Home  |   Tool Kit  |   Library   |  Sponsor   |   Help Us   |   Contact Us

Services & Resources on this site reflect the best practices in the field of Traumatic Brain Injury

get all you need & more:  experience higher standards in brain trauma services -- 206-621-8558 

Copyright © 1998 Head Injury Hotline
TBI Glossary "O - P"

Learn About Brain Injury
Brain Injury Types
Brain Injury Facts
Brain Injury Checklist
Brain Injury Emergency
Brain Injury Glossary
Brain Injury Treatment
Patients Perspective
Brain Injury Costs
Brain Injury FAQ
Spinal Cord Injury
Concussion FAQ
Concussion in Sports
Head Gear
Brain Map
Pain Map
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
Donate a car 
get a tax 
Brain Injury Publications
Brain Injury Journals

D. Mortz Inspirational Award
est. 2002

Life after brain injury
Getting Started
Essential Skills
Personal Safety Net
Self Assessment
When I Grow up
Daily Journal
Time Management
Loss Self
Found Self
Pop Quiz
Memory Survey
Memory Strategies
Life Events Inventory
Wellness Inventory

Support Groups
Family & Child Resources
Caregiver Resources
Brain Injury Links
Disability Income
Education Resources
Health Resources
N.W. Resources
Government Resources
Addiction Services
Assistive Devices
Medical Transit
Personal Mobility
Service Animals
Respite Services
Doctors & Rehab Facilities
A Few Good Doctors
Doctor Checklist
Rehab Facilities
Rehab Finder
Rehab Checklist


