What Does the Frontal Lobe Do?

The frontal lobe is found behind your forehead. It is one of four regions or lobes of the cerebral cortex. Evolutionary, the frontal lobe is the newest part of the human brain and develops last. But it is responsible for many human characteristics such as intelligence, planning for the future and anticipation of outcomes from your actions. 

What Does the Frontal Lobe Do?

  • Assess the similarities or differences between objects.
  • It is responsible for coordination of voluntary movements, including reaching for objects and walking.
  • Assess the consequences of actions including impulsive actions. It helps to control decisions such as impulsive buying or eating, and judge whether particular activities are socially or morally acceptable.
  • The frontal lobe helps you to understand and speak a language, including preservation of linguistic memories.
  • It is involved in the formation and preservation of long-term memories, especially those of emotional nature emanating from the limbic system.
  • It helps in expression and regulation of emotions as well as in understanding and empathizing with others.
  • It hosts your personality due to its role in memory, impulse control, expression and regulation of emotions among others. Damage of the frontal lobe can lead to sudden personality change.
  • It manages reward and motivation by the action of a neurotransmitter known as dopamine. The frontal lobe contains the most dopamine sensitive neurons in the brain.
  • The frontal lobe regulates attention. Problems within the frontal lobe can cause issues in executive functions and lead to disorders such as ADHD.
  • ŸIt controls social behavior, including sorting and guiding your community and cultural behaviors.
  • ŸWhat does the frontal lobe do? A lot more. It is responsible for thought flexibility based on available information as well as memory of past experiences. This helps in developing goals and strategy for the future.
  • It is responsible for self-awareness, including who you are, what you can do and what you cannot do, as well as how you interact with your environment.
  • It is responsible for sexual behavior.

Frontal Lobe Injury

Due to the location of frontal lobe, it is vulnerable to injuries and damage.

Causes

Injuries to the frontal lobe can occur due to falls, sports injuries, auto accidents and gunshot wounds. Damage can also be caused by diseases that interfere with blood supply to the brain such as stroke, diseases affecting brain cells like meningitis, and exposure to toxins including carbon monoxide.

Impacts

But what does the frontal lobe do? It has been answered. Symptoms of a damaged frontal lobe depend on the affected region.

  • Injury in the front part can lead to loss of inhibition, inability to concentrate and slow response to stimuli. Lack of inhibition can lead to inappropriate social activities such as excessive arguments, euphoria and vulgar actions. It may also cause repetitiveness and inability to discern the consequences of decisions or actions.
  • Damage in the middle part of the frontal lobe may interfere with an individual’s eye movements and speech. It may also disrupt sequence of movements in complex activities.
  • Damage in the rear region of the frontal lobe may cause paralysis or weakness.

The amount of dysfunction usually also corresponds to the extent and type of damage as well as its ability prior to injury. It is important that your doctor performs a full neuropsychological evaluation so as to determine extent of dysfunction. He/she should evaluate motor skills, speech, language, memory, social skills and problem-solving ability.

Treatment

Most frontal lobe damage cannot be reversed because the brain cells will not regenerate. However, the brain can compensate for destroyed cells in damaged areas. Rehabilitation is the common treatment option. Better results are achieved by working to enhance existing skills besides developing compensatory skills for those lost or diminished.

The rehabilitation process involves different specialists, including psychologists and physical therapists. It requires strong will, group support and open mindedness as you learn or relearn skills such as speech and have to live with mood and personality changes.

Prevention

You have known the significance of frontal lobe from "What does the frontal lobe do?"; then how can you prevent injury that can cause frontal lobe damage? Here are some tips:

  • Remove any tripping hazards within your home.
  • Use non-slip shower mats.
  • Wear helmets when riding bikes, motorbikes, scooters, snowmobiles or sleds and playing contact sports.
  • Wear seat belts when driving.
  • Ensure children are in safety or booster seats every time you drive.
  • Have rails installed on both sides of stairways.
  • Install adequate lighting throughout the house.
 
 
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