The Most Injury Prone Area of the Brain and How to Protect It
While most parts of your brain can be affected by an accident, the frontal lobe is the most vulnerable area. It is also one of the most exposed and most used parts of the brain, making injuries there frequent and devastating.
What Is the Frontal Lobe?
The frontal lobe lies in the area of the brain directly behind the forehead. The frontal lobe is the largest “section” of the brain and is responsible for the unique abilities that make us human. This area of the brain is responsible for reasoning, memory, concentrating, organizing, information processing, and judgment. A person with frontal lobe brain damage may develop a completely different personality. Think of the frontal lobe as the part of the brain that defines and houses your personality.
Why Is the Frontal Lobe More Susceptible Than Other Parts of the Brain?
Since the frontal lobe is directly behind the skull, an impact from any side can affect it. When struck, the brain moves within the skull. A strike to any part of the head can cause rebounding and secondary impacts, which are likely to affect the frontal lobe. When the brain hits the inside of the skull, bruising, lacerations, swelling, and other damage can impact the front lobe.
The Prefrontal Cortex Is the Most Sensitive Place in the Frontal Lobe.
Within the frontal lobe, the most susceptible area to injury lies at the very front of the brain behind the skull. This small area of the brain largely controls the personality-creating functionality mentioned earlier. Depending on where the prefrontal cortex is damaged, a variety of symptoms can arise.
Effects of Injury Case Study: Phineas Gage
One of the most famous cases of brain injury studied by neuroscientists and psychologists over the years is that of Phineas Gage, an individual who was impaled with a railroad spike in 1848. The impact of the injury affected one side of his brain. He could speak, function, and remember events well, but those who knew him before did not recognize his personality after the accident. He lost his ability to focus and grew impatient and irritable; personality traits that starkly contrasted to the Phineas Gage friends and relatives knew before the accident.
Depending on a victim’s age and the area of injury, the symptoms of a brain injury can look very different from person to person.
Symptoms of Frontal Lobe Injury
In addition to the immediate symptoms of an injury including swelling, bruising, loss of consciousness, seizures, or nausea and vomiting, frontal lobe injuries affect the way a person fundamentally behaves. Look for symptoms including:
- Loss of motivation
- Erratic behavior or loss of judgment
- Memory loss
- Uncharacteristic impulsivity
- Increased irritability, aggression, or emotions
- Loss of focus
- Inability to process information accurately or efficiently
- Loss of sense of smell
- Any behavior that is highly uncharacteristic
If you notice any of these symptoms, contact a physician for further evaluation. Testing may identify the area of damage and help the injured recover.
Preventing Injury to the Frontal Lobe
Many frontal lobe injuries are highly preventable with a few safety precautions. Contact sports present a high risk of frontal lobe injury. Wearing a helmet and other protective gear can lessen the impact to the front cortex and prevent significant damage. Seat belts, stair rails, and non-slip mats can all help prevent accidents commonly responsible for brain injury.
Unfortunately, most serious brain injuries are not curable. They permanently alter a person’s motor functionality, senses, behavior, or personality. Seeking treatment as soon as possible can improve the outlook for a patient significantly. Some accident victims may secure compensation for further treatment and rehabilitation programs by holding the responsible parties accountable. Contact Dallas Brain Injury Attorney Jeff Benton to learn more.