About Brain Injury:

A Guide to Brain Anatomy, Function and Symptoms

Finding the Best Care for a Loved One in a Coma

Thanks for clicking on for more information about brain injuries and coma. When I made the shift in my career in the early 1990’s to be a brain injury personal injury attorney, I committed myself to learning the science of brain injury. In the process of doing that, I found a major disconnect between what the leading researchers in the field were doing and what the real world medical community was doing about the diagnosis and treatment of brain injury. That discovery of poor training and experience throughout the medical community fueled by drive to write often and to try to educate and persuade with my words.

These words contain both what I have learned about brain injury from years of study and networking with the best minds in the field, but also what I’ve learned from listening to you the those people whose lives have been touched by brain injury - my clients, family members of my clients. Representing someone with a brain injury is doing battle. While the medical community as a whole is uninformed, the experts hired by the defense intentionally obscure the truth. Arming myself for the battle against dishonest defense experts has taught me even more about the hard reality than can be brain injury.

Attorney Gordon S. Johnson, Jr.

Call me at 800-992-9447

 Brain Structure  Function Associated Signs and Symptoms

Cerebral Cortex

Ventral View ( From bottom)

The outermost layer of the cerebral hemisphere which is composed of gray matter. Cortices are asymmetrical. Both hemispheres are able to analyze sensory data, perform memory functions, learn new information, form thoughts and make decisions.  
Left Hemisphere Sequential Analysis: systematic, logical interpretation of information. Interpretation and production of symbolic information:language, mathematics, abstraction and reasoning. Memory stored in a language format.  
Right Hemisphere Holistic Functioning: processing multi-sensory input simultaneously to provide "holistic" picture of one's environment. Visual spatial skills. Holistic functions such as dancing and gymnastics are coordinated by the right hemisphere. Memory is stored in auditory, visual and spatial modalities.  

Corpus Callosum

Connects right and left hemisphere to allow for communication between the hemispheres. Forms roof of the lateral and third ventricles.
  • Damage to the Corpus Callosum may result in "Split Brain" syndrome.

Frontal Lobe

Ventral View (From Bottom)


Side View

Cognition and memory.

Prefrontal area: The ability to concentrate and attend, elaboration of thought. The "Gatekeeper"; (judgment, inhibition). Personality and emotional traits.


Motor Cortex (Brodman's): voluntary motor activity.

Premotor Cortex: storage of motor patterns and voluntary activities.

Language: motor speech


  • Impairment of recent memory, inattentiveness, inability to concentrate, behavior disorders, difficulty in learning new information. Lack of inhibition (inappropriate social and/or sexual behavior). Emotional lability. "Flat" affect.
  • Contralateral plegia, paresis.
  • Expressive/motor aphasia.

Parietal Lobe


Processing of sensory input, sensory discrimination.


Body orientation.


Primary/ secondary somatic area.

  • Inability to discriminate between sensory stimuli.
  • Inability to locate and recognize parts of the body (Neglect).
  • Severe Injury: Inability to recognize self.
  • Disorientation of environment space.
  • Inability to write.

Occipital Lobe 

Primary visual reception area.


Primary visual association area: Allows for visual interpretation. 

  • Primary Visual Cortex: loss of vision opposite field.
  • Visual Association Cortex: loss of ability to recognize object seen in opposite field of vision, "flash of light", "stars". 

Temporal Lobe 

Auditory receptive area and association areas.

Expressed behavior.

Language: Receptive speech.

Memory: Information retrieval.

  • Hearing deficits.
  • Agitation, irritability, childish behavior.
  • Receptive/ sensory aphasia.

Limbic System 


Olfactory pathways:

Amygdala and their different pathways.

Hippocampi and their different pathways.

Limbic lobes: Sex, rage, fear; emotions. Integration of recent memory, biological rhythms.


  • Loss of sense of smell.
  • Agitation, loss of control of emotion. Loss of recent memory. 

Basal Ganglia 

Subcortical gray matter nuclei. Processing link between thalamus and motor cortex. Initiation and direction of voluntary movement. Balance (inhibitory), Postural reflexes.

Part of extrapyramidal system: regulation of automatic movement. 

  • Movement disorders: chorea, tremors at rest and with initiation of movement, abnormal increase in muscle tone, difficulty initiating movement.
  • Parkinson's. 

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Finding the Best Care for a Loved One in a Coma

Continue Brain Function and Pathology

Return To Brain Anatomy

Intracranial Pressure

Understanding Coma

Rancho Los Amigos Scale/ The Levels of Coma

Objectives of Neurosurgery

A Glossary of Terms  



Attorney Gordon S. Johnson, Jr.

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