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Functions of the prefrontal cortex in the human brain

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Abstract

The prefrontal cortex of the human brain is affected by various pathological conditions, and for the apparent theoretical gains and clinical benefits, brain scientists and clinicians alike have for decades endeavored to understand the precise role of this region of the brain. Recent findings in electrophysiological and functional neuroimaging studies provide a better insight into the neuronal activities during various cognitive processes performed by the prefrontal cortex. Nevertheless, some of these findings are at odds with others, and the theorized roles of the prefrontal cortex remain largely under dispute. On the clinical side, a longer history of research provides a wealth of symptom descriptions on the multifaceted prefrontal dysfunction. In the midst of this abundance, however, there still exists a need for coherent categorization of these seemingly disparate symptoms. This task could be done based on the nature of affected cognitive processes and their putative neural substrates. With this view in mind, the present article selectively reviews major anatomical evidence and experimental data together with clinical observations on prefrontal patients in an attempt to integrate findings in science with behavioral data and ultimately to propose a model of functional organization within the prefrontal cortex.
... [9] Slower mental processing and personal changes such as loss of interest can be other examples of results of PFC damage in different parts of the PFC. [10] The prefrontal cortex lobes are found smaller in patients with depression when compared to healthy human lobes. [11] Following that, psychological stress is found to be activating the PFC. ...
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Prefrontal cortex (PFC) has been referred to as the personality center in the human brain ever since Phineas Gage changed into another person after suffering damage to his PFC. Among the areas of frontal lobe, subregions of this area of the cortex perform the most important cognitive functions. All subregions are found related to important executive functions such as abstract reasoning, learning, decision-making, regulation of emotions, integrating inputs from the environment and reacting to them. Prefrontal cortex subregions perform their functions by working together with other brain regions and integrating them. Impairment in any of these subregions is connected to the majority of researched psychiatric disorders, such as anxiety, depression, and suicidal ideation, because of their crucial roles in behavior and psychology. Therefore, expanding data of the PFC studies especially in humans provides a new perspective on cognition and psychiatric disorders. In this review, the human prefrontal cortex and its functions were discussed.
... High-level cognitive functions supported by the frontal lobe have been shown to be compromised in TLE patients [8,9]. As a key functional part of the frontal lobe, the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) plays an important role in functions such as working memory, planning, emotions, etc. [10]. Its functional organization is a matter of study in different fields of medicine. ...
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