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anesthesiology Branch of medicine specializing in all aspects of anesthesia, including for surgical procedures, resuscitation measures, & management of acute & chronic pain. Physician is an anesthesiologist.
aura Sensations, such as seeing colors or smelling unusual odor, that occur just prior to an epileptic seizure or migraine headache.
coma Profound unconsciousness or stupor resulting from an illness or injury.
conscious Condition of being awake and aware of surroundings.
convulsion Severe involuntary muscle contractions and relaxations. These have a variety of causes, such as epilepsy, fever, and toxic conditions.
delirium Abnormal mental state characterized by confusion, disorientation, and agitation.
dementia Progressive impairment of intellectual function that interferes w/performing activities of daily living. Patients have little awareness of their condition. Found in disorders such as Alzheimer's.
focal seizure Localized seizure often affecting one limb.
hemiparesis Weakness or loss of motion on one side of the body.
hemiplegia Paralysis on only one side of the body.
neurology Branch of medicine concerned with diagnosis and treatment of diseases and conditions of the nervous system. Physician is a neurologist.
neurosurgery Branch of medicine concerned with treating diseases & conditions of the nervous systems by surgical means. Physician is a neurosurgeon.
palsy Temporary or permanent loss of the ability to control movement.
paralysis Temporary or permanent loss of function or voluntary movement.
paraplegia Paralysis of the lower portion of the body and both legs.
paresthesia Abnormal sensation such as burning or tingling.
seizure Sudden, uncontrollable onset of symptoms, such as an epileptic seizure.
syncope Fainting.
tremor Involuntary or repetitive alternating movement of a part of the body.
unconscious Condition or state of being unaware of surroundings, with the inability to respond to stimuli.
absence seizure Type of epileptic seizure that lasts only a few seconds to half a minute, characterized by loss of awareness and an absence of activity. Also called a petit mal seizure.
Alzheimer's disease Chronic, organic mental disorder consisting of dementia, which is more prevalent in adults between ages 40-60. Involves progressive disorientation, apathy, speech & gait disturbances, & loss of memory. Named for German neurologist Alois Alzheimer.
astrocytoma Tumor of the brain or spinal cord that is composed of astrocytes, one of the types of neuroglial cells.
brain tumor Intracranial mass, either benign or malignant. A benign tumor of the brain can still be fatal since it will grow and cause pressure on normal brain tissue.
cerebral aneurysm Localized abnormal dilation of a blood vessel, usually an artery; the result of a congenital defect or weakness in the wall of the vessel. A ruptured aneurysm is a common cause of hemorrhagic cerebrovascular accident.
cerebral contusion Bruising of the brain from a blow or impact. Symptoms last longer than 24 hours and include unconsciousness, dizziness, vomiting, unequal pupil size, and shock.
cerebral palsy Nonprogressive brain damage resulting from a defect, trauma, or oxygen deprivation at time of birth.
cerebrovascular accident (CVA) Development of an infarct due to loss in the blood supply to an area of the brain. Blood flow can be interrupted by a ruptured blood vessel (hemorrhage), floating clot (embolus), stationary clot (thrombosis), or compression. Commonly called a stroke.
concussion Brain injury resulting from the brain being shaken inside the skull from a blow or impact. Can result in unconsciousness, dizziness, vomiting, unequal pupil size, & shock. Symptoms last 24 hrs or less.
epilepsy Recurrent disorder of the brain in which seizures & loss of consciousnes occur as a result of uncontrolled electrical activity of the neurons in the brain.
hydrocephalus Accumulation of cerebrospinal fluid within the ventricles of the brain, causing the head to be enlarged. It is treated by creating an artificial shunt for the fluid to leave the brain. If left untreated, may lead to seizures and mental retardation.
migraine Specific type of headache characterized by severe head pain, sensitivity to light, dizziness, and nausea.
Parkinson's disease Chronic disorder of the nervous system with fine tremors, muscular weakness, rigidity, and a shuffling gait. Named for British physician Sir James Parkinson.
Reye syndrome Combination of symptoms first recognized by Australian pathologist R.D.K. Reye that includes acute encephalopathy & damage to organs, especially the liver. Occurs in children under 15 who've had a viral infection. It's also associated w/taking aspirin.
tonic-clonic seizure Type of severe epileptic seizure characterized by loss of consciousness & convulsions. The seizure alternates between strong continuous muscle spasms (tonic) & rhythmic muscle contraction & relaxation (clonic). Also called grand mal seizure.
transient ischemic attack (TIA) Temporary interference w/blood supply to the brain, causing neurological symptoms such as dizziness, numbness, & hemiparesis. May lead to a full-blown stroke (cerebrovascular accident).
amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) Disease w/muscle weakness & atrophy due to degeneration of motor neurons of the spinal cord. Also called Lou Gehrig's disease, after the NY Yankees baseball player who died from the disease.
meningocele congenital condition in which the meninges protrude through an opening in the vertebral column. See spina bifida.
myelomeningocele Congenital condition in which the meninges & spinal cord protrude through an opening in the vertebral column.
poliomyelitis Viral inflammation of the gray matter of the spinal cord. Results in varying degrees of paralysis, may be mild & reversible or severe & permanent. This disease has been almost eliminated due to a discovery of a vaccine in the 1950s.
spina bifida Congenital defect in the walls of the spinal canal in which the laminae of the vertebra don't meet or close. May result in a meningocele or a myelomeningocele.
spinal cord injury Damage to the spinal cord as a result of trauma. Spinal cord may be bruised or completely severed.
