Many parts of the brain may be affected in a Traumatic Brain Injury. The brain floats in cerebrospinal fluid within the hard skull cavity. Portions of the interior of the skull against which the brain is situated are irregular and sharp, which is an added danger when the brain impacts the interior of the skull during trauma. The brain cerebrum is an organ with the consistency of gelatin that is situated within the skull. The cerebrum has an outer layer of tissue known as the cerebral cortex which surrounds the gray matter. The cerebrum is sectionalized into main regions known as lobes. The major lobes are the frontal lobe, temporal lobe, parietal lobe, occipital lobe, cerebellum, and brainstem. Each of these lobes controls different brain functions. Each part is susceptible to injury from trauma. Damage to a particular lobe can cause impairment of functions controlled by it. It is also understood that certain lobes are within a network of interconnected structures, and damage to one such structure can affect brain functions controlled by other structures within that network.
The Frontal Lobe is the “filter” – it is the emotional and personal control center for the human-being. Frontal Lobe injuries impact the victim’s personal filter and cognitive functions. The frontal lobe controls attention, motivation, emotional and social control, verbal expression, judgment, spontaneity, problem solving, movement, thinking initiation, reasoning, judgment, behavior, emotions, memory, and speaking. Frontal lobe injury victims display perseveration – repeating a word or phrase insistently or redundantly. The Frontal Lobe is almost always injured due to its large size and its location near the front of the cranium, which is the part of the skull that encloses the brain.
The Temporal Lobe controls the short-term memory, receptive language, comprehension, selective attention, auditory processing, face recognition, behavior, emotions, understanding language, and hearing.
The Parietal Lobe controls touch, spatial orientation, understanding spatial relationships, eye-hand coordination, distinguishing left from right, sensation, and reading.
The Occipital Lobe controls perception, visual procession, vision, color blindness, reading, perception and the recognition of printed words. It is in the very back of the head. This area of the brain is most likely impacted when the victim experiences a sensation described as “seeing stars.”
The Cerebellum is known as the “little brain.” The Cerebellum controls voluntary movement coordination, balance, and fine muscle control.
The Brainstem controls heart rate, breathing, body temperature, blood pressure, heartbeat, alertness, sleep regulation, swallowing food and fluid, digestion, balance and movement. It is automatic – the things we do not think about but we do automatically.