The brain is made up of three major anatomical parts: the cerebrum, the cerebellum and the brain stem. The effects of a brain injury will depend on which part of the brain has been damaged.
Nerve cells in the brain send and receive electrical impulses to and from the body. If you take a close look at the human brain, there are three main parts.
- The largest is the cerebrum on top. The surface of the cerebrum is called the cerebral cortex. Although less than 0.5cm thick, the cerebral cortex is critical to your ability to move, to understand what you see and hear and to think – a complex process of making decisions, learning, remembering and planning, in other words cognition. Regrettably changes to your brain impact your cognition and can create a condition called cognitive decline.The cerebrum is divided into two halves called hemispheres. The corpus callosum is an ‘electric highway’ of nerve fibers, which connects the two hemispheres and allows information to pass between. The hemispheres are divided into smaller parts: the frontal, temporal, parietal and occipital lobes.
- At the posterior portion of the brain and beneath the cerebral cortex is the cerebellum. The cerebellum coordinates skilled movement, giving you the ability to walk without stumbling and to use their hands smoothly and precisely.
- At the base of the brain is the brain stem, a stalk-like structure that connects the brain to the spinal cord. The brain stem is where basic and involuntary functions such as breathing, blinking and bowel regulation take place.
Effects of Brain Injury on Different Parts of the Brain
In focal brain injury, such as in stroke, epidural hematoma, subarachnoid hemorrhage or subdural hematoma, just one lobe in one hemisphere may be affected. In diffuse injury, all lobes of both hemispheres may be affected. There are connections between the different areas of the brain, and damage to one area may result in dysfunction associated with other parts of the brain.
The frontal lobe controls many complex functions, which are referred to as executive functions or critical thinking. These include planning, control of impulses, problem solving, initiation, attention and emotion. The posterior portion of the frontal lobe controls movement of the opposite side of the body. Damage to the frontal system (that is, damage to the frontal lobes directly or to the connections to the frontal lobe) may cause changes in behavior, attention, emotions, also weakness to the opposite side of the body.
These changes can be confirmed with testing, and are commonly known as cognitive decline, which regrettably, can be the first signs of Alzheimer’s disease.
The parietal lobes provide sensory information to the brain including touch, pain and temperature. Damage may cause one to lose sensation down the opposite side of the body. This may result in being less aware of parts of their body. This is known as sensory neglect.
The functions of the temporal lobes include hearing, memory and learning. Damage may cause difficulties with organizing what to say, finding and using the correct words. It may also result in difficulties with short-term memory. In the aging adult this sign is often the beginning of the brain shriveling, known clinically as mild cognitive impairment (MCI).
The occipital lobes help us understand what we see. They interpret the color, shape and distance away of what we look at. Damage may result in a distortion of what is seen and difficulty recognizing or interpreting familiar objects.
Damage to the cerebellum may result in movement becoming jerky or uncoordinated and is known as cerebellar ataxia. Speech may also become slurred and difficult to understand. The cerebellum has rich connections to the cerebrum. Therefore, damage to the cerebellum can result in disruption to some of the functions controlled by other parts of the brain.
Key Points and Clinical Pearls
- The central nervous system is made up of the brain, the brain stem, the cerebellum and spinal cord.
- There are different areas of the brain including the frontal, parietal, temporal and occipital lobes.
- The effects of brain injury will depend on what part of the brain, and/or which connections to an area within the brain are damaged.
- Functions that are controlled by one part of the brain can be disrupted when connections to it are damaged due to brain injury.
The following is a true story
The radiologist who reviewed the brain MRI scan reported that the female patient in her 60’s had significant degeneration of the brain white matter. The doctor called it Dirty White Matter Disease (DWMD). We know that DWMD is caused by brain inflammation, toxicity, and a lack of brain blood flow which can lead to brain tissue malfunction and death. With diminished brain blood flow, brain cells die, which can cause serious mental functional interruptions, mini “black outs”, you feel like you are constantly in a “fog”.
In the normal healthy brain, white matter brain tissue contains a very complex system of billions of neurons and glia cells. Each neuron and glia cell, has thousands of links to key parts of the brain and body, electrically and biochemically, signaling and communicating with one another.
With DWMD, the brain switches off the flow of electricity and biochemicals. With brain signaling switched off, the brain stops communicating with the rest of your brain and body. That portion of the brain that is “switched off” becomes “dirty” or dark, impacting our thought processes, our ability to function and to communicate.
This is known as cognitive decline or early onset dementia. There is loss of critical thinking, problem-solving and focus. Mental tasks become more difficult and challenging. Memory starts “leaking like a sieve”.
Dr. Dale Bredesen’s ground breaking medical research demonstrates that cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s Disease can be prevented and reversed. That is very, very good news.
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Nature’s Doctors ™ Clarity® is a dietary supplement and NOT a medicine. The information provided is for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for advice from your physician or other health care professional.