The Human Brain, Cognitive Ability and Injury

The human brain is very complex and is not respected on how it runs every area of our lives. The average brain weighs 2.9- 3.3 lbs. The average newborn’s brain weighs 350-400 grams.  A woman’s brain size is 1130 cubic centimeters while a man’s is 1260 cubic centimeters.  There are 86 billion neurons in the brain 16 billion in the cerebral cortex and 69 billion in the cerebellum. The 4 distinct areas of the brain are the frontal, parietal, temporal and occipital lobes that run every decision of  that affects cognition for physical, intellectual ,creativity, emotions and spiritual nature of who we are.

When your cognition due to acquired brain injury is affected this can be harmful to your learning ability without guidance. Thank goodness for an informative, caring neurosurgeon  and parents to lead me into a cognitive repetitious learning style that worked for me. My parents and teachers patience is to be commended. I will be forever grateful for the people who helped me along the way to be a better person, student, worker, ESL instructor, writer and advocate.

The three main learning styles are auditory, visual and kinesetic. My style was and is auditory and visual which has worked for me. I have a nephew who is kinesetic a hand on learner and visual. No learning style is right or wrong it is just how God made us and the way we learn that is comfortable to the individual.

My studies have included courses in psychology, sociology, philosophy anthropology and linguistics that all revolve in cognitive behavior in one shape or form. This tested out that an individual with A.B.I. – Acquired Brain injury can push the brain to it’s cognitive limits. The goal was never to admire this accomplishment but to chase after the degree which I successful was able too do. I am not special but one of a long line of people with cognitive disabilities too make adjustments to achieve their goals.

The creative part of the brain I cherish very much. This is the area of the brain that has given me the ability to write books, short stories, journal entries and poems. Another area of the brain where I can do math problems. The ability to study languages and people groups. Nobody knew this would be possible years ago. Yes sometimes I have hard time finding my place in the world but I have found my voice through writing and advocacy.

My hear goes out to my fellow survivors of Acquired or Traumatic Brain Injury. Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy a brain disease is something that athletes and military personnel seem to be concentrated on due to being in high profile positions which should be treated in life someday and the condition is looked at now post mortem. Anyone who has gone through brain injury surgeries and their loved ones must take a look at these studies to see if they have the disease hopefully in the future they the brain surgeons and neuro pathologists will have tests for living patients to see if they have the Tau protein brain disease and have a cure.

The documentary “League Denial” that I saw on PBS Frontline TV show had a profound affect on me. I love watching sports but never want them to suffer at the cost of game. Football is a great game but these players were not protected by the NFL and were lied to about the long term affects of concussions. I have had 4 concussions and have had my personality change somewhat. I can’t relate to the devastating affects of concussions in the double digits that have profoundly affected these players and families lives. My thanks to the writers and filmmakers that made the documentary possible. God bless Dr. Ann McKee and here colleagues as they tackle issues of brain disease, dementia and Alzheimer’s in the patients they see. 

So my encouragement and support goes out to the brain injured survivor’s, families and friends that support them. Keep up the good fight. Be excited about every day your given and the challenges you may face. If there is a will there is a way. May you all know you are not alone. Brain injury is a condition it does not have to define who you are. May God bless the caregivers of brain injury patients in the hospital as it is not an easy job. My mom had that job for over 20 years as a brain injury nurse and administrator. So keep all your great work.

Regards, Ty Stingel

October 9, 2013

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