   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]
OCCUPATIONAL THERAPIST (OT) - the member of the rehabilitation team who helps maximize a person's independence. OTs teach daily living activities, health maintenance and self care, and consult on equipment choices. 
    OLIGODENDROCYTE - a central nervous system glial cell. Oligodendrocytes are the site of myelin manufacture for central nervous system neurons (the job of Schwann cells in the peripheral nervous system). A myelin protein from oligodendrocytes is known to be a potent inhibitor of nerve growth. 
    OMENTUM - well vascularized tissue of the gut. Some claim benefits by transposing omentum to the injury site on the spinal cord to reduce swelling and increase blood flow. 
    OSTEOPOROSIS - loss of bone density, common in immobile bones. 
   OPEN HEAD INJURY -  trauma to the brain resulting in loss of consciousness due to the penetration of the brain by a foreign object such as a bullet. Also called Major Head Injury, Acute Head Injury, or Severe Head Injury. 
     OPOTMETRIST - a key member of the rehab team uniquely qualified to diagnose and treat visual disorders resulting from brain injury or defect. 
  PARALYTIC ILEUS - loss of movement in the small intestine, resulting in gas and fluid build-up. It usually lasts a few days after injury. 
    PARALYTIC FISTULA - Paralysis 
    PARAPLEGIA - loss of function below the cervical spinal cord segments, wherein the upper body retains most function and sensation. Paraplegia results in paralysis of the lower limbs; however, the degree of loss depends on the level of spinal cord lesion. 
    PARANOID IDEATION -  an exaggerated, sometimes grandiose belief or suspicion, usually not of a delusional nature, that one is being harassed, persecuted or treated unfairly. 
    PAPAVARINE - a drug injected into the penis to produce an erection which acts by increasing blood flow. 
    PARIETAL LOBE - one of the two parietal lobes of the brain located behind the frontal lobe at the top of the brain. 
    PARIETAL LOBE, RIGHT - damage of this area can cause visuo-spatial deficits (e.g., the person may have difficulty finding their way around new or familiar places). 
    PARIETAL LOBE, LEFT - damage to this area may disrupt a person's ability to understand spoken and/or written language. 
    PASSIVITY - apathy; disinterest; listlessness. 
    PERCEPTION -  the conscious recognition and interpretation of sensory stimuli through association, especially memory. The basis for understanding, learning, knowing and motivation. 
    PERCEPTUAL DEFICITS -  impaired mental activity such as cognitive processing, emotional response, attention or memory. May result from diffuse brain injury. 
    PERCUSSION - forceful tapping on congested parts of the chest to facilitate postural drainage in persons with people with high level tetraplegia. 
    PERIPHERAL NERVOUS SYSTEM - nerves outside the spinal cord and brain (not part of the central nervous system). If damaged, peripheral nerves have the ability to regenerate. 
    PERPLEXITY -  a state of being bewildered and concerned; a distrust of one's own ability and a search for reassurance. 
    PERSEVERATION -  repetition of the same verbal response or motor activity regardless of the stimuli or its duration; persistence at a task that prevents the individual from turning his attention to new situations. A symptom of traumatic brain injury indicating difficulty in regulating behavior in response to rapidly changing demands. 
    PERSONAL IDENTITY -  the intimate blend of heredity, experience and environment which makes each of us unique. 
    PERSONALITY -  the unique blend of behavior and attitude by which we are recognized as individuals. 
    PERSONALITY TESTS -  a variety of standardized tests used to evaluate areas of personality structure, emotional status and behavioral traits. 
    PHYSIATRIST- a doctor whose specialty is physical medicine and rehabilitation. 
    PHYSICAL THERAPIST (PT) - a  member of the rehabilitation team. The PT examines, tests and treats persons to enhance their maximum physical activity. 
    PLASTICITY - long-term adaptive mechanism by which the nervous system restores or modifies itself toward normal levels of function. The peripheral nervous system is quite plastic, while the central nervous system was long thought to be "wired" permanently, lacking plasticity. It is known now that the central nervous system reorganizes or forms new synapses in response to injury. In lower species (including some kinds of songbirds), it has been shown that the central nervous system can actually create new nerve cells in animal adults. 
    POST CONCUSSION SYNDROME-  a particular group of impairments that characterize the effects of injury on the brain and behavior. PCS include impairments in the ability to think, to do, and to know. PCS is characterized by diminished, self-awareness and diminished ability to benefit from experience. Other difficulties includes unreliable memory, rapid mood swings, poor concentration, headache, dizziness, hypersensitivity, depression and anxiety. 
    POSTERIOR - Back 
    POST TRAUMATIC AMNESIA -  memory loss caused by brain damage or severe emotional injury. 
    POST TRAUMATIC STRESS DISORDER - Not long ago,  post traumatic stress disorder, PTSD, used to be known as  "shell shock" or "battle fatigue."  The old terms were  popularized during World War II, and continued to be so until just recently.    Back then, PTSD was thought to affect only combat veterans.  Now, scientist know that, in fact, survivors of atrocities such as the Holocaust, torture, rape, domestic violence, child abuse, war, natural disasters, catastrophic illnesses, and  horrific accidents, are  susceptible to post traumatic stress disorder, PTSD.
    POSTURAL DRAINAGE - using gravity to help the clear lungs of mucus by positioning the head lower than chest. 
    POSTURAL HYPOTENSION - the reduction of blood pressure resulting in light-headedness. Due to changes in the autonomic nervous system of persons with spinal cord injury, blood vessels do not decrease in size in response to lowered blood pressure. The result is that blood pools up in legs or pelvic region. 
    PRE-MORBID - the condition of the patient before the onset of the present symptoms.
     PRESSURE RELEASE - relieving pressure from the ischial turberosities (bones on which we sit) every 15 min. in order to prevent pressure sores.
    PRESSURE SORE - also known as decubitus ulcer. A potentially dangerous skin breakdown due to pressure on skin resulting in infection, tissue death. Pressure sores usually occur over bony prominences and are subject to infection which may move to the bone. Skin sores are preventable. 
    PRIAPISM - a dangerous condition where the penis remains erect due to retention of blood. 
    PROBLEM-SOLVING - ability of the individual to bring cognitive processes to the consideration of how to accomplish a task. 
    PROGNOSIS - the prospect as to recovery from a disease or injury as indicated by the nature and symptoms of the case. 
    PRONE - lying on stomach. 
    PROGNOSIS -  a prediction of the probable outcome of a medial problem based on the condition of the patient and the usual course of the problem as observed in other individuals. 
     PROGRESS NOTES -  an account of each visit by the patient to the doctor describing the patient's condition and the treatment given or planned. Usually includes assessments of the patient's ability to perform activities of daily living and his acceptance and understanding of his condition or treatment. 
    PROPRIOCEPTION - the sensory awareness of the position of body parts with or without movement. Combination of kinesthesia and position sense. 
    PROSODY - the inflections or intonations of speech. 
    PROSTHESIS - replacement device for a body part, for example an artificial limb. 
    PROXIMAL - next to, or nearest, the point of attachment. 
    PSYCHIATRIC MORBIDITY -  mental illness. 
    PSYCHIC -  the vital mental or spiritual entity of the individual. 
    PSYCHIC TRAUMA -  an emotional shock or distressful situation that produces a lasting impression on the inner essence of an individual. 
    PSYCHOGENIC -  originating in the mind; a physical symptom, disease or emotional state that is of mental rather than physical origin. 
    PSYCHOLOGICAL EXAMINATION -  a group of standardized tests designed to measure an individual's intellectual capacity, motivation, perception, role behavior, values, level of anxiety, coping mechanisms, depression and general personality integration. 
    PSYCHOMETRIC INSTRUMENT - standardized tests (utilizing paper and pencil) which measure mental functioning. 
    PTOSIS - drooping of a body part, such as the upper eyelid, from paralysis, or drooping of the visceral organs from weakness of the abdominal muscles.

Head Injury Hotline:  ProvidingDifficult to Find Information About Head Injury Since 1985

Back to Topup arrow

Copyright © 1998 Head Injury Hotline