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Brain Injury Glossary "D"

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   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 materials.
     Many of the entries below have been linked to corresponding pages of this site that contain related information on the topic. 
[A] [B] [C] [D] [E] [F] [G] [H] [I] [J] [K] [ L] [M] [N]
        [O] [P] [Q] [R] [S] [T] [U] [ V] [W] [X] [Y] [Z]

DECEREBRATE  POSTURE (Decerebrate Rigidity) - exaggerated posture or  extension as a result of a lesion to the prepontine area of the brainstem, and is rarely seen fully developed in humans. 
    DECEREBRATION - removal of the brain or cutting the spinal cord at the level of the brain stem.
    DECORTICATE POSTURE - (Decorticate Rigidity) exaggerated posture of upper extremity flexion and lower extremity extension as a result of a lesion to the mesencephalon or above. 
    DECORTICATION - the removal of the surface layer of an organ or structure, as the removal of a portion of the cortex of  the brain from the underlying white portion
    DECUBITUS - pressure area, bed sore, skin opening, skin breakdown. A discolored or open area of skin damage caused by pressure. Common areas most prone to breakdown are buttocks or backside, hips, shoulder blades, heels, ankles and elbows. 
    DEFICIT - a deficiency in amount or quality of functioning.
    DEJA VU -  an inexplicable sense of familiarity; a feeling that you have heard, seen or experienced something before although you are sure that your current experience is new. 
    DELUSIONS -  thought disturbances; hallucinations. 
    DEMYELINATION - the loss of nerve fiber "insulation" due to trauma or disease, which reduces the ability of nerves to conduct impulses (as in multiple sclerosis and some types of spinal cord injury). Some intact but non working nerve fibers might be coaxed into remyelination, or re-firing, thus restoring function. See myelin. 
    DEMORALIZED -  crushed; overcome; stricken. 
    DENDRITE - microscopic tree-like fibers extending from a nerve cell (neuron). They are receptors of electrochemical nervous impulse transmissions. The total length of dendrites within the human brain exceeds several hundred thousand miles. 
    DENIAL -  defense mechanism allowing an individual to maintain that a problem has been resolved with an increase in personal competence, although the problem still remains.  It protects against physical or emotional conflict or loss. Many rehab professionals over ascribe denial to their patients. Hoping for functional improvement should not be misunderstood as denying 
    DEPRESSION -  an abnormal emotional state in which the individual experiences an exaggerated feeling of sadness, worthlessness and hopelessness, inappropriate and out of proportion to some personal loss or tragedy. 
    DESTABILIZATION -  an abnormal emotional response to physical or mental trauma in which the individual is rendered unable to adjust to his or her normal roles.  Individuals who become psychologically destabilized can manifest subjective cognitive impairments that mimic brain injury. 
    DIAGNOSIS -  identification of a disease or condition by a scientific evaluation of physical signs, symptoms, history, as well as laboratory tests and procedures. 
    DIFFUSE -  widely spread. 
    DIFFUSE AXONAL INJURY (DAI) - a shearing injury of large nerve fibers (axons covered with myelin) in many areas of the brain. It appears to be one of the two primary lesions of brain injury, the other being stretching or shearing of blood vessels from the same forces, producing hemorrhage. 
    DIFFUSE BRAIN INJURY -injury to cells in many areas of the brain rather than in one specific location. 
    DIMINISHED ABILITY TO ABSTRACT -  lack of flexibility and adaptability to use ideas and generalizations. 
    DIPLOPIA - seeing two images of a single object; double vision. 
    DISABILITY -  the loss, absence or impairment of physical or mental fitness that can be seen or measured. 
     DISCHARGE PLANNING - preparation for life after rehab, including insurance and legal issues, home adaptation, and community support issues. 
    DISCRIMINATION, SENSORY - a process requiring differentiation of two or more stimuli. 
    DISINHIBITION -  impaired ability to restrain from acting on an impulse or desire. 
     DISORIENTATION -  mental confusion with regard to time, place, personal identity and relationships. 
    DISTRACTIBILITY -  inability to maintain attention; over-reaction to stimuli. 
    DLS (Daily Living Skills) - See ADL. 
    DORSAL ROOT - the collection of nerves entering the dorsal section (on the back) of a spinal cord segment. These roots share central and peripheral nerve connections, and enter the spinal cord in an area called the dorsal root entry zone (DREZ). 
    DURA MATER - the outermost of three membranes protecting the brain and spinal cord, it is tough and leather like 
    DYSARTHRIA - difficulty in forming words or speaking them because of weakness of muscles used in speaking. Speech is characterized by slurred, imprecise articulation. Tongue movements are usually labored and the rate of speaking may be very slow. Voice quality may be abnormal, usually excessively nasal; volume may be weak; drooling may occur. Dysarthria may accompany aphasia or occur alone. 
    DYSPHAGIA - difficulty in swallowing.  It also includes difficulity in moving material from the mouth to the stomach. This definition also includes problems in positioning food in the mouth. 


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