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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. 
[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]
QUADRAPARESIS - partial loss of function all four (4) extremities of the body. 
    QUADRIPLEGIA - loss of function of any injured or diseased cervical spinal cord segment, affecting all four body limbs. Outside the U.S. the term tetraplegia is used (which is etymologically more 
accurate, combining tetra + plegia, both from the Greek, rather than quadri + plegia, a Latin/Greek amalgam). 
RAGE ATTACKS -  violent anger in the form of physical and verbal abuse.
    RANGE OF MOTION (ROM) - the normal range of movement of any body joint. Range of Motion also refers to exercises designed to maintain this range and prevent contractures. 
    REASONING -  the ability to think out logically. 
    RECIPROCATING GAIT ORTHOSIS (RGO) - a type of long leg brace used for ambulation by paralyzed people. Uses cables across the back to transfer energy from leg to leg, thereby simulating a more natural gait. 
   REFLEX - An involuntary response to a stimulus involving nerves not under control of the brain. In some types of paralysis, reflexes cannot be inhibited by the brain and they become exaggerated, thereby causing spasms. 
    REFLUX - a return or  backflow. 
    REGENERATION - in brain or spinal cord injury, regeneration is the regrowth of nerve fiber tissue by way of some as yet unknown biologic process. In the peripheral system, nerves do regenerate after damage, and reform functional connections. Regeneration researchers are confident central nerves can be induced to grow, provided the proper environment is created. The challenge remains to restore functional connections to effectively restore function. 
    REHABILITATION - a sequence of services built around the problems of a disabled individual and designed to restore optimum physical, psychological, social and vocational levels of function. 
    RELIGIOSITY -  a psychiatric symptom characterized by the demonstration of excessive or unnatural piety. 
    RESPITE CARE - a means for taking over the care of a person temporarily (for a few hours to a few days) to provide a period of relief for the primary caregiver. 
    RETROGRADE AMNESIA - inability to recall events prior to the accident; it may be a specific span of time or type of information. 
    REVIEW OF SYSTEMS -  a physical examination. 
    RIGIDITY -  stiffness or inflexibility. Mental rigidity is an inflexibility in thinking.
     ROSTRAL-CAUDAL -  Compound word.  Rostral meaning resembling a break, and caudal meaning tail. 
SEIZURE- an uncontrolled discharge of nerve cells which may spread to other cells nearby or throughout the entire brain. It usually lasts only a few minutes. It may be associated with loss of consciousness, loss of bowel and bladder control and tremors. May also cause aggression,  and  other behavioral changes.
    SELF AWARENESS -  the ability to know and understand one's self. 
    SELF CONCEPT -  the composite of ideas, feelings and attitudes that a person has about his own identity, worth, capabilities and limitations. 
    SELF MONITORING -  the ability to regulate, control and keep track of one's self. 
    SENSATION - feeling stimuli which activate sensory organs of the body such as touch, temperature, pressure or pain. Also seeing hearing, smelling and tasting. 
    SENSE OF SELF -  awareness of one's own identity, 
    SENSE OF SIGNIFICANCE -  a feeling of importance, of being meaningful. 
    SENSORY STIMULATION - arousing the brain through any of the senses. 
    SEQUELAE -  residual symptoms frequently observed following recovery from a physical condition, treatment or injury. 
   SEQUENCE - the order or occurance of related events
    SEQUENCING - reading, listening, expressing thoughts, describing events or contracting muscles in an orderly and meaningful manner. 
    SEXUAL HISTORY -  the part of the patient's personal history concerned with sexual functions. It may include the age the patient first engaged in sexual intercourse, the kind and frequency of sexual activity as well as the satisfaction the patient experiences. 
    SHEARING -  microscopic lesions in the brain caused when the movement of the brain within the skull puts strain on delicate nerve fibers and blood vessels causing them to stretch to the point of breaking. 
    SHELTERED WORKSHOP -  a facility or program that provides vocational experience in a controlled environment to personal with physical or mental disabilities. 
    SHUNT - a tube used to drain a cavity. In the spinal cord, a shunt is used to treat a syrinx by equalizing pressures between the syrinx and the spinal fluids. In spinal bifida, it is used to reduce 
pressure of hydrocephalus. 
    SITUATIONAL ANXIETY -  a feeling of apprehension, discomfort and dread which is precipitated by a new experience, or a change of situation or events. 
    SITUATIONAL DEPRESSION -  an episode of emotional and psychological depression that occurs in response to a specific set of circumstances. 
    SKULL -  the bony structure of the head and face. 
    SOCIAL DEPENDENCY -  reliance on someone else for help and support with regard to basic human needs. 
    SOCIAL SENSITIVITY -  adaptability to the expectations and standards of a group or society. 
    SOCIAL ISOLATION -  a feeling of aloneness experienced by the individual as a threatening state imposed by others; a sense of aloneness caused by the absence of family and friends; the absence of a supportive or significant personal relationship caused by the patient's unacceptable social behavior or social values, the inability to engage in social situations, immature interests, inappropriate attitudes for the developmental age of the individual, alterations in physical appearance, or mental status or illness. 
    SPACE BOOTS - plastic boots with foam linens worn on the feet when lying on your side. 
    SPASCITY - hyperactive muscles that move or jerk involuntarily. Spasms may be caused by bladder infections, skin ulcers, and any other sensory stimulus. Such uncontrolled muscle activity is caused by excessive reflex activity below the level of lesion. Some spasticity can be beneficial for circulation and muscle tone. If severe, though, spasms can interfere with normal activities, and can hasten contractions as muscles shorten. 
    SPEECH DYSFUNCTION -  a defect or abnormality of speech. 
    SPEECH PATHOLOGIST - a key  member of the rehab team. Directs, diagnoses, and conducts programs to improve communicative skills related to speech and language problems.
    SPHINCTEROTOMY - the cutting of the bladder sphincter muscle to eliminate spasticity and related voiding problems. A non-surgical sphincterotomy uses a chemical block to inactivate 
transmitter-release between sphincter nerve and muscle, gradually stopping contractions; it is also reversible. 
    SPINAL SHOCK - similar to a concussion in the brain, spinal shock causes the system shuts down. In spinal cord injury, shock causes immediate flaccid paralysis, which lasts about three or four weeks.  Improvement then occurs to a great extent, due to several possibilities: restoration of blood flow; synaptic reconnection; restoration of myelin integrity and axonal connection. 
    STIMULUS -  an internal or external event which generates nervous system activity or response. 
    SUBCORTICAL -  The region beneath the cerbral cortex. 
    SUBDURAL - beneath the dura (tough membrane) covering the brain and spinal cord. 
    SUBLUXATION - complete or partial dislocation (as in shoulder). 
    SYNAPSE - the specialized junction between a neuron and another neuron or muscle cell for transfer of information such as brain signals, sensory inputs, etc., along the nervous system. One neuron may have many synapses with other neurons. As an impulse traveling along a nerve fiber arrives at the pre-synaptic area, it releases a neurotransmitter. The transmitter travels across the synapse and binds with a receptor on the post-synaptic membrane of the other cell. 
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