Signs of Nerve Damage in the Brain

(Image: "Charles Bell: Anatomy of the Brain, c. 1802" is Copyrighted by Flickr user: brain_blogger (Shaheen Lakhan) under the Creative Commons Attribution license.)

The brain is the processing center of the nervous system, which sends out and receives signals from the nerves that run throughout the body. The brain contains billions of neurons, or nerve cells, and there are many symptoms that may signify that the nerves of the brain have been damaged.

Sensory Changes

The brain is responsible for taking in and processing information from different bodily senses. If the brain is damaged, numerous changes in sensory perception can take place. In some cases one of the senses may feel dull or less perceptive than usual. According to the Mayo Clinic, symptoms can include blurred vision, ringing ears or changes in tastes. It is also possible to experience pain, tingling or a burning sensation in different parts of the body for no apparent physiological reason.

Muscular Impairment

The brain controls flexing of the muscles, so an injury to the brain can impair the ability to do many activities that require muscle movement. Brain damage may result in a lack of physical dexterity and balance, which can lead to falling, the inability to move body parts and a loss of muscle mass. Involuntary muscle contractions and cramping are also possible. Muscular impairment due to brain damage can make it difficult to partake in normal physical activities, and severe brain damage may even result in total loss of function in a muscle.

Intellectual Ability

Severe damage to the brain may cause a decrease in intellectual ability, such as reduced social awareness and critical thinking skills. This may lead to inappropriate comments, the inability to carry on a thoughtful conversation or difficulty grasping complex concepts. It may also lead to changes in mood or personality.

Involuntary Systems

While brain damage can have a tremendous impact on voluntary body functions, it can also affect involuntary movements. Brain damage may, for instance, lead to problems with digestion, vomiting or perspiring. It could also cause difficulty breathing or swallowing and cause urinary or fecal incontinence. In men, brain damage can cause erectile dysfunction. Dizziness, confusion and fainting are other possible effects of brain damage.


The brain controls all of the body's functions, both voluntary and involuntary. Consequently, damage to nerve cells of the brain can impact almost any body function. Brain damage is often caused by trauma, such as blunt impact to the skull, and may repair itself over time as the brain heals. Rehabilitation and therapy can sometimes help restore lost brain function, but in some cases impaired function is permanent.

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