Full version Affects Of Frontal Lobe Damage

Affects Of Frontal Lobe Damage

This print version free essay Affects Of Frontal Lobe Damage.

Category: Psychology

Autor: reviewessays 11 November 2010

Words: 2579 | Pages: 11

Damage to the frontal lobe cortex of the brain can cause difficulty in everyday activities. The frontal lobes role in people’s behavior includes executive processes, language, emotional expression and movement. Ryan Godfrey has difficulties in some areas of executive processes due to the damage tumors caused in his brain. Ryan and others with frontal lobe damage can benefit from knowing these deficits by taking steps to reduce their impact. The brain tends to compensate for damaged parts and a faith in God brings power to overcome deficits. Thus, behavioral difficulties for frontal lobe damaged patients are only a guideline not a box, for nothing is impossible for God to accomplish.

A 23-year-old man, named Ryan Godfrey was observed in his everyday behaviors to understand how he deals with frontal lobe damage. When he was 7 years, old the doctors discovered a grapefruit size benign meningioma tumor in his brain. After this, he had six more surgeries and his last one left him paralyzed on his left side. This was because most of his tumors were found in the right hemisphere, prefrontal cortex with his last surgery towards the premotor and motor cortex causing his paralysis. Ryan overcame being paralyzed with a desire to play basketball and video games. Today he is running sound for church, working full time and helping with student ministries. People like him can benefit from understanding the brain and its functions.

The frontal lobe comprises a third of the brain and it enables us to engage in higher cognitive functions such as planning and problem solving (Jonides & Smith, 1999). The frontal lobe is divided into 3 regions, the motor cortex, premotor cortex, and prefrontal cortex. The motor cortex is located in the precentral gyrus and directs fine motor coordination. The premotor cortex is involved in planning, organizing, and integrating body movements. The prefrontal is involved in executive functions, including short-term memory, working memory, decision making, and prioritizing behaviors (Wilson, 2003). Some of the frontal lobe disorders than can cause brain damage and behavioral changes are Huntington’s disease, infection, stroke, tourettes, dementia, epilepsy, Parkinson’s disease, tumors, closed head injury and traumatic brain injury (Chow, 2000).

People with frontal lobe damage have a hard time distinguishing between relevant and irrelevant information. They will often attend to what they perceive to be relevant information and ignore irrelevant. For example, Ryan opened up only the mail that seemed relevant at the time and put others aside. However, the mail put aside was forgotten about. His mom about 5 months later discovered the unopened mail was very important and some needed an asap response. Thus, Ryan does seem to have some sort of difficulty than others with understand what is relevant, and remembering to get back to things. There has also been research conducted on the frontal lobes function in processing relevant and irrelevant information.

Humphreys and Kumada’s research results were that people with frontal lobe damage showed difficulty in selecting task-relevant information while ignoring task-irrelevant (Humphreys & Kumada, 2002). Sometimes these people tend to get confused on what is important and what are not, as most people occasionally do. Some frontal lobe damage people struggle more with relevant information than others do. “Frontal lobe lesions only appear to affect the ability to gate or inhibit irrelevant stimulus information” (Gershberg, Jurica, Mangels, & Shimamura, 1995, p145). Research is usually just a bunch of theories, or experiments that have not been proven wrong yet. The tendency for frontal damage is that a part of the brain has been damaged or removed that helps with these functions.

Attention to certain information tends to be a main deficit for people with frontal lobe damage. Divided attention relies more on right frontal activation, whereas focused attention, the ability to inhibit irrelevant stimuli, may involve the orbitofrontal lobe (Chayer & Freedman, 2001). Thus, behavioral actions depend on what part of the brain was damaged. Ryan’s right side was damaged and thus it is observed that he has difficulty with staying focused on one specific task.

In scheduling processes, complex tasks require the switching of focused attention between tasks (Jonides & Smith, 1999). It is referred to as task management, like keeping a daily log of what to do and at what time. Without the help of others, people with frontal lobe damage often forget appointments or other tasks around the house that need to be done.

