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The Nervous System

Vocabulary

QuestionAnswer
absence seizure a small seizure in which there is a sudden, temporary loss of consciousness, lasting only a few seconds.
acetylcholine a chemical substance in the body tisssues that facilitates the transmission of nerve impulses from one nerve to another; it has a stimulant, or exciatory, effect on some parts of the body such as the skeletal muscles//also called a neurotransmitter.
afferent nerves transmit nerve impulses toward the cns; also known as sensory nerves.
agnosia loss of mental ability to understand sensory stimuli, such as sight, sound, or touch, even though the sensory organs themselves are functioning properly.
agraphia the inability to convert one's thoughts into writing.
alexia the inability to understand written words.
analgesia without sensitivity to pain.
anesthesia without feeling or sensation.
aneurysm a localized dilatation in the wall of an artery that expands with each pulsation of the artery; usually caused by hypertension or atherosclerosis.
aphasia inability to communicate through speech, writing, or signs because of an injury to or disease in certain areas of the brain.
apraxia inability to perform coordinated movements or use objects properly; not associated with sensory or motor impairment or paralysis.
arachnoid membrane the weblike, middle layer of the three membranous layers surrounding the brain and spinal cord.
astrocyte a star-shaped neuroglial cell found in the cns
astrocytoma a tumor of the brain or spinal cord composed of astrocytes.
ataxia without muscular coordination
aura the sensation an individual experiences prior to the onset of a migraine headeache or an epileptic seizure; it may be a sensation of light or warmth and may precede the attack by hours or only a few seconds.
autonomic nervous system the part of the nervous system that regulates the involuntary vital functions fo the body, such as the activities involving the heart muscle, smooth muscles, and the glands. 2 divisions: sympathetic and the parasympathetic nervous systems.
axon the part of the nerve cell that transports nerve impulses away from the nerve cell body.
blood-brain barrier a protective characteristic of the capillary walls of the brain that prevents the passage of harmful substances from the bloodstream into the brain tissue or cerebrospinal fluid.
bradykinesia abnormally slow movement.
brain stem the stemlike portion of the brain that connects the cerebral hemisphere with spinal cord. The brain stem contains the midbrain, the pons, and the medulla oblongata.
brudzinski's sign a positive sign of meningitis, in which there is an involuntary flexion of the arm, hip, and knee when the patient's neck is passively flexed.
burr hole a hole drilled into the skull using a form of drill.
cauda equina the lower end of the spinal cord and the roots of the spinal nerves that occupy the spinal canal below the level of the first lumbar vertebra; so named because it resembles a horse's tail.
causalgia a sensation of an acute burning pain along the path of a peripheral nerve, sometimes accompanied by erythema of the skin; due to injury to peripheral nerve fibers.
cell body the part of the cell that contains the nucleus and the cytoplasm.
central nervous system one of the two main divisions of the nervous system, consisting of the brain and the spinal cord.
cephalalgia pain in the head; headache
cerebellum the part of thee brain responsible for coordinating voluntary muscular movement; located behind the brain stem.
cerebral concussion a brief interruption of brain function, usually with a loss of consciousness lasting for a few seconds. This transient loss of consciousness is usually caused by blunt trauma (a blow) to the head.
cerebral contusion the thin outer layer of nerve tissue, known as gray matter, that covers the surface of the cerebrum.
cerebrospinal fluid the fluid flowing through the brain and around the spinal cord that protects them from physical blow or impact.
cerebrum the largest and uppermost part of the brain; it controls consciousness, memory, sensations, emotions, and voluntary movements.
cheyne-stokes respirations an abnormal pattern of breathing characterized by periods of apnea followed by deep, rapid breathing.
coma a deep sleep in which the individual cannot be aroused and does not respond to external stimuli.
comatose pertains to being in a coma.
contracture a permanent shortening of a muscle causing a joint to remain in an abnormally flexed position, with resultant physical deformity.
convolution one of the many elevated folds of the surface of the cerebrum; also called a gyrus.
craniotomy a surgical inscision into the cranium or skull.
deficit any deficiency or variation of the normal, as in a weakness deficit resulting from a cerebrovascular accident.
