Category Archives: medical


A brain injury can affect our communication abilities by impairing hearing, the muscle movements of speech, or the cognitive processes that turn our thoughts into words. Communication problems vary, depending on an individual’s personality, pre-injury abilities, and the severity of … Continue reading

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Some Practical Issues in Dealing with Head Injury

Some common effects of head injury:

1. Lack of Insight

2. Memory problems

3. Poor concentration.

4. Slowed responses

5. Poor planning and problem-solving

6. Lack of initiave – the person is often incorrectly labelled as “lazy”

7. Lack of flexibility -ie. a “one track” mind

8. Impulsivity Continue reading

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Some Cognitive Effects of Head Injury


by Craig Lock

“Compare it (your head) to a jelly in a bowl. The bowl is the skull – a strong, protective container – and the jelly (the brain) is nestled within. The skull is able to withstand many types of blows; but the brain is vulnerable to sudden swirling or rotating movements. Shake the bowl and see what happens to the jelly.”
– Dr Don Mackie, Emergency Specialist(in New Zealand)

This extract (in note form) is from a chapter from my manuscript titled MY STORY, MY DREAM Also LIVING WITH HEAD (BRAIN) INJURY (from ‘MY STORY’)

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Head Injury: A Practical Guide: You are an Expert Already…


Part of the text is reproduced by kind permission of Trevor Powell from his book Head Injury: A Practical Guide.

The cognitive effects of a brain injury affect the way a person thinks, learns and remembers. Different mental abilities are located in different parts of the brain, so a head injury can damage some, but not necessarily all, skills such as speed of thought, memory, understanding, concentration, solving problems and using language.

The cognitive system can be divided up into six separate areas:


Memory is not one thing or one skill on its own. It is easily damaged by brain injury because there are several structures within the brain which are involved in processing information, storing it and retrieving it. Damage to those parts of the brain on which these abilities depend can lead to poor memory. Problems with memory is a complex subject and is covered in more depth in a separate section.

Headway has produced a publication Memory Problems After Brain Injury that provides further information.

Attention and Concentration

A reduced concentration span is very common after head injury, as is a reduced ability to pay attention to more than one task at the same time. These problems are usually caused by damage to the frontal lobe. Attentional problems tend to get worse when the person is tired, stressed or worried. When there are problems with concentration, other skill areas can be affected. It is difficult to follow instructions, plan ahead, be organised and so on, when there is a problem concentrating. Working in a place with as few distractions as possible can help and, as concentration improves, distractions can be increased. In this way, someone can slowly learn to concentrate better in a world which is crowded with distracting sights and sounds.

Speed of Information Processing Continue reading

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