| 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
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.
- removal of the brain or cutting the spinal cord at the level of the brain
- (Decorticate Rigidity) exaggerated posture of upper extremity flexion
and lower extremity extension as a result of a lesion to the mesencephalon
- 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
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
- 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.
thought disturbances; hallucinations.
- 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.
- 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.
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
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.
- 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.
identification of a disease or condition by a scientific evaluation of
physical signs, symptoms, history, as well as laboratory tests and procedures.
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
DIMINISHED ABILITY TO ABSTRACT
- lack of flexibility and adaptability to use ideas and generalizations.
- seeing two images of a single object; double vision.
the loss, absence or impairment of physical or mental fitness that can
be seen or measured.
- preparation for life after rehab, including insurance and legal issues,
home adaptation, and community support issues.
- a process requiring differentiation of two or more stimuli.
- impaired ability to restrain from acting on an impulse or desire.
- mental confusion with regard to time, place, personal identity
- inability to maintain attention; over-reaction to stimuli.
DLS (Daily Living
Skills) - See ADL.
- 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
DURA MATER -
the outermost of three membranes protecting the brain and spinal cord,
it is tough and leather like
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
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.