Brain Functions

Cerebral Cortex

Frontal Lobe, Parietal Lobes, Occipital Lobes, Temporal Lobes.

Frontal Lobe

Functions

  • How we know what we are doing within our environment (Consciousness)
  • How we initiate activity in response to our environment
  • Judgments we make about what occurs in our daily activities
  • Controls our emotional response
  • Controls our expressive language
  • Assigns meaning to the words we choose
  • Involves word associations
  • Memory for habits and for motor activities

Possible Consequences of Injury

  • Loss of simple movement of various body parts (Paralysis)
  • Inability to plan a sequence of complex movements needed to complete multi-stepped tasks, such as making coffee (Sequencing)
  • Loss of spontaneity in interacting with others
  • Loss of flexibility in thinking
  • Persistence of a single thought (Perseveration)
  • Inability to focus on task (Attending)
  • Mood changes (Emotionally Labile)
  • Changes in social behaviour
  • Changes in personality
  • Difficulty with problem-solving
  • Inability to express language (Broca’s Aphasia)
These difficulties may or may not appear and if they do, can present to varying degrees.

Parietal Lobe

Functions

  • Visual attention
  • Touch perception
  • Goal-directed voluntary movements
  • Manipulation of objects
  • Integration of different senses, allowing for understanding a single concept

Possible Consequences of Injury

  • Inability to attend to more than one object at a time
  • Inability to name an object (Anomia)
  • Inability to locate the words for writing (Agraphia)
  • Problems with reading (Alexia)
  • Difficulty with drawing objects
  • Difficulty in distinguishing Left from Right
  • Difficulty with doing mathematics (Dyscalculia)
  • Lack of awareness of certain body parts and/or surrounding space (Apraxia), what leads to difficulties in self-care
  • Inability to focus visual attention
  • Difficulties with eye and hand coordination

These difficulties may or may not appear and if they do, can present to varying degrees.

Occipital Lobe

Functions

  • Vision

Possible Consequences of Injury

  • Defects in vision (Visual Field Cuts)
  • Difficulty with locating objects in the environment

Sometimes (But Rarely) Associated With The Following:

  • Difficulty with identifying colours (Color Agnosia)
  • Production of hallucinations
  • Visual illusions – inaccurately seeing objects
  • Word blindness – inability to recognize words
  • Difficulty in recognizing drawn objects
  • Difficulties with reading and writing
  • Inability to recognize the movement of an object (Movement Agnosia)

These difficulties may or may not appear and if they do, can present to varying degrees.

Temporal Lobe

Functions

  • Hearing ability
  • Acquisition of memory
  • Some visual perceptions
  • Categorization of objects

Possible Consequences of Injury

  • Difficulty in recognizing faces (Prosopagnosia)
  • Difficulty in understanding spoken words (Wernicke’s Aphasia)
  • Disturbance with selective attention to what we see and hear
  • Difficulty with identification of, and verbalization about, objects.
  • Short-term memory loss
  • Interference with long-term memory
  • Inability to categorize objects (Categorization)

These difficulties may or may not appear and if they do, can present to varying degrees.

Cerebellum

Functions

  • Coordination of voluntary movement
  • Balance and equilibrium
  • Some memory for reflex motor acts

Possible Consequences of Injury

  • Loss of ability to coordinate fine movements
  • Loss of ability to walk
  • Inability to reach out and grab objects
  • Tremors
  • Dizziness (Vertigo)
  • Slurred Speech (Scanning Speech)
  • Inability to make rapid movements

These difficulties may or may not appear and if they do, can present to varying degrees.

Brain Stem

Functions

  • Breathing
  • Heart Rate
  • Swallowing
  • Reflexes to seeing and hearing (Startle Response)
  • Controls sweating, blood pressure, digestion, temperature (Autonomic Nervous System)
  • Affects level of alertness
  • Ability to sleep
  • Sense of balance (Vestibular Function)

Possible Consequences of Injury

  • Decreased vital capacity in breathing, important for speech
  • Swallowing food and water (Dysphagia)
  • Problems with balance and movement
  • Dizziness and nausea (Vertigo)
  • Sleeping difficulties (e.g., Insomnia, sleep apnea)

These difficulties may or may not appear and if they do, can present to varying degrees.

Anyone in B.C. with questions about a child or youth with brain injuries is welcome to call our information line.
Lower Mainland : 604.451.5511 or Toll Free : 1.877.451.5511.