Chapter

The Effects of Focal and Diffuse Brain Injury on Behavior

Brian Levine

in Mind and the Frontal Lobes

Published in print December 2011 | ISBN: 9780199791569
Published online January 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780199919215 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199791569.003.0069
The Effects of Focal and Diffuse Brain Injury on Behavior

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Standardized neuropsychological tests are often ineloquent to the real-life deficits endured by patients with damage to the frontal lobes. The Strategy Application Test was designed to mimic real life situations in which the most adaptive response is neither dictated by the examiner nor transparent in the test materials. While patients with frontal lesions are impaired on this test, so are patients with diffuse injury. Diffuse injury causes deficits on “frontal” or executive function tasks by disrupting integrated brain function. Traumatic brain injury, multiple sclerosis, ischemic white matter disease, unsuccessful aging, dementia, and psychiatric conditions that cause diffuse injury account for a large proportion of functional disability due to brain disease. Structural and functional neuroimaging research on traumatic brain injury demonstrates the widespread neuropathology of diffuse injury, the effects of which can be revealed through analysis of activation patterns and functional connectivity, providing adjunctive information to behavioral testing and supporting patients’ claims of increased mental effort on cognitive tasks, even when their performance appears normal.

Keywords: frontal lobes; assessment; traumatic brain injury; diffuse injury; structural neuroimaging; functional neuroimaging

Chapter.  5613 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Neuropsychology

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