regulating respiration, heart rate, and reflexes stimulated through vision and hearing. The brain stem is also responsible for various systemic functions such as digestions, body temperature, blood pressure, sleep, level of alertness and vestibular function or balance.

  • Injury to this lobe of the brain may result to the following:
  • Reduced vital breathing capacity required for speech
  • Dysphagia – difficulty in swallowing
  • Vertigo
  • Insomnia
  • Inability to maintain balance
  • Sleep apnea

When all or some of these symptoms of lobe and stem injury are manifested by a certain individual, it is very imperative that the patient seeks immediate medical advice for a more effective diagnosis and proper modality of treatment for better prognosis or a better chance of full recovery.