A parietal lobe injury can affect both sensory function and perception, with the precise symptoms varying greatly depending on the extent of the brain damage as well as the type of injury sustained. Some of the most common symptoms of this type of injury include a loss of coordination and an inability to process sensory information, such as temperature and touch. In more severe cases, the patient may be partially or completely unaware of his own body. Basic skills, such as reading, writing, and math, may be diminished.
As is the case with any type of traumatic brain injury, damage to the parietal lobe of the brain will never affect two people in exactly the same ways. This area of the brain is responsible for sensory awareness, perception, and processing sensory input, particularly in relation to the eyes. A parietal lobe injury can cause problems with any or all of these processes. Symptoms also depend heavily on the side of the brain that is damaged, as each side is responsible for different functions.
An injury in the right side of the parietal lobe may cause an individual to neglect parts of the body. This may have dramatic effects on basic skills, such as bathing, dressing, or feeding oneself. The effects of damage to this area may also result in a loss of the ability to make things, a disorder known as constructional apraxia. The ability to draw may be lost, or the patient may even be in denial that any deficits exist, even when the limitations are easily noticed by others.
A left-sided parietal lobe injury often includes confusion over right and left directional signs. Writing and math skills may sometimes be reduced or completely lost, depending on the extent of the damage. Perception and the ability to speak are sometimes affected.
If both sides of this lobe are damaged, the resulting injury is known as a bilateral injury. This frequently leads to a condition known as Balint's syndrome, which affects the motor skills as well as visual attention capabilities. The patient may not be able to control the direction of his gaze, a symptom known as ocular apraxia. In some cases, memory issues or personality changes may develop well.