How your Brain works

We describe the brain as being the computer that controls every function of your body.  If you think about it, there is nothing we do which is not co-ordinated by the brain, whether it be physical, cognitive, or controlling our emotions or behaviour.  So if we move a part of our body, think, laugh, cry or decide what we are going to do, the brain is involved.

All these functions are controlled by different parts of the brain, which is divided into a number of sections.  (You can read more about which parts of the brain control different functions by going to Headway UK’s website)  If a part of the brain is damaged then whichever function is controlled by that section will be affected.  To return to the analogy of the computer it is like one of the programmes being damaged, so that it does not work properly.

For example, if the section of the brain that is damaged is the one that retains your memory, you will find it difficult to recall previous events, often short term memory.  The ‘programme’ cannot retain the information and so you cannot retrieve it.  Similarly if the damaged part deals with behaviour the sufferer may become more aggressive (or passive) or lose their inhibitions.

The brain is capable of regeneration, which is why people can recover to a greater or lesser extent.  In essence what happens in brain injury is that the synapses (which are the links in the brain that carry the messages) break, so that the electrical impulses cannot reach their intended destinations.  However, the brain is capable of rebuilding these synapses, and this process can be improved through cognitive rehabilitation, stimulating the part of the brain that is affected.

But successful regeneration is usually achieved within the first 12 months, so early referral for this type of help is essential.  Which is where we come in.


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