dementia a progressive, irreversible mental disorder in which the person has deteriorating memory, judgment, and ability to think.
demyelination destruction or removal of the myelin sheath that covers a nerve or nerve fiber.
dendrite a projectin that extends from the nerve cell body; it receives impulses and conducts them on to the cell body.
diencephalon the part fo the brain that is located between the cerebrum and the midbrain. Its main structures consist of the thalamus, hypothalamus, and pineal gland.
diplopia double vision; also called ambiopia
dura mater the outermost of the three membranes (meninges) surrounding the brain and spinal cord.
dyslexia a condition characterized by an impairment of the ability to read; letters and words are often reversed when reading.
dysphasia difficult speech
efferent nerves transmit nerve impulses away from the central nervous system; also known as motor nerves.
embolism an abnormal condition in which a blood clot (embolus) becomes lodged in a blood vessel, obstructing the flow of blood within the vessel.
epidural space the space immediately outside of the dura mater that contains a supporting cushion of fat and other connective tissues.
epilepsy a neruological condition characterized by recurrent episodes of sudden brief attacks of seizures; the seizure may vary from mild and unnoticeable to full-scale convulsive seizures.
fissure a deep groove on the surface of an organ.
fontanelle a space covered by tough membrane between the bones on an infant's cranium, called a "soft spot"
gait the style of walking
ganglion a knotlike mass of nerve tissue found outside the brain or spinal cord
gray matter the part of the nervous system consisting of axons that are not covered with myelin sheath, giving a gray appearance.
gyrus one of the many elevated folds of the surface of the cerebrum; also called convolution
hemiparesis slight of partial paralysis of one half of the body.
hemiplegia paralysis of one half of the body.
herpes zoster an acute infection caused by the same virus that causes chickenpox, characterized by painful vesicular lesions along the path of a spinal nerve; also called shingles.
hyperesthesia excessive sensitivity to sensory stimuli, such as pain or touch.
hyperkinesis excessive muscular movement and physical activity; hyperactivity.
hypothalamus a part of the brain located below the thalamus that controls many functions such as body temperature, sleep, and appetite.
interneurons connecting nerouns that conduct impulses from afferent nerves to or toward motor nerves.
kernig's sign a diagnositc sign for meningitis marked by the person's inability to extend the lef completely when the thigh is flexed upon the abdomen and the person is sitting or lying down.
kinesiology the study of muscle movement.
lethargy a state of being sluggish
longitudinal fissure a deep groove in the middle of the cerebrum that divides the cerebrum into the right and left hemispheres.
medulla oblongata one of the three parts of the brain stem. the medulla oblongata is the most essential part of the brain in that it contains the cardiac, vasomotor, and respiratory centers of the brain.
meninges the three layers of protective membranes that surround the brain and spinal cord.
microglia small, neroglial cells found in the interstitial tissue of the nervous system that engulf cellular debris, wast products, and pathogens within the nerve tissue.
midbrain the uppermost part of the brain stem
mole a pigmented blemish
motor nerves transmit nerve impulses away from the central nervous system; also known as efferent nerves
myelin sheath a protective sheath that covers the axons of many nerves in the body; it acts as an electrical insulator and helps to speed the conduction of nerve impulses.
narcolepsy uncontrolled, sudden attacks of sleep
nerve a cordlike bundle of nerve fibers that transmit impulses to and from the brain and spinal cord to other parts of the body; macroscopic (able to be seen without the aid of a microscope)
nerve block the injection of a local anesthetic along the course of a nerve or nerves to eliminate sensation ot the area supplied by the nerve(s); also called conduction anesthesia.
neuritis inflammation of a nerve.
neuroglia the supporting tissue of the nervous system.
neurology the study of the nervous system and its disorders
neurologist a physician who specializes in treating the diseases and disorders of the nervous system.
neuron a nerve cell.
neurosurgeon a physician who specializes in surgery of the nervous system.
neurosurgery any surgery involving the nervous system (i.e., of the brain, spinal cord, or peripheral nerves).
neurotransmitter a chemical substance within the body that activates or inhibits the transmission of nerve impulses between synapses.
nevus a pigmented blemish; mole
nuchal rigidity rigidity of the neck; the neck is resistant to flexion. this condition is seen in patients with meningitis.
