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Affect of Stroke on Cognition, Behavior and Emotion

             Every 53 seconds someone has a stroke; a stroke is an interruption of the blood supply to any part of the brain, resulting in damaged brain tissue. If the flow of blood in an artery supplying the brain is interrupted for longer than a few seconds, brain cells can die, causing permanent damage – but how extensive can the damage be? There are many studies and theories on how strokes can affect the human body in regards to cognition, behavior, and emotion. Among these studies it has been noted that these deficits have a tendency to be strongly dependent upon the hemispherical location of the damage; right hemispherical damage has been shown to have the most drastic effect on them all. Cognitive and emotional changes have been mentioned by at least 50% of stroke patients and their partners, but it was found that more problems were reported by relatives than the stroke patients themselves. “Most frequently mentioned changes […], irrespective of side of lesion, were mental slowness, memory disabilities, less initiative and hyper-emotionality” (Visser-Keizer et al, 2002, p. 1032). In a study done by Marleen J.J. Gerritsen, Ina J. Berg, Betto G. Deelman, Annemarie C. Visser-Keizer and Betty Meyboom-de Jong (2003), it was shown that specific cognitive deficits include “aphasia, apraxia and neglect, memory, intelligence and attention” (p.1). Furthermore, it has also been shown that any damage to the brain that the stroke may have caused, in regards to emotion, doesn’t actually recover to its fullest – if at all. Is it possible that the effects a stroke may have on emotion be the reason for behavioral changes such as depression, which is found in most stroke patients, which appear within months following the stroke? Is it possible that it is the cognitive effects that cause mental slowness and, for some patients, the inabilities to even realize that they have any problems?.