Mini Lessons on the Brain







Written by Dr. Patricia Gage, PhD

The FRONTAL LOBE is the brain's decision-making spot.

  • Damage to the brain's frontal lobe is known to impair one's ability to think and make choices. And now scientists say they've pinpointed the different parts of this brain region that preside over reasoning, self-control, and decision-making.
  • The frontal lobe is often referred to as the CEO (Chief Executive Officer) of the brain.

The LIMBIC SYSTEM, a system located in the brain's medial temporal lobe, i.e. near the center of the brain, directs many bodily functions. It includes the hippocampus and the amygdala.

  • The HIPPOCAMPUS is involved in the storage of long-term memory, which includes all past knowledge and experiences.
  • The AMYGDALA is an almond-shaped section of nervous tissue located in the temporal (side) lobe of the brain. ... It is responsible for emotions, survival instincts, and memory.
    • Emotions associated with FIGHT OR FLIGHT RESPONSE, such as anger or fear, are activated in the amygdala. While the amygdala “reacts” to a threat by trying to turn on our anger or fear, the neural structures, such as the prefrontal cortex, attempt to switch the emotions off!

The BRAIN STEM controls the flow of messages between the brain and the rest of the body, and it also controls basic bodily functions, such as breathing, swallowing, heart rate, blood pressure, and consciousness.

  • The upper part of the brain stem is called the PONS. It is the messenger center of the brain, and without it, the brain would not be able to send (transmit) or receive “orders.” We can think of this part of brain stem as the “Chief Operations Officer”.
  • The pons is also involved in the sleep state, such as REM.
  • The lower portion of the brain stem is called the MEDULLA. This part is responsible for involuntary functions, such as breathing and blood pressure regulation. This makes the medulla very crucial.

Dr. Pat



I've seen kids who have just suffered a bump on their head on the playground from slipping off a slide, running into a pole, etc.  Often, they cry a bit and then, get back up to play again! 

Make sure you clip on and secure the helmet appropriately to avoid boos boos like this.

Unfortunately, a few may cry, become emotional, and make little sense. They may even repeat questions or statements. This relates to injury to the structures that Dr. Pat writes about.  As a parent, your instincts kick in, and you know there is something wrong.  This is the time to ensure their ABC's are stable (Airway, Breathing & Circulation), keep them calm & safe, and find help quickly.   These are signs of a concussion.

Dr. Gina

For information on concussions, click here.

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