The brain is by far the most complex organ in the body. It is the centre for our body and responsible for our entire being.
The brain has many functions, allowing us to think, speak, laugh, and breathe. Throughout the day our brain receives and responds to hundreds of messages from our bodies and the world around us.
The brain has 100 million nerve cells which are called neurons.
Due to the complexity of the brain, no two acquired brain injuries (ABI) are the same. Each individual will experience the effects of an ABI in a unique way.
That being said, there are certain symptoms that can be expected as a result of injury to specific brain areas. This is because specific areas of the brain are known to be responsible for specific functions.
Parts of the Brain and Their Functions
The cerebral cortex is the wrinkly, outermost layer of the brain. The cerebral cortex is responsible for thinking and processing information from the five senses. It is divided into four different lobes: frontal, parietal, occipital, and temporal, which are each responsible for processing different kinds of sensory information.
The frontal lobe is essential for everyday living, involved in higher mental processes such as thinking, planning, and decision making. The frontal lobe helps us to speak fluently and meaningfully, and is also where our personality is formed. When you are planning and deciding what to eat for dinner, you are using your frontal lobe!
The parietal lobe is responsible for processing and integrating sensory information that has to do with taste, temperature, and touch. The parietal lobe must process sensory information within seconds to allow the information to be redirected to other parts of the brain to create an appropriate response. With damage to certain areas of the parietal lobe, an individual would not be able to feel sensations of touch or taste.
The occipital lobe is important as it allows us to correctly understand what our eyes are seeing.The occipital lobe is responsible for processing visual information from our eyes, and make sense of it. Impairments to the occipital lobe results in visual confusion, as we are not able to correctly process visual information from our eyes.
The temporal lobe is essential for hearing and selecting information to listen to. Specifically, the temporal lobe is responsible for processing auditory information such as sounds and speech from the ears. The temporal lobe allows us to comprehend conversations and understand what someone is saying when they speak to us.
The cerebellum is often referred to as the "little brain" and is located at the base of the brain stem. The cerebellum is responsible for coordinating the muscles of the body and balance. It is essential for performing everyday voluntary tasks such as writing and walking. Individuals with damage to the cerebellum may have difficulties with balance and muscle coordination.
The brainstem is responsible for integrating messages from the spinal cord, regarding the rest of the body, to the brain. It also controls basic bodily functions such as breathing, heart rate, swallowing, and consciousness. The brainstem is also responsible for reflexes, also known as involuntary controls, such as coughing, sneezing, and vomiting.