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About the human brain

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The 13th-19th March 2017 was Brain Awareness Week. The week promotes brain research to help raise awareness. To promote the week, specialist brain injury solicitors CFG Law have put together a summary about the brain and how brain injury can affect people.

Parts of the brain

The brain is made up of four lobes which each contribute to different functioning in the body. The four lobes are; the frontal lobe, parietal lobe, temporal lobe and occipital lobe.

The frontal lobe

  • This is located at the front of the brain, just behind the skull in the forehead.
  • The frontal lobe controls reasoning, motor skills, high-level cognition and language, as well as planning, parts of speech, movement, emotions and problem-solving.

If a brain injury occurs in the frontal lobe and it becomes damaged, people often report changes in socialisation, personality, attention and also an increased level of risk taking.

The parietal lobe

  • This is located in the middle of the brain.
  • The parietal lobe is associated with processing senses and such things as pressure, movement, orientation, recognition and perception. It also controls touch and pain, as well as other senses.

If the parietal lobe becomes damaged in an accident, it can lead to verbal memory problems, problems with language processing and also issues with eye movement.

The temporal lobe

  • This is located at the bottom of the brain.
  • The temporal lobe also contains the hippocampus.
  • The temporal lobe controls what we hear and auditory functions. It interprets sound and language. The hippocampus is responsible for forming memories, perception, recognition of auditory stimuli and speech.

If a brain injury damages the temporal lobe, this can lead to problems with memory, language and speech perception.

The occipital lobe

  • This is located at the back of the brain.
  • The occipital lobe controls vision and processing visual information.

People who sustain a brain injury in their occipital lobe can experience problems with vision, including problems recognising objects, identifying colours and recognising words.

There are also several other important sections that make up the brain. These include; the brain stem, cerebellum and limbic system.

The brain stem

  • Both the hindbrain and midbrain are located in the brain stem.
  • The hindbrain is located at the bottom of the brain stem, directly above the spinal cord. Many functions are associated with the hindbrain including; heart rate, breathing, blood pressure, coordination of movements, sleep and attention.
  • The midbrain is the smallest section of the brain and is also located in the brain stem. It is associated with information in relation to hearing and sight.

If the brain stem is damaged, many people often report problems with mobility and motor control. This can affect our ability to stand, walk, lift and throw, write and many other tasks which require motor control. Where there is a severe injury to the brain stem, this will likely result in death as the brain stem controls our basic functions of breathing and heart rate.

The cerebellum

  • This can also sometimes be called the “little brain”. The cerebellum is located on top of the brain stem.
  • The cerebellum is associated with coordination of movement, posture and balance.
  • It works by receiving signals from the inner ear, sensory nerves and visual and auditory system.

A brain injury in the cerebellum can result in problems with coordination and an inability to judge distance, a higher risk of falling, slurred speed and abnormal eye movements.

The limbic system

  • The limbic system consists of the thalamus and hypothalamus, amygdala and hippocampus.
  • The thalamus is associated with movement and sensory information.
  • The hypothalamus is associated with controlling hunger, thirst, emotions and body temperature.

Damage to the limbic system can lead to abnormal communication throughout the brain and body and result in major behavioural and emotional changes.

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