Author Archives: Lauren Mary Albertson

Post-traumatic stress disorder

Post-traumatic stress disorder(PTSD) is a disorder that occurs after physical harm has taken place or the threat of harm occurred to an invidiual. Although it is typical for the humans fight or flight response to kick in during times of extreme stress and threats, individuals with PTSD are not able to turn this off and can begin to feel the same stress when danger is no longer present. What victims of PTSD deal with, what parts of the brain are associated with PTSD and why memory loss may occur are important fundamentals of understanding PTSD.

Victims of stressful and dangerous situations can often experience Post-traumatic stress disorder. In fact, nearly 7.7 million American adults have PTSD. This disorder can cause a number of symptoms including flashbacks, frightening thoughts, memory loss of the event, depression and much more. Clear emotional and mental responses are present in these victims.

Research has shown that individuals who experience extreme danger such as sexual abuse or war soldiers have physical changes to the hippocampus. This is a part of the brain that is associated with memory and learning as well as stress. This would explain why many individuals with PTSD are unable to recall the event or many details of the event that triggered the PTSD. The Hippocampus can be stressed to a point of not only forgetting the triggering event, but impair new learning. New research has shown that the hippocampus is capable of regenerating nerve cells and under extreme stress can slow down or even stop this ability. Other areas of the brain are also associated with PTSD, which include the medial prefrontal cortex. This part of the brain deals with emotional and fear driven reactions.

With the hippocampus playing a role in PTSD, it is quite clear why memory loss is reported for many PTSD victims. The hippocampus is associated with memory and can be damaged under great stress such as trauma and fear. Some scientists believe that the memory loss is to protect the victims from reliving these events, however most PTSD victims will still feel a huge sense of fear around similar situations whether that be dark halls or the place the trauma took place. Thus implying that even without exact memory, these victims still go through agony and torment over the traumatic event.

In conclusion, PTSD occurs in a number of victims of trauma each day. Individuals who seek counseling and family support after trauma may reduce their risk of PTSD. Victims of PTSD experience many real and frightening responses to fear. These are believe to be associated with brain activity from the hippocampus and the medial prefrontal cortex. Memory loss is a symptom of many PTSD victims both of the event and even future learnings.



Works Cited

“The Invisible Epidemic: Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Memory and the BrainBy: J. Douglas Bremner, M.D..” The Invisible Epidemic: PTSD & the Brain. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Apr. 2014. <>.

“Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).”NIMH RSS. N.p., n.d. Web. 20 Apr. 2014. <>.

Memory and Functioning Assistant for Traumatic Brain Injuries

Traumatic brain injuries result in nearly one and a half million American disabilities each year. These injuries can result in a number of problems including but not limited to sleep disorders, memory loss, concentration difficulty, cognitive and motor impairments and loss of multitasking abilities. With an increase in technology, an increase for helping individuals with traumatic brain injury has occurred. These include devices that help work on memory and ease everyday life activities, new technology advancements and getting the cognitive help each individual needs to regain memory functions.

As one can imagine, going through such a traumatic event can be overwhelming to the body and mind not to mention very frustrating for the individual trying to cope with different abilities. Many individuals suffer with memory loss and trouble learning and retaining new information. Many of these individuals are able to regain these memories over time and through help and guidance. One great thing to do is to make things easier through a very structured daily routine and schedule. Technology driven programs that include task reminders, memory notebooks, task lists and reminder programs are great tools to utilize. It is important to review and practice information often, especially any new information. Memory and cue cards can be great tools, as well as incorporating pictures with stories or new experiences (msktc).

There are a number of devices that have been useful for those with traumatic brain injuries. These include devises such as key finders, pill alert systems, and hand-held microcomputers. Visual Assistants can now help support task completions by providing images and pictures along with audio messages with step-by-step instructions (brainline). My great aunt was involved in a car accident and sustained brain injuries in 2010. These devices helped her to live out her final years with greater ease and less frustration. She would often get very frustrated because of her slowed speech and inability to communicate effectively. Devices such as computers and typing devices greatly helped her communicate to nurses and family members.