Bell's palsy One-sided facial paralysis due to inflammation of the facial nerve, probably viral in nature. The patient can't control salivation, tearing of the eyes, or expression, but most likely will recover.
Guillain-Barre syndrome Disease in which nerves lose their myelin covering. May be caused by an autoimmune action. Characterized by lack of sensation and/or muscle control, starting in the legs. Symptoms then move toward the trunk & may result in paralysis of the diaphragm.
multiple sclerosis Inflammatory disease of the central nervous system in which there is extreme weakness & numbness due to loss of myelin insulation from nerves.
myasthenia gravis disease with severe muscular weakness and fatigue due to insufficient neurotransmitter at a synapse.
shingles eruption of painful blisters on the body along a nerve path. Thought to be caused by Herpes zoster virus infection of the nerve root.
epidural hematoma Mass of blood in the space outside the dura mater of the brain and spinal cord.
subdural hematoma Mass of blood forming beneath the dura mater if the meninges are torn by trauma. May exert fatal pressure on the brain if the hematoma isn't drained by surgery.
cerebrospinal fluid analysis Lab examination of the clear, watery, colorless fluid from within the brain and spinal cord. Infections and the abnormal presence of blood can be detected in this test.
brain scan Image of the brain taken after injection of radioactive isotopes into the circulation.
cerebral angiography X-ray of the blood vessels of the brain after the injection of radiopaque dye.
echoencephalography Recording of the ultrasonic echoes of the brain. Useful in determining abnormal patterns of shifting in the brain.
myelography Injection of radiopaque dye into the spinal canal. An X-ray is then taken to examine the normal and abnormal outlines made by the dye.
positron emission tomography (PET) Use of positive radionuclides to reconstruct brain sections. Measurement can be taken of oxygen & glucose uptake, cerebral blood flow, & blood volume. The amt of glucose the brain uses indicates how metabolically active the tissue is.
Babinski reflex Reflex test developed by French neurologist Joseph Babinski to determine nervous system lesions & abnormalities. The Babinski reflex is present if the great toe extends instead of the normal flexion when the lateral sole of the foot is stroked.
electroencephalography Recording of the electrical activity of the brain by placing electrodes at various positions on the scalp. Also used in sleep studies to determine if there is a normal pattern of activity during sleep.
lumbar puncture Puncture with a needle into the lumbar area (usually the 4th intervertebral space) to withdraw fluid for examination & for the injection of anesthesia. Also called spinal puncture or spinal tap.
nerve conduction velocity Test that measures how fast an impulse travels along a nerve. Can pinpoint an area of nerve damage.
nerve block Injection of regional anesthetic to stop the passage of sensory or pain impulses along a nerve path.
carotid endarterectomy Surgical procedure for removing an obstruction within the carotid artery, a major artery in the neck that carries oxygenated blood to the brain. Developed to prevent strokes, but is found to be useful only in severe stenosis w/transient ischemic attack.
cerebrospinal fluid shunts Surgical procedure in which a bypass is created to drain cerebrospinal fluid. Used to treat hydrocephalus by draining the excess cerebrospinal fluid from the brain & diverting it to the abdominal cavity.
laminectomy Removal of a portion of a vertebra in order to relieve pressure on the spinal nerve.
tractotomy Surgical interruption of a nerve tract in the spinal cord. Used to treat intractable pain or muscle spasms.
analgesic Non-narcotic medication to treat minor to moderate pain. Includes aspirin, acetaminophen, and ibuprofen.
anesthetic Drug that produces a loss of sensation or consciousness.Lidocaine, propofol, Novocain.
anticonvulsant Substance that reduces the excitability of neurons & therefore prevents the uncontrolled neuron activity associated w/seizures. Tegretol, Nembutal.
dopaminergic drugs Group of medications to treat Parkinson's disease by either replacing the dopamine that is lacking or increasing the strength of the dopamine that is present. L-dopa, Sinemet.
hypnotic Drug that promotes sleep. Seconal, Restoril.
narcotic analgesic Drug used to treat severe pain; has the potential to be habit-forming if taking for a prolonged time. Opiates. Morphine, Demerol.
sedative Drug that has a calming or relaxing effect. Amytal, Butisol.
ALS amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
ANS autonomic nervous system
CNS central nervous system
CP cerebral palsy
CSF cerebrospinal fluid
CVA cerebrovascular accident
CVD cerebrovascular disease
EEG electroencephalogram, electroencephalography
HA headache
ICP intracranial pressure
LP lumbar puncture
MS multiple sclerosis
PET positron emission tomography
PNS peripheral nervous system
SCI spinal cord injury
TIA transient ischemic attack
Created by: AltheaMathews