Alzheimer's Changes Brain Functionality Essay

1095 words - 4 pages

Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive form of presenile dementia, the first symptoms are impaired memory which is followed by impaired thought and speech and finally complete helplessness. If a person with no experience with alzheimer’s was asked what they take for granted, I would venture to say their brain would not be on that list. However, people who have seen alzheimer’s in action, see the results of a damaged brain. The same could be said about a person with damage to any number of the brain’s components. Each part of our brain is responsible for several different tasks. Although, without all components fully operational, the brains functionality is decreased significantly.
To begin with, the frontal lobe is in control of reasoning, planning, problem solving, emotions, and processing of new memories. Damage to this area can alter personality, and remove inhibitions. For example, Phineas Gage was working on the railroad in 1848 when a rod was shot through his left cheek and out the top of his head damaging his frontal lobe. Gage returned to work on the railroad, his memories and intellect were seemingly unaffected, but his personality was completely changed. The good-natured, soft-spoken man returned hot-headed, profane, and dishonorable, due to his severely damaged frontal lobes. The rod nearly missed Broca’s area. Damage to Broca’s area, in the left frontal lobe, leaves the victim slurring his/her words slowly but in an organized fashion. However, he/she is able to fluently sing and comprehend speech.
Adjacent to the frontal lobes are the temporal lobes. The superior right temporal lobe is in control of auditory perception. Damage to this area can produce problems of speech perception, difficulty discriminating speech, and the inability to define melodies. The inferior temporal cortex is in control of visual perception. Damage to this area inhibits the ability to recognize faces. As well as having difficulty recognizing faces, damage to this area can cause difficulty inferring environmental and social clues. Injury to the inferior temporal lobes also causes disturbance of visual and auditory input selection, short-term memory, and judgement about past events.
Found within the left temporal lobe is the hippocampus which is involved in processing memories. Damage to this area, along with the medial area of the temporal lobes, results in memory loss. The left temporal lobe is in control of verbal material/memories and the right temporal lobe is in control of memories involving faces and drawings, also known as photographic memory. Doing everyday activities with any kind of temporal lobe lesion would be extremely aggravating. Even talking on the phone would be difficult, because you couldn’t put a face to the voice.
Superior to the temporal lobes are the parietal lobes. The parietal lobes play a part in sensation, perception and integrating sensory input. Gerstmann’s Syndrome, or damage to the left parietal lobe, causes agraphia...

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