Frontal lobe damage: symptoms, cause, diagnosis, treatment


The frontal lobe is the largest part of the brain. It extends from the front of the brain almost halfway to the back.

Damage to the frontal lobe can cause several symptoms. These can include behavior problems, depression, and loss of muscle strength.

Several conditions can damage the frontal lobe, including strokes , head injuries, and dementia .

This article looks at the frontal lobe of the brain, its functions, and various conditions that can cause damage to the frontal lobe. It also discusses how to diagnose and treat frontal lobe damage.

Get medical information / Alex Dos Diaz

Where is the frontal lobe and what is it for?

The brain has two hemispheres or halves: left and right. The hemispheres are divided into three parts: the forebrain, midbrain , and rhombencephalon.

Each section has specific functions:

  • The hindbrain controls involuntary functions (those that occur without its control), such as breathing and heart rate.
  • The midbrain is associated with coordination, mindfulness, vision, and hearing.
  • The forebrain controls a number of social, emotional, and cognitive (thinking) functions, as well as motor functions and memory.

The forebrain includes a large part of the brain called the cerebrum . The outermost layer of the brain is called the cerebral cortex.

The frontal lobe is one of the four lobes of the cerebral cortex. The other lobes are the temporal , parietal , and occipital lobes .

Each of the four lobes has a specific function. Damaging any of them will cause problems with these functions. The following sections describe the main functions of the frontal lobe.

Social and emotional skills

The frontal lobe is responsible for decision-making and self-control. It also helps regulate emotions. It is the part of the brain that governs your interactions with other people. The frontal lobe regulates your behavior and helps you learn what is socially acceptable and what is not.

Motor function

The back of the frontal lobe is called the motor rail. This area controls and directs the intentional movement of the body.

The left side of the motor belt controls the right side of the body. The right side of the motor rod controls the left side of the body.

Language, thought, reasoning and imagination

The frontal lobe controls high-level thinking and problem solving. It also helps you pay attention.

The frontal lobe of humans is much larger than that of other animals. It's also more complex, helping people complete complex tasks, innovate, and imagine.

Some functions are controlled primarily by the left frontal lobe. The rest is controlled mainly by the right frontal lobe.

Each person's frontal lobe has a dominant side . Most people have it on the left, but it can also be on the right.

The dominant side of the frontal lobe is involved in a number of functions, including:

  • Language and speech
  • Rational and logical thinking or the ability to understand things.
  • Quantitative thinking or thinking related to numbers and statistics.
  • Analytical thinking or the ability to make decisions after considering facts.

The nondominant frontal lobe serves more creative functions, including:

  • Creativity
  • Imagination
  • Intuition
  • Curiosity
  • Musical and artistic ability.


The frontal lobe is a large part of the brain located in the cerebral cortex. It controls a wide range of functions, including social and emotional skills, motor function, language, creativity, and rational thinking.

Symptoms of damage to the frontal lobe.

Because the frontal lobe has so many functions, many symptoms can occur when it is damaged. Damage to the frontal lobe can cause one or more of the following events:

  • Weakness on one side of the body or on one side of the face.
  • The fall
  • Inability to solve problems or organize tasks.
  • Decreased creativity
  • Violation of judgment
  • Decreased taste or odor.
  • Depression
  • Difficulty controlling emotions.
  • Behavior changes
  • Low motivation
  • Low concentration, easily distracted
  • Decreased or increased interest in sex.
  • Strange sexual habits
  • Impulsive or risky behavior
  • Communication problems


Damage to the frontal lobe is often caused by a stroke. It can also be caused by a degenerative disease that worsens over time.

There are other less common conditions that can also affect the frontal lobe.


Dementia is a term used to describe conditions that cause memory loss and other problems with thinking and reasoning.

Frontotemporal dementia (FTD) is a group of diseases that affect the frontal and temporal lobes. FTD is the second most common cause of dementia in people under the age of 65.

People with PAD often experience changes in behavior and personality. They may also have language problems.

People with a type of Alzheimer's disease called frontal Alzheimer's may have similar symptoms. This form of Alzheimer's disease is sometimes confused with LTD.


Impacts can also damage the frontal lobe. When blood flow to the frontal lobe is interrupted, there is a loss of function in that part of the brain. It can also occur as a result of bleeding in the brain.

Vascular dementia can occur after several minor strokes. This is the most common cause of frontal lobe damage. Vascular dementia is associated with Alzheimer's disease and other degenerative brain diseases.

Other reasons

Other conditions can cause damage or injury to the frontal lobe, including:

Diagnosis of frontal lobe brain trauma.

Healthcare professionals can diagnose strokes and frontal lobe infections with a diagnostic scan. Options include magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and computed tomography (CT or CAT).

An MRI creates a two-dimensional or three-dimensional image of the brain using a magnetic field and radio waves. The CT scan creates a three-dimensional image from several x-rays.

Some causes, such as dementia or traumatic brain injury, may show up on examination as atrophy or loss of brain tissue. The scan may not show anything either.

Magnetic resonance imaging and computed tomography are effective tools for the diagnosis of vascular dementia.

A complete neuropsychological evaluation or a concussion test can help the doctor evaluate damage to the frontal lobe. These tests look at:

  • Speech skills
  • Motor skills
  • Social behavior
  • Spontaneity
  • Impulse control
  • Memory
  • Problem resolution
  • Idiom

Treatment of frontal brain injury

Treatment strategies for frontal lobe injury vary depending on the cause. For example, an infection can be treated with antibiotics. Brain tumors can be removed with surgery or treated with chemotherapy or radiation.

There is currently no cure for degenerative diseases such as Parkinson's, Huntington's, and dementia. Treatment and lifestyle changes can help relieve symptoms.


Weakness of motility caused by damage to the frontal lobe is treated with rehabilitation. This includes strengthening and optimizing the remaining motor skills.

Cognitive and behavioral therapy

Rehabilitation can be challenging due to cognitive and social problems caused by frontal lobe damage. Therapy can be helpful in helping patients regulate emotions and contain impulsive behavior.


The frontal lobe of the brain controls a number of important functions, including emotion, self-control, movement, language, and rational thinking. Damage to the frontal lobe can affect any of these functions.

Damage to the frontal lobe can have many causes, including dementia and other degenerative brain diseases, strokes, infections, or brain tumors.

Damage to the frontal lobe can sometimes be diagnosed by imaging. In other cases, a neuropsychological evaluation may be necessary.

Treatment for frontal lobe damage may include medication, surgery, rehabilitation, or therapy.

Get the word of drug information

Brain damage is a complex condition. If you or a loved one has frontal lobe damage, it can help to know that, depending on the cause, some recovery is possible.

Behavioral and cognitive problems can be stressful and interfere with healthy relationships. Understanding the symptoms will help you meet your expectations.

It can be helpful to explain to an injured loved one why certain behaviors are inappropriate. Sometimes, however, the best option is to accept the status of the loved one.

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