||D. Mortz Inspirational Award
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
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.
the ability to form a correct conclusion based on knowledge and experience.
- an x-ray of the abdomen, showing the kidneys, ureter, and bladder.
emotional instability that may be precipitated by apparently mild stimuli.
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
the process of acquiring knowledge or skill through study, practice or
LEG BAG - external
bag which is strapped to the leg for collection of urine.
LESIONS - any
bruise, injury or wound .
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
LONG TERM MEMORY
- an ability to easily recall feelings, events, ideas and other information
which may have happened a long time ago.
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.
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.
- the ability of the brain to retain and recall information.
- a rigidity in thinking which impairs the individual's ability to
be objective and process new information; inability to appreciate alternatives.
- the degree of competency an individual displays when given standardized
tests to determine intellectual, emotional, psychological and personality
MENTAL STATUS EXAMINATIONS
- standardized tests which evaluate verbal responses and behavioral
reactions; a procedure used to determine the mental competency of an individual.
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.
- 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
an illness or abnormal condition or quality.
the need or desire together with environmental stimuli that causes an individual
Resonance Imaging) - A high tech diagnostic tool to display tissues unseen
X-rays or by other techniques.
(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.
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.
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.
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.
- 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.
- Any bladder disturbance due to an injury of the nervous system.
- an examination of he nervous system which includes an evaluation
of mental Competency.
- a physician who specializes in the nervous system and its disorders.
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.
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.
- the process of administering standardized tests designed to demonstrate
brain dysfunction and its effects on behavior.
- 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.