The planning process of executive functions can be hindered by frontal lobe damage. The frontal lobe is involved with all kinds of executive functions including planning .Carrying out a plan requires one to initiate, maintain, switch, and stop at the appropriate moment during a sequence of actions (Chayer & Freedman, 2001). The first problem in planning is the initiation of the tasks. People who can get past that then are required to understand when to do what task, sometimes maintaining one while executing another. It has often been observed in Ryan that multiple tasks require extra effort and sometimes seem impossible.

For individuals looking ahead to the future, even to plan something small like a vacation is difficult with their frontal lobe damage. These difficulties are not for everyone with frontal lobe damage, but have been observed in numerous people. “Planning requires the ability to look ahead in time, generate hypothesis for future events, select relevant actions according to the context, and sequence the actions needed to accomplish a specific goal” (Chayer & Freedman, 2001, p548). Planning tends to incorporate other difficulties such as initiation, distinguishing relevant from irrelevant information and sequencing. Thus, the frontal lobe regulates many executive processes that tend to blend.

Initiation of tasks is a difficulty for some frontal lobe damaged people. Ryan has difficulties starting the processes to making a meal. His mom came home one day and on the table were the tomato soup, bread, cheese and skillet. He could not remember how to make the soup and grilled cheese. Lepage and Richer’s results suggest that frontal lobe lesions produce a general slowing of sequence initiation, do not prevent the decrease in initiation time linked to advance knowledge of the first response, and significantly reduce the facilitation of initial time by advance knowledge of multiple responses (Lepage & Richer, 2000). Thus, the study tried to give the people prior knowledge of responses to questions and this still did not reduce their initiation time. Just like with Ryan his mom had told him the steps to making the meal and he still delayed in initiating.

There have been some people with communication deficits. This is primarily related to Boca’s area in the frontal lobe, which controls language. “The left inferior frontal gyrus and operculum (Broca’s area) are involved in the assembly of phonemes into words and words into sentences, as well as in the grammatical structure of sentences” (Chayer & Freedman, 2001, p550). Ryan seems to lack in communication skills though not significantly. Most of his tumors damaged the prefrontal lobe. Research was done on communication deficits in an interview setting among adolescents with frontal lobe damage. One of the characteristics of these patients is difficulty considering the context. The results showed that frontal lobe patients had difficulty fulfilling the interviewee’s role by holding the floor to expand upon the topic the interviewer proposed (Bernicot & Dardier, 2001). Often, with Ryan people have to pull information from him, to get him to talk in a conversation by asking questions. The interviewer has to be patient with individuals because sometimes they take longer to respond.

During the interview, process the patient tends to get side tracked easily. “Patients with frontal lobe damage appear to have trouble following the rules of interviews: and interviewee must stay on the subject matter proposed by the interviewer” (Bernicot & Dardier, 2001, p259). Certain actions can be taken by the interviewee to help these individuals. Prompting the individuals for answers and helping them stay focused is helpful. “It was when the experimenter used an unstructured strategy or an alternating strategy that the frontal lobe subjects produced the greatest number of utterances per speaking turn” (Bernicot & Dardier, 2001, p260). In all behavioral deficiencies, certain actions can be taken to compensate for the difficulties.

It has also been researched that different sides of the brains hemisphere regulates different language functions. Ryan has some tendency to have difficulty with inserting irrelevant information in conversations and wandering from the topic a few times. Left-sided lesions results in simplification and repetition of sentence forms, and omissions of elements. Right-sided lesions cause amplification of details, wandering from the topic and insertion of irrelevant elements, and all leading to loss of narrative coherence (Levine & Stuss, 2002).

The last behavior studied is a person’s emotional reactions and social behavior. Obviously, their deficits in executive functions and communication can hinder their social life. However, sometimes their emotions can become out of control or not used at all. “The area most commonly and strongly related to human emotional and social behavior is the frontal lobes” (Levine and Stuss, 2002, p417). Frontal lobe damaged people may experience an event except they cannot seem to connect their thinking and emotions. For it is in the frontal lobes, most likely the right, where integration of subjective experiences in a self- aware person is achieved (Levin & Stuss, 2002).

