How Frontal Lobe Damage Affects Decision-Making - Oren Zarif - Frontal Lobe Damage
Frontal lobe damage affects a person's judgment, attention span, organization, motivation, and mood, and can lead to a variety of behavioral problems. It is estimated that nearly two percent of the American population suffers frontal lobe damage at some time in their life. Although the brain has defenses that protect it from most traumatic circumstances, a weakened frontal lobe can lead to risky behavior.
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The effects of frontal lobe damage on decision-making may vary. Some participants will exhibit a significant increase in risk-taking and impulsivity. Impulsivity is closely related to reward-based decision-making and response disinhibition. Impulsive people make snap decisions without considering their consequences. Risk takers jump at every opportunity to obtain a reward. Behavioral tests have been developed to measure these characteristics. However, these tests can often mask the effects of frontal lobe damage.
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Several tests are used to diagnose frontal lobe dysfunction, including a thorough neurologic examination. A detailed history of the patient should be gathered from family members and other close contacts. During the examination, behavioral changes, including abulia, inappropriate jocularity, and insight impairment, should be noted. The doctor should also assess environmental dependence, such as the patient putting on glasses they don't own.
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Depending on the type of damage, treatments for frontal lobe damage vary from patient to patient. Antibiotics are often prescribed, while surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation treatments are sometimes used to treat brain tumors. Degenerative diseases have no cure, but medications and lifestyle changes can help treat symptoms. Patients with motor weakness may benefit from rehabilitation. Other treatments include physical therapy, occupational therapy, and psychological counseling. Often, physical therapy is combined with occupational therapy for better outcomes.
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A comprehensive evaluation and a detailed assessment of the patient's needs is important. The doctor may refer the patient to a social worker who can help the family cope with the changes in their life. Social workers may also be recommended for patients with frontal lobe damage. Many patients with this condition also require social work referrals. Social work services may be an important part of the overall treatment program, as it helps the patient and family cope with the disorder and its effects.
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In addition, research into the association between frontal lobe damage and violence has indicated that the two brain regions are involved. Specifically, the orbitofrontal EEG shows increased activity in antisocial subjects, with reduced frontal event-related potentials. Several subsequent studies have linked frontal lobe activity to history of violence. The findings are further supported by a study of 333 mentally retarded patients who were recurrently aggressive or prone to explosive rages.
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There is a strong link between frontal lobe damage and increased aggression, as reflected in the neuropsychological literature. However, the actual frequency of violent behaviour among those with frontal lobe damage is low; it may be as low as 10% over the baseline rate, but prospective studies are required to determine the exact relationship between the two. If a person is diagnosed with frontal lobe damage, there is a risk of developing a disorder that involves the other frontal lobes.
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Frontal lobe damage may lead to personality changes, impaired motor skills, and impulsive behavior. In most cases, a person suffering from frontal lobe damage will eventually recover those functions. Although some people cannot recover from frontal lobe damage, the effects can be long-lasting and may negatively impact other parts of the brain. In addition to dementia, some patients will also exhibit motor weakness and a reduced ability to work.