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What Happens If the Cerebral Cortex Is Damaged?

[Summary]Traumatic Brain Injury Resource Guide Brain Function Robert P. Lehr Jr., Ph.D. Professor Emeritus, Department of Anatomy, School of Medicine, Southern Illinois University Brain Function and Deficits In traumatic brain injury the brain may be injured

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Traumatic Brain Injury Resource Guide

Brain Function

Robert P. Lehr Jr., Ph.D.
Professor Emeritus, Department of Anatomy, School of Medicine,
Southern Illinois University

Brain Function and Deficits

In traumatic brain injury the brain may be injured in a specific location or the injury may be diffused to many different parts of the brain. It is this indefinite nature of brain injury that makes treatment unique for each individual patient. In the past twenty years, a great deal has been learned about brain function, and we learn more everyday. We can make guesses about the nature of the problems an individual may have from knowing the location of a lesion. Diagnostic procedures such as CT scans and MRI's can also provide information about a brain injury. As rehabilitation specialists, however, we can also learn about an injury by observing the day to day activities of the patient. All the activities we perform each day, whether physical or mental, are directed by different parts of our brains. It is important that you become familiar with brain function to better understand how therapies, created by rehabilitation professionals, help brain injured patients. In order for you to better understand how the rehabilitation process works we will guide you through the different parts of the brain and indicate some of the functions and problems resulting from injury.

BBC

Electrical stimulation

Scientists have stimulated different parts of the brain with a weak electrical current and then asked patients to describe what they experienced. If the motor area is stimulated, the patient makes an involuntary movement. If the visual area is stimulated, they may see a flash of colour.

ASSOCIATION CORTEX

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Association Cortex

Association cortex is the cerebral cortex outside the primary areas (Figure 1). It is essential for mental functions that are more complex than detecting basic dimensions of sensory stimulation, for which primary sensory areas appear to be necessary. In humans the association areas are by far the most developed part of the cerebral cortex, and the brain in general. These areas are necessary for perceptual activities, like recognizing objects (toasters, horses, trees, words, etc), rather than simple contours, edges or sensory qualities like color or pitch.

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