Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Chapel Hill - Durham Elder Care: The Effects of a Head Trauma on Memory

By:  Todd Palmer

Chapel Hill - Durham Elder Care:  The brain is an extremely complex organ; virtually the control center of the body, the brain is responsible for every function that the body's many systems carry out. But it is more than just the organ that makes it possible to eat, breathe, sleep, and regulate hormone production; the brain allows for the creation and recollection of memories. Memories, when stored properly, allow individuals to recall important information and experiences. The brain is, as such, a vulnerable organ that can suffer lasting damage if it is the victim of trauma. While the skull serves to protect the brain from such damage, traumatic events and accidents can impair this organ. When it comes to how such a trauma can impact an individual's memory it is important to consider the different kinds of memory that the brain engages in and the varying nature of such trauma.

Trauma Location: Where Damage Occurs is Essential in Determining Lasting Impact
The brain is divided into several different sections, each of which spearheads varying tasks. While many of these sections work together, the location of an injury can impair different mental processes. For instance, a blow to the head in the frontal lobe (the foremost part of the brain that controls judgment) can result in erratic behavior. In terms of memory, the location of an injury can determine if it affects long-term, short-term, or sensory memory. Because so many parts of the brain are involved in these forms of memory production and recollection a neurological specialist has to look at several different factors to determine where the injury has taken place and how it will interfere with memory creation and storage.

Different Kinds of Memory, Different Effects of Head Trauma
The location of a trauma determines the kind of memory impairment that occurs and, as an extension, the way in which an individual's life is changed. If someone suffers from damage to sensory memory they may have a difficult time remembering how things smelled, tasted, sounded, looked, or felt. Long-term memory impairment, if severe, can lead to amnesia and other conditions that prevent seniors from remembering the early parts of their lives. Short-term memory impairment can interfere with the ability of seniors to remember small details.

Head trauma is a complex issue that affects seniors differently and should be discussed with your loved one's doctor if it occurs.


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