occlusion blockage.
oligodendrocytes a type of neurological cell found in the interstitial tissue of the nervous system; its dendrite projections coil around the axons of many nerons to form the myelin sheath.
palliative soothing
paraplegia paralysis of the lower extremities and trunk, usually due to spinal cord injuries
parasympathetic nerves nerves of the autonomic nervous system that regulate involuntary, essential body functions such as slowing the heart rate, increasing peristalsis of the intestines, increasing glandular secretions, and relaxing sphincters.
parasympathomimetic copying or producing the same effects as those of the parasympathetic nerves; "to mimic" the parasympathetic nerves.
paresthesia a sensation of numbness or tingling.
peripheral nervous system the part of the nervous system outside the cns consisting of twelve pairs of cranial nerves and thirty-one pairs of spinal nerves.
phagocytosis the process by which certain cells engulf and destroy microorganisms and cellular debris.
pia mater the innermost of the three membranes (meninges) surrounding the brain and spinal cord.
pineal body a small cone-shaped structure located in the diencephalon of the brain; thought to be involved in regulating the body's biological clock; produces melatonin; also called the pineal gland.
pineal gland a small cone-shaped structure located in the diencephalon of the brain; though to be involved in regulating the body's biological clock; produces melatonin; also called the pineal body
plexus a network of interwoven nerves.
pons the part of the brain that is located between the medulla oblongata and the midbrain; it acts as a bridge to connect the medulla oblongata and the cerebellum to the upper portions of the brain.
quadriplegia paralysis of all four extremities and the trunk of the body; caused by injury to the spinal cord at the level of the cervical vertebrae.
radiculotomy the surgical resection a spinal nerve root; a procedure performed to relieve pain. Also called a rhizotomy
receptor a sensory nerve ending (i.e., a nerve ending that receives impulses and responds to various kinds of stimulation).
sciatica inflammation of the sciatic nerve; characterized by pain along the course of the nerve, radiating through the thigh and down the back of the leg.
sensory pertaining to sensation
sensory nerves transmit nerve impulses toward the central nervous system; also known as afferent nerves.
shingles an acute infection caused by the same virus that causes chickenpox, characterized by painful vesicular lesisons alson the path of a spinal nerve; also called herpes zoster.
shunt a tube or passage that diverts or redirects body fluid from one cavity or vessel to another; may be a congenital defect or may be artificially constructed for the purpose of redirecting fluid, as a ______ used in hydrocephalus.
somatic nervous system the part of the peripheral nervous system that provides voluntary control over skeletal muscle contractions.
stimulus any agent or factor capable of initiating a nerve impulse.
stupor a state of lethargy; the person is unresponsive and seems unaware of his or her surroundings.
subarachnoid space the space located just under the arachnoid membrane that contains cerebrospinal fluid.
subdural space the space located just beneath the dura mater tha contains serous fluid.
sulcus a depression or shallow froove on the surface of an organ; as a sulcus that separates any of the convolutions of the cerebral hemispheres.
sympathetic nerves nerves of the autonomic nervous system that regulate involuntary, essential body functions such as increasing the heart rate, constriciting blood vessels, and raising the blood pressure.
sympathomimetic copying or producing the same effects as those of the sympatheitic nerves; "to mimic" the sympathetic nerves.
synapse the space between the end of one nerve and the beginning another, through which nerve impulses are transmitted.
syncope fainting.
thalamus the part of the brain located betweent the cerebral hemispheres and the midbrain; the thalamus receives all sensory stimuli, except those of smell, and relays them on to the cerebral cortex.
thrombosis an abnormal condition in which a clot develops in a blood vessel.
tonic-clonic seizure a seizure characterized by the presence of muscle contraction or tension followed by relaxation, creating a "jerking" movement of the body.
ventricle, brain a small hollow within the brain that is filled with cerebrospinal fluid.
whiplash an injury to the cervical vertebrae and their supporting structures due to a sudden back-and-forth, jerking movement of the head and neck. Whiplash may occur as a result of an automobile being stuck suddenly from the rear.
white matter the part of the nervous system consisting of axons that are covered with myelin sheath, giving a white appearance.
Created by: savvyvannah