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Brain Damage

The brain is a highly specialized and complex organ. The brain is divided into two hemispheres and each hemisphere is divided into additional parts called the frontal lobe, the parietal lobe, the occipital lobe, the temporal lobe and the cerebellum. Each lobe has identifiable functions, but the parts of the brain are interconnected. Therefore, damage to one part of the brain may affect the performance of another part of the brain. Even slight damage to the brain can have extreme consequences.

Medical Models Brain

Medical Model Human Brain. Click to Enlarge

The brain can be damaged in a variety of ways, and depending on the areas damaged and the severity of the damage, it can prove relatively harmless to fatal. Common causes of focal or localized brain damage are physical trauma, stroke, aneurysm, or neurological illness. Possible causes of widespread brain damage include prolonged hypoxia (inadequate oxygen), poisoning, infection and neurological illness. Brain injuries do not necessarily result in long-term impairment or a disability, although the location and extent of damage both have a significant effect on the likely outcome. In serious cases of brain injury, the result can be permanent disability, including spasticity, neurocognitive deficits, delusions, speech or movement problems, coma, and death. Brain injury during and shortly after birth can result in quadriplegia. The effects of impairment or disability resulting from brain injury may be treated by a number of methods, including medication, psychotherapy, neuropsychological rehabilitation, surgery, or physical implants such as deep brain stimulation.

MRI brain scanBrain injuries can be mild, moderate, severe, or profound. Injuries to the brain may be seen on MRI (magnetic resonance imaging), CT scan (computed axial tomography), and PET scan (positive emission tomography). Injured brain waves can be evaluated by EEG (electroencephalogram). Neuropsychological testing can also demonstrate, not only brain injury, but the lobes of the brain that are injured.

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