Neurological terms are often complicated and difficult to understand. The following glossary defines a variety of terms to help you understand neurological terminology:
Loss of will, impulse, and decision-making ability.
Inability to do the most simple calculations.
A traditional Chinese system of healing in which symptoms are relieved by having thin metal needles inserted into selected points beneath the skin. The needles may be stimulated either by rotation or by an electric current and are then removed. If in any doubt about your condition, you should consult your doctor.
The critical stage of stroke, starting at the onset of symptoms and lasting until the patient's condition is stabilised and they enter recovery
Tremor that appears during movement of the affected body part
Modifications to the built environment designed to assist access, mobility and self reliance; such as ramps, rails, roll-in showers and stair lifts.
Activities of Daily Living. The routine tasks that we all have to perform to live independently, such as washing, dressing, using the toilet, bathing, walking and climbing stairs.
Sensory pathway proceeding toward the CNS from the peripheral receptor organs
Ankle Foot Orthosis. A brace used to stretch the Achilles tendon. This is usually made of thin, light plastic material, which the orthosis is individually moulded and will require replacement as the child grows.
Inability to recognise objects or sounds due to lack of perceptive capacity, although general intelligence is normal.
- Auditory agnosia, where the person's hearing is normal but he is unable to understand what words mean.
- Finger agnosia (sometimes used as a test for cerebral palsy), where a person is unable to identify individual fingers when, for example, they are touched by another person
- Tactile agnosia, where a person is unable to identify familiar objects by touch alone although he is aware that he is touching something.
- Visual agnosia, where a person is able to see but unable to express ideas in words.
A specific defect to brain function which leads to:
- Expressive aphasia, when a person is unable to express ideas in words.
- Receptive aphasia, when a person is unable to understand spoken language.
Inability to express thoughts in writing or by drawing.
Paucity of movement
Disorder of consciousness characterized by periods of sleep and periods of wakefulness during which the patient lies with eyes open but is unresponsive, mute, and immobile; often due to frontal lobe damage.
Inability to read, usually due to a lesion of dominant occipitotemporal cortex
Alien hand syndrome
Syndrome characterized by the involuntary movement of a single upper limb in conjunction with the experience of estrangement from or personification of the movements of the limb; often seen in corticobasal degeneration
Condition in which an ordinarily painless stimulus is experienced as being painful
Alpha motor neurons
Large motor neurons that innervate extrafusal skeletal muscle fibers
Inability to read.
Most common cause of dementia in older adults; a neurodegenerative disease characterized by the gradual loss of cognitive ability in association with the neuropathological findings of abnormal protein aggregates (neuritic plaques and neurofibrillary tangles) and neuron loss in the cerebral cortex
A temporary loss of vision in one eye due to a blood clot blocking the flow of blood to the eye. There is complete recovery within 24 hours.
Developmental abnormality in which a child fails to develop sharp visual acuity
Able to walk.
Loss of memory.
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
(Lou Gehrig's disease) inexorably progressive and fatal disease of unknown cause characterized by slowly progressive degeneration of upper and lower motor neurons
Loss of pain sensation
CNS malformation involving failure of closure of the cephalic end of the neural tube
Aneurysm (brain aneurysm
Inability to name objects or to recognize written or spoken names of objects
Loss of sense
Lack of oxygen to the brain or other vital organs
Anterior cerebral artery
A branch of the internal carotid artery; supplies blood to the medial aspect of the cerebral cortex (leg area predominant)
One of the three major groups of commissural fibers that courses through the basal ganglia and cross the midline in the anterior forebrain to interconnect the olfactory bulbs
Anterior communicating artery
Branch of the internal carotid artery that joins together the paired anterior cerebral arteries
Anterior cord syndrome
Spinal cord injury syndrome associated with damage to the anterior 2/3 of the spinal cord
Anterior cranial fossa
Portion of the internal base of the skull housing the frontal lobes
Anterior horn (ventral horn)
Gray matter in the front of the spinal cord that contains motor_neurons
Form of cortical blindness in which the patient is unaware of/denies the visual impairment; due to a lesion of the occipital lobe extending from primary visual cortex into visual association cortex
Inability to use language. It can either be a problem understanding language (receptive) or speaking it (expressive). People are often affected by both sorts. See: Dysphasia.
Inability to speak words despite being able to make other sounds
Complete loss of voice
An inability to perform purposeful movements
The inability to control and co-ordinate movements or carry out complex tasks when requested
Middle layer of the meninges covering the brain and spinal cord
Arachnoid granulations (arachnoid villi)
Branched tufts of arachnoid that project through the dura mater into the venous sinuses and function to return CSF to the systemic circulation
Diverticula of the arachnoid mater in the subarachnoid space that extend into the veins and venous sinuses of the dura; a major pathway for the drainage of cerebrospinal fluid and transport across the endothelium into the blood.
Active Range of Movement.
A therapy which employs aromatic plant-derived essential oils
Pathway connecting Wernicke's area in the posterior left superior temporal gyrus to Broca's area in the left inferior frontal lobe; lesion results in impaired repetition
Chemoreceptor trigger zone for vomiting that is located on the dorsal surface of the medulla
Pupil exhibiting light-near dissociation due to a lesion in the midbrain periaqueductal gray matter caused by tertiary syphilis
Abrupt change from sleep to wakefulness
A tangled collection of abnormal arteries and veins Click here for more information from the National Institute for Neurological Disorders and Stroke
Inflammation of an artery
Nystagmus induced by passive rotation of the arm of a stationary subject seated in total darkness inside a rotating drum
Ascending tract of Deiters
Direct pathway (lying just lateral to the medial longitudinal fasciculus) from the vestibular nuclei to the ipsilateral medial rectus subnucleus; clinical significance of this pathway is unclear
Syndrome characterized by headache
Movements of body parts other than the ones that are intended to move
Cortical areas involved in higher order processing of sensory information and integration of multiple sensory and sensorimotor modalities
Inability to stand because of motor incoordination
Functional stance and gait characterized by bizarre movements
Inability to recognise objects by touch.
Sudden palmar flapping movement of the hands at the wrists; indicative of metabolic encephalopathy
CNS glia that function to orient neuroblast migration in the cerebral and cerebellar hemispheres
Most common central nervous system tumor derived from astrocytes
Reaction of astrocytes to neuronal injury characterized by an increase in the number and size of astrocytes (primary reaction) and cytoplasmic changes including increased glial filaments and glassy eosinophilic cytoplasm followed by formation of a dense gliotic scar (secondary reaction)
Difference between two similar parts.
Lack of balance and uncoordinated movement.
Loss of muscle tone
Atonic seizure (drop attack)
Generalized seizure characterized by sudden loss of muscle tone and strength; may cause the head to drop suddenly
The length of time a person is able to concentrate on a given task.
Inability to sustain concentration because of competing stimuli or thoughts.
The term used to indicate a particular sort of uncontrollable movement and result from a particular brain lesion. It is present in the 'athetoid' type of cerebral palsy.
Asymmetrical tonic neck reaction. When the face is turned to one side
Failure to recognise specific sounds
Pertaining to the autonomic nervous system
Autonomic nervous system
Part of the peripheral nervous system that regulates visceral function and homeostasis independent of voluntary control.
Physiological process by which blood vessels change caliber to maintain constant cerebral blood flow over a wide range of cerebral perfusion pressures.
Transverse plane producing a cross-section of the body or head.
The bones of the skull
Neuropathic process resulting in degeneration of the axon and its myelin sheath; preferentially involves the distal portion of the axon.
Stereotypic axonal response to injury consisting of marked swelling due to accumulation of materials undergoing axonal transport.