What Are the Different Types of Frontal Cortex Damage?

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  • Written By: T. Broderick
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 05 October 2019
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There are many conditions that can cause frontal cortex damage. These conditions range from neurological disorders to traumatic events. Considering the severity of the event, a person's cognitive ability and personality can change. Treatments including medication, therapy and surgery may be able to improve symptoms of frontal cortex damage.

Frontal lobe epilepsy is a condition that can cause frontal cortex damage. This disorder can have either a genetic or environmental cause, such as a head trauma. Since frontal lobe seizures affect a large area of the brain including the motor cortex, symptoms can include any number of unnatural movements or shaking. Seizures begin and end unexpectedly, and the inability to know when a seizure will occur can lead to accidents that may cause physical harm to the patient. A patient's quality of life is severely affected in that one's ability to learn diminishes.

Head concussions occur through physical impact such as a sports injury or car crash. During a concussion, the force of impact causes the frontal lobe and other parts of the brain to hit the inside of the skull. A minor impact can result in confusion and temporary amnesia. Yet if the damage is more severe, permanent effects can result, such as changes in personality, forgetfulness and difficulty learning new information.


Expressive aphasia is a condition that can develop from any form of frontal cortex damage. If a part of the frontal cortex known as Broca's area is damaged during a concussion, seizure or other event, an individual loses his or her ability to express written or spoken language despite the continued ability to understand all forms of language. The severity of the damage determines the amount of regeneration of speech and writing ability, with the majority of improvement seen within one year after injury.

Diagnosing frontal cortex damage requires a physical examination, CAT scan and/or MRI. A physical exam determines any affect damage has had on motor control or cognitive function. Scanning the brain clearly shows which areas of the brain are affected and perhaps the underlying cause such as a brain tumor. These and other tests diagnose the condition and offer patients a prognosis for recovery that may include treatment options.

Despite advances in medical science, treating frontal lobe damage rarely allows a full recovery. Though surgical procedures and/or medication can reduce if not eliminate seizures, a patient may have to live with the seizures' effects on memory and cognition for the rest of his or her life. The same is true for individuals recovering from concussion; though the initial confusion may subside, cognitive difficulties can persist. For those who experience expressive aphasia, speech therapy has shown some success in helping individuals better express themselves.


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