Understanding what these individuals are going through is a key step in understanding how to help them. Many have trouble processing and understanding information and therefore need people to be patient and helpful. Each individual’s abilities after the trauma can differ depending on where the trauma took place. The brain has five lobes all which functions differ and each can be affected differently or not at all during a traumatic brain injury. The five lobes include; The frontal lobe, parietal lobe, temporal lobe, occipital lobe and the insula. The frontal lobe is responsible for planning and priorities as well as motor activity and speech. The temporal lobe is a sensory area and related to hearing. The occipital Lobe is where much of the visual processing takes place. The parietal lob is responsible for bodily sensations and is a receiving station for sensory information. Lastly the fifth lobe, the insula, is where the ability to use or understand spoken and written language takes place. All of these areas can be affected by a brain injury and all can produce different outcomes in the body of the individual affected. There can be mild to severe brain traumas and functioning thereafter (Koch).

Trauma to the brain is life changing, but understanding the brains functions and the trauma that has taken place is key to further advancements and aids to these individuals. Memory function along with many other cognitive functions can be greatly affected with any trauma to the brain. It is important to continue to work with these individuals and for these individuals to continue to use these areas of the brain to aid in improvement to their current abilities.


“Assistive Technology for Individuals with Traumatic Brain Injury.” Assistive Technology for Individuals with Traumatic Brain Injury. N.p., n.d. Web. 09 Mar. 2014.

“Cognitive Problems after Traumatic Brain Injury.” Cognitive Problems After Traumatic Brain Injury.  Web. 05 Mar. 2014. <>.

Koch, Sarah. “MyBrainNotes™.com.” The Brain’s Cerebral Cortex, or Neocortex, Has Specialized Areas for Language, Sensory, and Emotion Processing. Web. 07 Mar. 2014. <>.

Cerebellum Damage


Although the brain takes up a small volume of the human body, the impact it has on our functions and processing are hugely significant. The Cerebellum is one such part of the brain that’s impact and function on the body can produce devastation if damaged. Looking at the Cerebellums function, a young man’s struggle with Cerebellum damage and regions of the cerebellum we will explore the importance of this part of the brain.

Located at the back of the brain, the Cerebellum controls a number of bodily movements and visual signals dealing with movement. It provides timing control for the body’s movements making one’s motor function highly reliant on the Cerebellum. Moving objects or personal movements signal the Cerebellum to analyze such events and calculate the speed of these movements, adjusting motor commands according to the movements.

At just sixteen years old, a family friend of mine had his whole life change after damaging his Cerebellum. My childhood summers were spent on a beautiful lake near the Cape of Massachusetts surrounded by family and friends, one of which was Mark. Jumping and diving off of the wooden docks was a common occurrence, however for Mark one jump would drastically change his life. Ambitions of joining the Marines and becoming a fire fighter were changed after a simple dive off a four-foot high dock and into the water. Mark hit his head in such a way that day, that his cerebellum was damaged and his life in jeopardy. Mark spent the next several months in the hospital and his dreams of the Marines were tragically lost as his body movements were significantly delayed. He would often reach for objects but would reach too far and miss the objects entirely. His memory and language had severe impacts and finishing high school took him years to complete due to these obstacles.

The Cerebellum is divided into three regions, the archicerebellum, the palaeocerebellum and the neocerebellum. The archicerebellum is connected to the inner ear and has a large role in balance. Often times when someone has an inner ear infection, it can affect this balance. The paleocerebellum is connected to the spinal cord, which significantly influences muscle and postural activity. The neocerebellum is the largest of all three regions. It coordinates voluntary movements as well as, putting the breaks on one set of muscles while the other is in motion. This helps the body not fall over or convulsively initiate all muscle movements at once.

All in all, the Cerebellum is an important part of both the brain and human body. It plays a significant role in our mobility as humans and damage to it has cruel consequences in many instances.



“” The Cerebellum, Web. 31 Jan. 2014.