Long-Term Effects of a Temporal Lobe Stroke

There are numerous effects of a temporal lobe stroke

Getty Images/ Thomas Barwick

There are numerous effects of a temporal lobe stroke ranging from difficulty speaking to hearing loss.

What is Stroke?

A stroke is a disease that affects the arteries leading to and within the brain. It is a leading cause of death and disability in the United States. 

A stroke occurs when blood flow to a region of the brain is interrupted. When that happens, part of the brain cannot get the oxygen and nutrients it needs, which causes damage to that area of the brain.

Types of stroke 

A stroke can be caused either by a blood clot obstructing the flow of blood to the brain (called an ischemic stroke) or by a blood vessel leaking or rupturing and preventing blood flow to the brain (called a hemorrhagic stroke)

TIA (transient ischemic attack), or "mini-stroke", is caused by a temporary interruption in blood flow that resolves without causing permanent damage.. 

Effects of stroke

The brain is an extremely complex organ that controls various body functions.  The brain gets its blood supply from several different blood vessels that follow a 'map' to provide oxygen and nutrient rich blood to specific regions.

The regions of the brain each have certain functions that may control physical movement, sensation, speech, thinking skills, emotions and just about everything the body does. If a stroke occurs and blood can't reach a specific region of the brain - then the particular function controlled by that part of the brain won't work as it should.

A stroke can produce a variety of symptoms which correspond to which part of the brain is affected. The main regions of the brain include the brainstem, the cerebellum, and the 4 lobes on each side (frontal lobes, temporal lobes, parietal lobes and occipital lobes).

Effects of a Temporal Lobe Stroke

The temporal lobe, along with the parietal lobe, is one of the speech centers of the brain. It is specifically the dominant temporal lobe (the side opposite your favorite hand) that controls speech, not both temporal lobes.

  • A temporal lobe stroke often causes a types of speech problem called Wernicke's aphasia, which is characterized by trouble making sense of spoken language.
  • Word-finding difficulties: the feeling that a word is at the tip of the tongue, but it just won't roll out
  • Pure word deafness
  • Transcortical aphasia
  • Amnestic dysnomia: difficulty retrieving names for things and people

Hearing

The temporal lobe is the main region of the brain that controls the sensation of hearing.

  • Hearing loss: Usually hearing loss is mild after one temporal lobe is affected by a stroke. But when both temporal lobes are affected the result might be complete deafness. This is very rare.
  • Auditory agnosia: Difficulty recognizing combinations of sounds such as songs, musical tones, and complex conversations.
  • Auditory verbal agnosia: This is the same as pure word deafness (see above)
  • Auditory illusions: Aberrant perception of normal sounds so that they feel unusual, strange, repeated, or loud.
  • Auditory hallucinations: One hears sounds that are not there. These sounds may be very complex (the sound of a song being played on the radio) or very simple (whistles or sirens). People may or may not realize that these sounds represent a hallucination. In some cases auditory hallucinations may be accompanied by visual ones.

    Memory, Emotion, and Behavior

    The temporal lobe, along with the frontal lobe, is responsible for emotions and personality. There are a number of stroke induced personality changes, and the following are most closely linked with the temporal lobe.

    • Loss of short or long term memory
    • Fits of rage
    • Violent or aggressive behavior
    • Placidity
    • Lack of interest
    • Abnormally enhanced sexuality

    Seizures

    Not all strokes can cause seizures, but temporal lobe strokes are among the stroke types most closely associated with stroke induced seizures and post stroke epilepsy.

    Other

    • Vertigo (a type of balance problem)
    • Abnormal perception of time: A feeling that time stands still or goes by extremely quickly. People might intermittently lose sense of what year, season, or month it is.
    • Disturbances of smell and taste:

    Further Reading:

    The Role of Gastrodin on Hippocampal Neurons after N-Methyl-D-Aspartate Excitotoxicity and Experimental Temporal Lobe Seizures.Wong SB, Hung WC, Min MY, Chin J Physiol. 2016 Jun 30;59(3):156-64

    Edited by Heidi Moawad MD

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