There is one behavior that Ryan tends not to demonstrate and that is the lack of appreciation of jokes. Humor is another behavior that is related to emotional responses. Humor also requires the integration of cognition and emotions. Ryan loves to tell jokes and often understand them before others. His behavior is not congruent with research studies, thus it is assumed this part was not damaged or at least other parts have adapted. “When patients with focal lesions throughout the frontal and posterior brain regions were tested on their ability to appreciate jokes and cartoons and to rank how funny humorous sayings were, on group stood out as most impaired: those with right frontal lobe damage” (Levine & Stuss, 2002, p422). Patients also have been known to have a theory of mind deficiency. Theory of mind refers to the ability to be aware of the thoughts and feelings of others, and to make inferences about the mental states of others (Chayer & Freedman, 2001).

The executive functions of the prefrontal lobes are also involved in memory. The main subdivisions of memory include short term, long term, and working memory. Working memory is where information is currently being processes, and is impaired. Following damage to the dorsolateral prefrontal cortices, short term and long term, deficits also exist. “Tests that require planning and organizational strategies either at encoding or retrieval, such as word-list learning or recall of remote memories, are affected by frontal deficits” (Chayer & Freed, 2001, p549). Short-term memory includes the rehearsal of information, as word-list learning while long terms is the retrieval of past memories/information. Ryan has difficulties with memory it is most likely short-term memory with memorizing of words, or recall of information just given from hours ago. However, he really does not seem to show memory difficulties in his behavior.

One research experiment studied paired-associate learning in patients with frontal lobe lesions. The present study demonstrated a heightened interference effects on tests of paired-associate learning can be added to list of memory disorders. The disorders include the frontal lobe damaged patients exhibit impairment on tests of free recall, memory for temporal order, source memory, and metamemory (Gershberg, Jurica, Mangels & Shimamura, 1995). These paired frequency deficits exhibit difficulty for these individuals in subjective organization. Organizing information given to them and retrieving it in the future can be a frustrating thing. However, compensating and learning to deal with their difficulties will help them.

Learning the functions of the brain and what damage can do is helpful to individuals with frontal lobe damage. These ideas will allow them to understand their own behaviors, and find ways to adjust their life so that executive functions, communication, etc. are not as difficult. Ryan is an example of someone who has overcome many difficulties. He now can walk and run like everyone else and his brain adjusted to parts of the premotor cortex being damaged. He also can run a soundboard, which requires knowing many sequential tasks. His brain has somehow compensated for the losses and adjusted to performing executive functions. People can train the brain to do what they want it to, of course their will always be some sort of difficulties. Missing a part of the brain will always cause some sort of impairment in ones life, just like if one is missing a leg. For example, “Brutus lost a leg, but he recovered function. His recovery was not due to recovered structure because he did not grow a new leg. His recovery was due to the fact that he learned to compensate for the missing leg” (Wilson, 2003, p493). Though one loses a structure, they do not loose necessarily the function or ability to perform the task.

However, there is some form of structural change within the brain. “Six mechanisms of structural recovery from brain damage have been identified: 1) regrowth of neurons, 2) waste product removal, 3) regrowth of axons, 4) collateral sprouting of axons, 5)dendritic branching, and 6) denervation hypersensitivity” (Wilson, 2003, p494). Somehow, the brain can regenerate certain neurons that have been damaged, especially when one is younger as the brain is still developing. God is also capable of defying anything science says, and by a miracle giving people the function they need to perform normal tasks, that most of science says they could not do.

In conclusion, people with frontal lobe damage can benefit by adjusting to the difficulties that come with brain damage. These difficulties include abstract thinking, executive functions, planning, emotional responses, movement and language. People can also help these individuals by being patient and helping them understand their difficulties and overcome them. The individuals also can compensate for their lost part of the brain by taking extra precaution when it comes to decisions or differentiating between relevant and irrelevant information. Another help would be relying on the power of God. God can work a miracle in people, and help them accomplish tasks that may often seem impossible to them and science. . Most people do not even realize how important the brain is, until they loose it. Being grateful for what society does know, and what God and science has provided society with can make a difference in people’s lives.


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