Brain Damage in the Left Hemisphere

Broca's Area


Being a caretaker for someone who has brain damage can be difficult. This newsletter is here to help inform you of the damage, what the damage effects, and possible treatment options.

Damaged Brain Area

The left cerebral hemisphere of the brain was damaged after the patient had a stroke. This type of damage in the left frontal hemisphere is often caused as a result of a stroke or head injury (Stroke Center, 2016, para. 1). The specific area in the left frontal hemisphere that was damaged is called Broca's area.

Functions Controlled by Broca's Area

Broca's Area is a region of the frontal lobe of the brain that is involved in the production of speech (Breedlove & Watson, 2013, p. 605). Broca's Area, also known as convolution of Broca, contains motor neurons that are involved in the control of speech.


Damage that occurs in the left frontal hemisphere, often causes language impairment called aphasia. This term is used to describe an acquired loss of language including: speaking, listening, reading and writing (UCSF Memory and Aging Center, 2014, para. 1).

Approximately 90-95% of all language impairment is caused by brain injury (Breedlove & Watson, 2013, p. 605).

Behavioral Changes Observed

  • Loss of speech control
  • Trouble Writing
  • Trouble reading
  • Apraxia - Motor Impairment

Some patients may lose the ability to produce any speech whatsoever but, most often patients retain the ability to produce some speech sounds (Breedlove & Watson, 2013, p. 606). Words may be produced very slowly and are often poorly articulated (UCSF Memory and Aging Center, 2014, para. 2).

Other behavioral changes observed are trouble writing and reading. These impairments are called agraphia and alexia (Breedlove & Watson, 2013, p. 606).
Another behavioral change observed is motor impairment, this is called apraxia. This is an impairment of the ability to begin and preform skilled voluntary movement, even though there is no muscle paralysis (Breedlove & Watson, 2013, p. 606).

This also includes hemiparesis, or weakness on one side of the body (Breedlove & Watson, 2013, p. 607).

Treatment Options

  • One option is speech-language therapy (Stroke Center, 2016, para. 8).
  • Another option is Aphasia therapy which is offered in both individual and group settings. This therapy focuses on the patient's ability to communicate by encouraging and helping them to use their remaining abilities, restore language abilities as much as possible, help them learn to compensate for language problems, and learn other methods of communication (Stroke Center, 2016, para. 9).
  • Joining a Stroke club is another method, which helps form support for the patient. In these clubs they often learn new ways to communicate (Stroke Center, 2016, para. 9).

These treatment options provide a way for the patient to effectively learn to communicate again. There is currently no way to treat the damage done to the brain, but this does not mean there is no hope for recovery!

Caretaker's Questions

1. Can the patient recover without treatment?

In some instances, a patient can completely recover without treatment. This spontaneous recovery often is a result of a TAI stroke, where blood flow is only temporarily cut off from the brain (Stroke Center, 2016, para. 8). There have been other cases where a patient has recovered gradually without treatment.

2. How long does recovery take?

Recovery usually continues over a two year period (Stroke Center, 2016, para. 8).

3. What is the best way for me to communicate with the patient?

You are encouraged to:

  • Use simplify language
  • Often use short sentences.
  • Repeat or write down words to help clarify the meaning.
  • Minimize distractions around patient, whenever possible.
  • Encourage any type of communication, whether it is speech, gesture, pointing, or drawing.
  • Avoid correcting the individual’s speech.
  • Give the patient plenty of time to talk.
  • Encourage them to seek treatment and seek out support groups such as stroke clubs.
(Stroke Center, 2016, para. 10).


  • Breedlove, S.M., & Watson, N.V. (2013). Biological psychology: An introduction to behavioral,cognitive, and clinical neuroscience (7th ed.). Sunderland, MA: Sinauer Associates, Inc.

**APA Formated References attached on Word Document

Picture References