||D. Mortz Inspirational Award
| The pages linked in this section
of our web site lists medical terms commonly associated with brain injury.
Entries in this glossary have been simplified for ease of understanding
by lay persons. Terms in this section were drawn from Taber's Cyclopedic
Medical Dictionary, 14th edition, 1981, Mosby's Medical and Nursing Dictionary,
2nd edition, 1986, The Merck Manual, 13th edition, 1977, DSM-IV.
See our Resources
page for information on and links to these and other medical reference
Many of the entries below have been linked
to corresponding pages of this site that contain related information on
- the ability to use appropriate righting
and equilibrium reactions to maintain an upright position. It is usually
tested in sitting and standing positions.
- The brain has many parts including the cerebral cortex,
brain stem and cerebellum. The brain is a very complex organ, it regulates
every aspect of human behavior. Everything about ourselves and the environment
is experienced through the brain. It has been described as a three pound
universe. It is thought to house the seat of the self, the place where
the sense of self resides.
Damage to the hippocampus interferes
with the ability to store
new memories. Likewise, the ability to use language recognize familiar
faces, to count, read and many other higher functions are depemdamt on
intact memory functions.Impairments in such basic functions are fundamental
to personal identity.
Wipe out one part of the
brain and the person speaks fluent giberish; other damage interferes with
the ability to recognize familiar faces.
- the lower extension of the brain where
it connects to the spinal cord. Neurological functions located in the brainstem
include those necessary for survival (breathing, heart rate) and for arousal
(being awake and alert).
FRAME - a rectangular frame which may be placed over a hospital
bed to position or increase mobility. Loops or a trapeze are often hung
from the Balkan frame to assist a patient in bed activities and wheelchair
transfers to and from the bed.
BASIC HUMAN NEEDS
- biologic needs associated with maintaining life; food, clothing,
shelter, reproduction and physical safety.
- rigidity in the way an individual behaves or performs tasks.
- A process that provides sight or sound information about functions of
the body, including blood pressure, muscle tension, etc. By trial and error,
one can learn to consciously control these functions.
- a term used to describe behavior which is considered unusual and inexplicable
in common opinion.
the inability to remember; the involuntary interruption of a train of thought
- bragging; self-praising; grandiosity.
- inattention; negligence; thoughtlessness.
NERVOUS SYSTEM (CNS) - the CNS includes the brain and spinal
cord. The prevailing theory is that CNS cells won't repair themselves.
Experiments show, however, that CNS nerves can re-grow and reconnect to
appropriate targets. A clinical "fix" for spinal cord injury has not yet
- the portion of the brain (located in the back) that helps coordinate
movement. Damage may result in Ataxia.
(CSF) - a colorless solution similar to plasma protecting the brain
and spinal cord from shock. CSF circulates through the subarachnoid space.
For diagnosis purposes, a lumbar puncture (spinal tap) is used to draw
-the upper spine (neck) area of the vertebral column. Cervical injuries
often result in quadriplegia (tetraplegia).
- exhibiting childlike behavior; silly.
- Use of other words to describe a specific word or idea which cannot be
CLONUS - A sustained
series of rhythmic jerks following quick stretch of a muscle.
HEAD INJURY - trauma to the head regardless of severity.
Also see Traumatic Brain Injury, Minor Head Injury and Concussion.
- the mental process involved in knowing, thinking, learning and
- individual awareness of inconsistencies in thoughts, feelings,
rationale and opinions.
FUNCTION - an intellectual process by which a person
becomes aware of, perceives or understands ideas.
- higher mental functioning; learning, memory, imagination, comprehension,
decision making. The means by which an individual becomes aware of people,
objects and situations in the environment and their subjective, symbolic
- therapy programs which aid persons in the management of specific problems
in thinking and perception. Skills are practiced and strategies are taught
to help improve function and/or compensate for remaining deficits.
- a state of profound unconsciousness. A state of unconsciousness
from which the person is incapable of any conscious action. Typically,
they do not respond to powerful stimulation; lack of any response to one's
- attacking; quarrelsome; argumentative.
- the ability of the mind to understand.
- an injury with no motor or sensory function below the zone of cord destruction
at the site of primary trauma.
irresistible, repetitive irrational talking.
- irresistible, repetitive irrational writing.
- to focus the mind on; to completely fix one's attention on.
- the ability to follow a series of abstract ideas or thoughts.
- a pattern of thought and feeling in which an ability to generalize
and abstract is impaired; thinking which is limited to immediate environmental
stimuli and/or the literal meaning of the word.
- a violent blow, jarring, shaking or other non penetrating injury
to the brain. Frequently, but not always, accompanied by a loss of
consciousness. Also called Minor Head Injury and Traumatic Brain Injury.
Slang terms include: having one's "bell rung," and "ding."
- the fabrication of experience or situations in a detailed and believable
way to cover up gaps in memory.
a principle which states that personal information about others, particularly
patients, should not be revealed to persons not authorized to receive such
disorientation regarding time, place and person. Confusion leads to bewilderment,
lack or orderly thought and inability to choose or act decisively.
- the state of awareness of the self and the environment.
the ability to control urination and bowel movements.
to use constraint; the conscious limitation or suppression of impulses.
the stiffening of a body joint to the point that it can no longer be moved
through its normal range. Contracture is a pathologic, involuntary, irreversible
shortening of a muscle.
- a bruising of the neural tissues of the brain.
- a neurosis caused by the patient's conscious or unconscious desire to
escape or avoid some unpleasant situation or responsibility or, to obtain
sympathy or some other secondary gain. Also called conversion hysteria
or conversion reaction. In women particularly, the symptoms of traumatic
brain injury are sometimes mistakenly diagnosed as conversion disorder.
STRATEGIES - skills developed through experience for
BLINDNESS - loss of vision resulting from a lesion of the
primary visual areas of the occipital lobe. Light reflex is preserved.
a blow to the head at the site of impact.
- injury to the brain resulting from a blow to the opposite side
of the head. Impact blows to the head cause the brain to be pushed against
the inner surface of the skull opposite the side of impact.
CT SCAN - computerized
axial tomography is a cross-sectional X-ray enhancement technique that
greatly benefits diagnosis with high resolution video images, some in three
CUE - a signal,
hint, or direction used to assist a person in remembering, or performing