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The human brain is a complex organ, and when it's damaged, multiple body functions are affected. Signs of left brain damage include problems with speaking, writing, cognition and memory. Emotional and physical problems can also result, with the physical signs generally experienced on the right side of the body.
The brain is made of two sides, or hemispheres. Within each, there are smaller regions that control the body and all of its functions. A healthy brain keeps these functions working smoothly, like a well-oiled machine. In a normal brain, the right brain controls the left side of the body while the left brain controls the right side.
Left brain damage can affect the Broca’s and Wernicke’s areas. Broca’s area controls speech, while understanding and perception of language is controlled by Wernicke’s area.
One of the main causes of brain damage is a stroke, which occurs when the brain is deprived of blood. Without a proper supply of blood, damage to one or more areas of the brain can occur. Nerve relays are often affected, resulting in many serious symptoms.
Damage on the left side of the brain can cause problems with vision on the right side. In visual neglect, the right half of everything seen is missing, but the brain does not have the ability to process the fact that only half-vision is occurring.
Memory and cognition can also be affected. In most cases, vascular dementia occurs because the absence of suitable blood flow causes damage. Signs are similar to Alzheimer’s disease, and trouble with cognition influences the ability to engage in problem-solving. Both long-term and short-term memory can be affected.
Left brain damage can influence emotions as well. The frontal lobe, which helps regulate emotion, stretches across the front of both sides of the brain. Depression, anxiety, and inappropriate of unprovoked emotional outbursts can occur.
Treating brain damage can be difficult, depending on its severity and cause. A lot of the physical damage is often permanent, but many of the problems that occur can be repaired through physical therapy. Learning how to accommodate for visual differences, increasing range of motion, and general light exercises can be used to help a patient grow accustomed to the changes that have occurred from the brain damage.
Patients can also be taught how to make adjustments to daily life when there are problems with cognition, perception, speaking, writing, and other activities. There are specific therapies, such as speech therapy, that are designed to help with each of these issues. Although a patient might never get back to the point that he or she was at before the damage occurred, he or she can at least work toward being able to communicate and process information better.
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