Symptoms of Frontal, Temporal, Parietal and Occipital Strokes

The Brain's Lobes. Photo © A.D.A.M.

A stroke can affect any part of the brain. When one of main arteries that provides blood to the brain becomes blocked, an ischemic stroke can result. The largest region of the brain is called the cerebral cortex. The cerebral cortex is divided into several lobes, which have different functions and receive their blood supply from different arteries.

Each side of the cerebral cortex has a frontal lobe, a temporal lobe, a parietal lobe and an occipital lobe.

Strokes affecting one or more lobes of the brain are described as cortical strokes. Cortical strokes tend to be somewhat large strokes due to the way the blood vessels in the brain are distributed. The different types of cortical strokes have very different effects on physical function and behavior.

Frontal Lobe Strokes

The frontal lobe is the largest lobe of the brain. The frontal lobe is involved in controlling movement of the body. It is also important in memory, thinking, problem solving and maintaining appropriate behavior.

A frontal lobe stroke produces a number of effects, which may  include weakness of one side of the body, behavioral changes, memory problems and trouble with self care.

It can be very difficult for caregivers, family members and patients to manage the effects of a frontal lobe stroke. Becoming familiar with these symptoms can help you accept some of the changes that people go through after a frontal lobe stroke.

Some stroke survivors who experience frontal lobe strokes may develop post stroke seizures. This is more likely if the region of the brain that controls movement is affected by the stroke.

Temporal Lobe Strokes

The temporal lobe is particularly important in language perception, memory, and hearing.

A temporal lobe stroke can produce trouble with communication, which is called aphasia.

Language function is primarily located on the dominant side of the brain, which is the left side of the brain for right handed people, and the right side of the brain for many left handed people. Therefore, a temporal lobe stroke is more likely to produce aphasia if it occurs on the dominant side of the brain.

The specific type of aphasia caused by a temporal lobe stroke is called Broca's aphasia, and it is characterized by a choppy type of speech that is difficult to understand. Stroke survivors who have Broca's aphasia are often able to read and can usually understand what other people are saying. Stroke survivors who have Broca's aphasia can usually think of the right words that they want to say, but are unable to produce those words. People with Broca's aphasia can improve with speech therapy.

Parietal Lobe Strokes

The parietal lobes are important regions of the brain that are critical in the perception of self, and the ability to feel our surroundings. A parietal lobe stroke may cause a loss of sensation affecting one side of the face, arm or leg.

The parietal lobe is also involved in language function and analytical thinking.

A parital lobe stroke on the dominant side of the brain can produce aphasia. The type of aphasia caused by a parietal lobe stroke is called Wernicke's aphasia. Stroke survivors who suffer from Wernicke's aphasia are not able to use the correct words when speaking and often do not understand the works that others are speaking. Sometimes, stroke survivors who have Wernicke's aphasia speak very quickly and fluently, but substitute nonsense words for real words. This makes it very difficult for stroke survivors who have Wernicke's aphasia to participate in speech therapy.

A parietal lobe stroke produces a number vision changes, causes trouble with spatial perception, and results in problems with motor tasks.

A stroke in the parietal lobe affects left handed people differently than it affects right handed people.

Occipital Lobe Strokes

The occipital lobes are vital for visual processing. A stroke of the occipital lobe can cause vision loss or partial vision loss of one eye or both eyes.

Because of the way the blood vessels are arranged in the brain, occipital lobe strokes are less common than strokes affecting the frontal lobes, temporal lobes and parietal lobes.


Edited by Heidi Moawad MD


Specific Brain Lesions Impair Explicit Motor Imagery Ability: A Systematic Review of the Evidence, McInnes K, Friesen C, Boe S, Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2016 Mar;97(3):478-489.

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