||D. Mortz Inspirational Award
| 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
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.
- 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
- 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.
- a key member of the rehab team uniquely qualified to diagnose and treat
visual disorders resulting from brain injury or defect.
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 -
- 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.
- an exaggerated, sometimes grandiose belief or suspicion, usually
not of a delusional nature, that one is being harassed, persecuted or treated
a drug injected into the penis to produce an erection which acts by increasing
- 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.
apathy; disinterest; listlessness.
the conscious recognition and interpretation of sensory stimuli through
association, especially memory. The basis for understanding, learning,
knowing and motivation.
- impaired mental activity such as cognitive processing, emotional
response, attention or memory. May result from diffuse brain injury.
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.
a state of being bewildered and concerned; a distrust of one's own ability
and a search for reassurance.
- 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.
IDENTITY - the intimate blend of heredity, experience
and environment which makes each of us unique.
- the unique blend of behavior and attitude by which we are recognized
- a variety of standardized tests used to evaluate areas of personality
structure, emotional status and behavioral traits.
a doctor whose specialty is physical medicine and rehabilitation.
(PT) - a member of the rehabilitation team. The PT examines, tests
and treats persons to enhance their maximum physical activity.
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
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
POST TRAUMATIC AMNESIA
- memory loss caused by brain damage or severe emotional injury.
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.
- using gravity to help the clear lungs of mucus by positioning the head
lower than chest.
- 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.
the condition of the patient before the onset of the present symptoms.
- relieving pressure from the ischial turberosities (bones on which we
sit) every 15 min. in order to prevent pressure sores.
- 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.
- ability of the individual to bring cognitive processes to the consideration
of how to accomplish a task.
the prospect as to recovery from a disease or injury as indicated by the
nature and symptoms of the case.
PRONE - lying
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
- 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.
- 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.
replacement device for a body part, for example an artificial limb.
PROXIMAL - next
to, or nearest, the point of attachment.
- mental illness.
the vital mental or spiritual entity of the individual.
- an emotional shock or distressful situation that produces a lasting
impression on the inner essence of an individual.
- originating in the mind; a physical symptom, disease or emotional
state that is of mental rather than physical origin.
- 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.
- standardized tests (utilizing paper and pencil) which measure mental
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.