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TBI Glossary "J thru N"
From The Ashes:
A Brain Injury Survivor's Guide

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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 Medical Cyclopedic Medical Dictionary, 14th edition, 1981, Mosby's 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. 

JAMAIS VU -  familiar places, people and things seem foreign or alien. 
    JUDGMENT -  the ability to form a correct conclusion based on knowledge and experience. 
KUB - an x-ray of the abdomen, showing the kidneys, ureter, and bladder. 
LABILITY -  emotional instability that may be precipitated by apparently mild stimuli. 
    LAMINECTOMY- an operation used to relieve pressure on the spinal cord, or used to examine the extent of damage to the cord. 
    LATERAL ANTERIOR DECOMPRESSION - surgical procedure to reduce pressure on the spinal cord by removing bone fragments. Some patients report dramatic functional improvement. It must be noted that medical success depends on patient selection since not all people qualify and not all benefit from this kind of surgery. Some conditions may worsen after surgery. 
    LATERAL - side
    LEARNING -  the process of acquiring knowledge or skill through study, practice or experience. 
    LEG BAG - external bag which is strapped to the leg for collection of urine. 
    LESIONS - any bruise, injury or wound . 
    LOCKED-IN SYNDROME - A condition resulting from interruption of motor pathways in the ventral pons, usually by infarction. This disconnection of the motor cells in the spinal cord from controlling signals issued by the brain leaves the person completely paralyzed and mute, but able to receive and understand sensory stimuli; communication may be possible by code using blinking, or movements of the jaw or eyes, all of which are spared. 
    LONG TERM MEMORY -  an ability to easily recall feelings, events, ideas and other information which may have happened a long time ago. 
    LOWER MOTOR NEURONS - These nerve fibers originate in the spinal cord and travel out of the central nervous system to muscles in the body. An injury to these nerve cells can destroy reflexes and may also affect bowel, bladder and sexual function. 
    LOWER MOTOR NEURON LESIONS - Any damage to the lower motor neuron or its axon (peripheral nerve) that separates the lower motor neuron from control of its muscle fibers. This type of lesion leads to flaccidity and muscle atrophy. 
    LUMBAR - Pertaining to that area immediately below the thoracic spine; the strongest part of the spine, the lower back. 
MAJOR HEAD INJURY -  trauma to the brain resulting in loss of consciousness. Such head injuries frequently result from  due to penetration of the brain by a foreign object such as a bullet wound or a crushing blow.  However, the brain may sustain a major injury without a penetrating injury of the skull. 
    MEMORY -  the ability of the brain to retain and recall information. 
    MENTAL INFLEXIBILITY -  a rigidity in thinking which impairs the individual's ability to be objective and process new information; inability to appreciate alternatives. 
    MENTAL STATUS -  the degree of competency an individual displays when given standardized tests to determine intellectual, emotional, psychological and personality functions. 
    MENTAL STATUS EXAMINATIONS -  standardized tests which evaluate verbal responses and behavioral reactions; a procedure used to determine the mental competency of an individual. 
    MINOR HEAD INJURY -  trauma to the head regardless of severity that does not necessarily result in the loss of consciousness. Frequently called Concussion, Traumatic Brain Injury, and Closed Head Injury. 
    MOTOR NEURON - A nerve cell whose cell body is located in the brain and spinal cord and whose axons leave the central nervous system by way of cranial nerves or spinal roots. Motor neuron supply information to muscle. A motor unit is the combination of the motor neuron and the set of muscle fibers it innervates. 
    MORBIDITY -  an illness or abnormal condition or quality. 
    MOTIVATION -  the need or desire together with environmental stimuli that causes an individual to act. 
    MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) - A high tech diagnostic tool to display tissues unseen in 
X-rays or by other techniques. 
    MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS (MS) - A chronic disease of the central nervous system where myelin, the insulation on nerve fibers, is lost. MS is thought to be an autoimmune dysfunction in which the body turns on itself for some unknown reason. 
    MYELIN - A white, fatty insulating material for axons which produced in the peripheral nervous system by Schwann cells, and in the central nervous system by oligodendrocytes. Myelin is 
necessary for rapid signal transmission along nerve fibers, ten to one hundred times faster than in bare fibers lacking its insulation properties. Loss of myelin accompanies many central nervous system injuries and is the principal cause of multiple sclerosis. The process of remyelination is very important in spinal cord injury research. If this is possible in the body, as many researchers believe, it may be possible to return function to intact nerve fibers. Oligodendrocytes are apparently unable to provide myelin in the mature central nervous system. 
    MYELOGRAM - A diagnostic test in which an opaque liquid is injected into the spinal canal, producing an outline of it on X-rays or fluoroscope. Now somewhat outdated by modern imaging diagnostics.  Some dyes are suspected of causing additional neurological problems. 
  NASOGASTRIC TUBE (NG Tube) - tube that passes through the person's nose and throat and ends in the person's stomach. This tube allows for direct "tube feeding" to maintain the nutritional status of the person or removal of stomach acids. 
   NEOLOGISM - Nonsense or made-up word used when speaking. The person often does not realize that the word makes no sense. NEOLOGISM - Nonsense or made-up word used when speaking. The person often does not realize that the word makes no sense. 
    NERVE GROWTH FACTOR (NGF) - A "vitamin" for nerve cells. NGF, a protein, supports survival of embryonic neurons, and regulates neurotransmitters. NGF is one of several growth factors that have been identified in the central nervous system. It is theorized that these factors, including the much rarer BDNF (brain derived neurotrophic factor) and CNTF (ciliary neurotrophic factor) have important roles in regeneration. Exact knowledge of the role of growth factors continues to be a major area of neuroscience, and may lead to drugs that enhance growth of nerve tissue. 
    NEUROGENIC BLADDER - Any bladder disturbance due to an injury of the nervous system. 
    NEUROLOGICAL EXAMINATION -  an examination of he nervous system which includes an evaluation of mental Competency. 
    NEUROLOGIST - a physician who specializes in the nervous system and its disorders. 
    NEUROLYSIS - destruction of peripheral nerves by radio frequency, heat, cutting or by chemical injection. Used to treat spasticity. 
    NEURON - a nerve cell that can receive and send information by way of synaptic connections. 
NEUROPSYCHOLOGICAL ASSESSMENT -  an evaluation of the patient's brain functions relating to behavior; based on the results of standardized tests, history, present circumstances, attitudes and the expectations of the patient was well as the patient's behavior during the examination. 
    NEUROPSYCHOLOGICAL EXAMINATION - the process of administering standardized tests designed to demonstrate brain dysfunction and its effects on behavior. 
    NEUROTRANSMITTER - A chemical released from a neuron ending, at a synapse, to either excite or inhibit the adjacent neuron or muscle cell. Stored in vesicles near the synapse, the chemical is 
released when an impulse arrives. 
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