||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
- partial loss of function all four (4) extremities of the body.
- 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).
ATTACKS - violent anger in the form of physical and
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.
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
- 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.
- 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.
- a psychiatric symptom characterized by the demonstration of excessive
or unnatural piety.
- 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.
- 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.
stiffness or inflexibility. Mental rigidity is an inflexibility in thinking.
- Compound word. Rostral meaning resembling a break, and caudal
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
AWARENESS - the ability to know and understand one's
CONCEPT - the composite of ideas, feelings and attitudes
that a person has about his own identity, worth, capabilities and limitations.
MONITORING - the ability to regulate, control and
keep track of one's self.
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.
- arousing the brain through any of the senses.
- residual symptoms frequently observed following recovery from a
physical condition, treatment or injury.
- the order or occurance of related events
reading, listening, expressing thoughts, describing events or contracting
muscles in an orderly and meaningful manner.
- 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
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.
- a facility or program that provides vocational experience in a
controlled environment to personal with physical or mental disabilities.
- 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.
- a feeling of apprehension, discomfort and dread which is precipitated
by a new experience, or a change of situation or events.
- an episode of emotional and psychological depression that occurs
in response to a specific set of circumstances.
the bony structure of the head and face.
- reliance on someone else for help and support with regard to basic
- adaptability to the expectations and standards of a group or society.
- 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.
- 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.
DYSFUNCTION - a defect or abnormality of speech.
- a key member of the rehab team. Directs, diagnoses, and conducts
programs to improve communicative skills related to speech and language
- 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.
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
an internal or external event which generates nervous system activity or
- The region beneath the cerbral cortex.
SUBDURAL - beneath
the dura (tough membrane) covering the brain and spinal cord.
- 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