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TBI Glossary "G thru I"
From The Ashes:
A Brain Injury Survivor's Guide

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   [N] [O] [P] [Q] [R] [S] [T] [U] [ V] [W] [X] [Y] [Z]


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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. 
GAIT TRAINING - instruction in walking, with or without equipment. 
    GANGLION - a mass of nervous tissue composed principally of nerve-cell bodies and lying outside the brain or spinal cord 
    GI TUBE - a tube inserted through a surgical opening into the stomach. It is used to introduce liquids, food or medication into the stomach when the person is unable to take these substances by mouth. 
    GLASGOW COMA SCALE - a standardized system used to assess the degree of brain impairment and to identify the seriousness of injury in relation to outcome. The system involves three determinants: eye opening, verbal responses and motor response.  These three determinants are evaluated independently according to a numerical value.  The resultant value  indicates the level of consciousness and degree of dysfunction. Scores run from a high of 15 to a low of 3. Persons are considered to have experienced a 'mild brain' injury when their score is 13 to 15. A score of 9 to 12 is considered to reflect a 'moderate' brain injury and a score of 8 or less reflects a 'severe' brain injury.
    GLOSS PHARYNGEAL BREATHING (GPB) - a means of forcing extra air into the lungs to expand the chest and achieve a functional cough. Also called "frog breathing." 
    GRANDIOSITY -  boastfulness; bragging; self praising. 
    GRIEF -  the physical and emotional responses to the death, separation or loss of a beloved person or thing. 
    GRIEF PROCESS -  emotional responses to grief which progress from alarm to disbelief and denial, to anger and guilt, to finding a source of comfort, and finally to adjustment. 
HALLUCINATIONS -  a sensory perception that does not result from a external stimulus. It can occur in any of the sense; hearing, taste, smell, touch or sight. 
    HALO TRACTION - The process of immobilizing the upper body and cervical spine with a traction device. The device consists of a metal ring around the head, held in place with pins into the skull. A supporting frame is at tached to the ring and to a body jacket or vest to provide immobilization. 
    HANDICAPPED -  a person who has a congenital or acquired mental or physical defect that interferes with normal functioning of the body, or the ability to be self sufficient in modern society. 
    HEAD INJURY -  any traumatic injury to the head regardless of severity.  Types of head injury include penetration of the skull by a foreign object such as a bullet.  Others result  from a blow to the head as in an impact injury.  Others are caused by a violent shaking  pr whiplash of the head. 
     HEMA- combining form indicating blood.
     HEMATOMA - the collection of blood in tissues or a space following rupture of a blood vessel. Epidural - Outside the brain and its fibrous covering, but under the skull. Subdural - Between the brain and its fibrous covering. Intracerebral - In the brain tissue. 
    HEMI- prefix meaning half.
    HEMIANOPSIA - visual field cut. Blindness for one half of the field of vision. This is not the right or left eye, but the right or left half of vision in each eye. 
    HEMIPLEGIA - paralysis of one side of the body as a result of injury to neurons carrying signals to muscles from the motor areas of the brain. 
    HEMIPARESIS - weakness,  paralysis or loss of movement on one side of the body. 
    HEMIANOPSIA - loss of part of one's visual field in one or both eyes. 
    HEMORRHAGE - abnormal internal or external discharge of blood.  May be venous, arterial or capillary from blood vessels into tissues, into or from the body. Venous blood is dark red; flow is continuous.  Arterial blood is bright red; flows in jets. Capillary blood is of a reddish color; exudes from tissue. 
    HETERO-, HERE- prefix indicating different, or relationship to another.
    HETEROTOPIC OSSIFICATION (HO) - the formation of new bone deposits in the connective tissue surrounding the major joints, primarily the hip and knee. Twenty to 50 percent of spinal cord injury  patients have HO. HO is more common in people with higher level injuries. HO is most likely to occur four months post injury. The cause of HO is unknown. Treatment typically involves weight bearing activities and surgical removal can be recommended if severe loss of function occurs. Some people respond to treatment with Didronel, a calcium limiting drug. 
    HISTORY -  an account of the medical, psychological and social events in a patient's life as well as certain details about family, ancestors and the environment that may have a bearing on the patient's condition. 
    HISTORY OF PRESENT ILLNESS (HPI) - an account by the patient of the onset, duration and character of the present illness or condition as well as any acts or situations which aggravate or alleviate the symptoms. Includes the patient's statement regarding what he or she believes to be the cause of the symptoms, and whether or not a similar condition has happened in the past. 
     HYPERREFLEXIA -   Increased action of the reflexes.
     HYPOTHERMIA - a technique used to cool the spinal cord after injury. Hypothermia may reduce metabolic and oxygen requirements of the injured tissue and may reduce edema (swelling), which in turn may reduce secondary nerve fiber damage. Because of technical problems (it may involve exposing the spinal cord), hypothermia is not widely in use at spinal centers in the U.S.
    HYPOXIA - lack of blood oxygen due to impaired lung function. Important in emergency treatment for quads. Hypoxia can further damage oxygen sensitive nerve tissue. 
IDENTITY CRISIS -  the critical point in an individual's life when he experiences intense emotional pain and confusion about his worth and his view of himself as a member of society. 
    IMMUNE  RESPONSE - the body's defense function that produces antibodies to foreign antigens. It is important in organ and tissue transplantation since the body is likely to reject new tissues. Some theorize that injury to the nervous system exposes the immune system to previously unrecognized central nervous system autoantigens, which interfere with regeneration. 
    IMPAIRMENT -  a deficiency that interferes with normal activity. 
    IMPAIRED INITIATIVE - diminished ability to take the first step in beginning an action. 
    IMPAIRED SOCIAL SENSITIVITY -  diminished capacity to feel, act or react with an appreciation of the expectations, standards and needs of others.
    IMPULSIVELY -  a tendency to act without thinking; the acting out of a sudden, irresistible and irrational urge or desire; the spontaneous physical activity that results when an irritation caused by stimuli passes through tissue, especially muscle and nerve tissue. 
    INCOMPLETE  INJURY - some sensation or motor control preserved below spinal cord lesion. 
    INCOMPLETE LESION - a spinal cord lesion in which some sensation or muscle function below the level of injury is preserved. 
    INCONTINENCE - lack of bowel and/or bladder control. 
    INFLEXIBLE - inability or unwillingness to adjust to changes. 
    INFORMED CONSENT -a  patient's right to know the risks and benefits of a medical procedure. 
    INITIATIVE - refers to the individual's ability to begin a series of behaviors directed toward a goal. 
    INTRACRANIAL PRESSURE (ICP) - cerebro-spinal fluid (CSF) pressure measured from a needle or bolt introduced into the CSF space surrounding the brain. It reflects the pressure inside of the skull. 
    INTRACRANIAL PRESSURE MONITOR - an ICP monitor. A monitoring device to determine the pressure within the brain. It consists of a small tube (catheter) attached to the person at the skull by either a ventriculostomy, subarachnoid bolt, or screw, and is then connected to a transducer, which registers the pressure.
    INTRAVENOUS PYELOGRAM (IVP) - an x-ray of the kidney to determine function. 
    IRRITABILITY - easy to excite to annoyance, impatience or anger; the action of nerve cells in generating and transmitting electrical impulses in response to stimuli. 
    ISCHEMIA - a reduction of blood flow that is thought to be a major cause of secondary injury to the brain or spinal cord after trauma. 
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