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A Brain Injury and Frontal Lobe Damage

By Sharon Perkins ; Updated August 14, 2017

Injury to the frontal lobe of the brain can cause temporary or permanent changes in the way a person thinks and functions as well as personality changes. Because it sits at the front of the brain, the frontal lobe is especially vulnerable to damage from traumatic injury. Damage to the frontal area of the brain causes a wide range of dysfunction related to the specific area of injury.

Definition

The frontal lobe, the largest and most advanced part of the brain, consists of a left and right lobe and makes up part of the cerebral cortex. The frontal lobe lies directly behind the forehead.

Causes

Frontal lobe brain injuries often occur after trauma or from diseases such as stroke that decrease blood flow to areas of the brain, from viruses that attack the brain cells, such as meningitis or from exposure to toxins such as carbon monoxide, states the Brain Injury Association of America.

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Symptoms

Symptoms of frontal lobe injury depend on the area of the frontal lobe impacted, according to the Merck Manual. Damage to the front part of the frontal lobe can cause apathy, inability to concentrate, slowness in answering questions and loss of inhibition. Loss of inhibition can cause inappropriate social actions manifested as argumentative, vulgar or euphoric behavior. People with inhibition loss may repeat what they say and show no regard for the consequences of their actions, Merck explains.

Damage to the middle of the front lobe may affect the ability to move the eyes and interfere with speech. The ability to carry out complex movements in sequence may also be disrupted. The back of the frontal lobe controls voluntary movements; damage to this area can cause weakness or paralysis.

Treatment

Brain cells can’t regenerate, but the brain may, over time, learn to compensate for loss of cells in damaged areas, states the Ohio State University Medical Center. Treatment for frontal lobe brain injury involves rehabilitation to assess the person’s abilities and to teach a person new ways to perform tasks such as problem solving and motor skills. Specialists ranging from physical therapists to psychologists are involved in rehabilitation from frontal lobe injuries.

Prognosis

Frontal lobe brain injury can range from mild and temporary, such as sustained in a mild concussion, to life threatening. The degree of brain injury is rated according to the Glasgow coma Scale, with lower numbers denoting more serious damage and less chance of recovery from the injury, reports the Brain Injury Association of America.

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