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Body System: NERVOUS




accessory nerve: Either of two cranial nerves which are important for swallowing, speech and some head and shoulder movements.

acrophobia: Fear of heights

acupuncture: Therapy for treating pain and disease by inserting needles along specific pathways or meridians.

AD: Alzheimer disease

ADD: attention deficit disorder

ADHD: attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder

adjustment disorders: Maladaptive reactions to a stressful event.

adrenergic fibers: Nerve fibers liberating catecholamines at a synapse after an impulse.

adrenergic neurons: Neurons whose primary neurotransmitter is epinephrine.

affect: The emotional reaction to an experience or thought.

agnosia: The inability to comprehend or recognize the importance of various forms of stimulation.

-agra: severe pain

agraphia: Inability to write due to a cerebral injury or less commonly, due to emotional factors.

akinetic mutism: A syndrome characterized by a silent and inert state without voluntary motor activity despite alertness.

alexia: Inability to read despite preservation of the ability to write. The patient cannot recognize letters and words.

-algesia: pain

alprazolam: A compound used to treat anxiety.

Alzheimer disease: Type of dementia that causes problems with memory, thinking, and behavior.

amnesia: Loss of memory due to brain injury or emotional trauma.

amphetamine: A powerful group of drugs that stimulate the central nervous system. Amphetamines reduce feelings of fatigue and increase alertness.

amyotrophic lateral sclerosis: A neurological disease causing muscle weakness and impacting physical function. Commonly called ALS.

analgesia: Without pain or decreased pain.

analgesics: A compound that relieves pain.

anesthesia: The loss of feeling or sensation, particularly pain.

anesthesiology: A specialty concerned with the study of anesthetics and anesthesia.

anesthetic: Medication that causes temporary loss of sensation.

anesthetics: Agents that are capable of inducing a total or partial loss of sensation, especially tactile sensation and pain. They may act generally or locally.

anger: A strong emotional feeling of displeasure aroused by being interfered with, injured or threatened.

anhedonia: Inability to experience happiness or pleasure. It is a symptom of many psychotic disorders.

anomia: An inability to name people and objects that are correctly comprehended.

anticonvulsants: Drugs used to prevent seizures or reduce their severity.

antidepressants: Drugs that prevent or relieve depression.

antidromic: Conducting nerve impulses in a direction opposite from normal.

antipsychotic: An agent used to control severe mental disorders.

antisocial : A personality disorder characterized by a disregard for individual rights or laws.

anxiety: Feeling or emotion of dread, apprehension, or fear without apparent stimulus.

apathy: Lack of emotion or emotional expression; disinterest.

aphasia: Impairment of language or speech comprehension.

apraxia: Disorders characterized by the inability to make skilled, purposeful movements due to a cerebral disease.

aptitude tests: Standardized tests designed to predict an individual's learning ability or performance.

aquaphobia: An irrational fear of water.

arachnoid: A delicate membrane covering the brain and spinal cord. It lies between the pia mater and the dura mater.

arachnoiditis: Acute or chronic inflammation of the arachnoid membrane, resulting in pain and neurological abnormalities.

arousal: A state of alertness due to stimulation.

asperger syndrome: A developmental disorder whose essential features are persistent impairment in reciprocal social interactions, and restricted, repetitive patterns of behavior, interests, or activities and impairment in language and communications skills.

assertiveness: Strongly insistent, self-assured behavior.

astr/o: star

astrocyte: A large, star shaped cell. Found throughout the central nervous system.

astrocytoma: A type of brain tumor.

atelo-: incomplete, imperfect

attention: Mentally focusing on a specific object, issue or activity. The act of concentrating.

autism: A group of developmental disabilities that can cause significant social, communication and behavioral problems.

autonomic: The ability to function without external influence.

autonomic nervous system: The part of the nervous system that regulates involuntary body functions. The enteric nervous system; parasympathetic nervous system; and sympathetic nervous system taken together.

autophagia: Biting or eating one's own flesh.

autosuggestion: Suggestion coming from the subject himself.

aversion therapy: A treatment that suppresses undesirable behavior by simultaneously exposing the subject to unpleasant consequences.

avoidance: A psychological or physical defense mechanism for avoiding a noxious experience.

axon: Nerve fiber that conduct impulses away from the neuron cell body.

BAC: blood alcohol concentration

barbiturate: A sedative that depresses respiratory rate, blood pressure, temperature and the central nervous system.

basal ganglia: Large grey masses at the base of the cerebral hemisphere.

Bell's Palsy: Temporary facial paralysis, 7th cranial nerve. Sudden onset. Usually one-side asymmetry.

benzocaine: A local anesthetic applied topically.

bipolar disorder: A major affective disorder marked by severe mood swings (manic or major depressive episodes) and a tendency to remission and recurrence.

bonding: The emotional attachment of mother-child or individuals to pets.

brain: A highly developed part of central nervous system that is contained within the cranium. It consists of cerebrum, cerebellum and other structures in the brain stem.

-bulia: will

carotid ultrasonography: A diagnostic imaging technique to reveal structural details of the carotid arteries.

cataract: A clouding of the eye's lens.

catatonia: A neuropsychiatric disorder characterized by the patient becoming mute or immobile with extreme muscular rigidity.

cauda equina: The lower part of the spinal cord consisting of the lumbar, sacral, and coccygeal nerve roots.

caus/o: burn, burning

causalgia: A complex regional pain syndrome characterized by burning pain and marked sensitivity to touch in the distribution of an injured peripheral nerve.

CBT: cognitive behavioral therapy

central nervous system: The main information-processing organs of the nervous system, consisting of the brain, spinal cord, and meninges.

cerebell/o: cerebellum (posterior section of brain)

cerebellum: The part of brain located behind the brainstem in the posterior base of skull (posterior cranial fossa). It coordinates voluntary muscle activity, balance and tone.

cerebr/o: cerebrum

cerebral contusion: A bruise of the brain tissue . Frequently caused by a blow to the head.

cerebral edema: An abnormal accumulation of fluid in brain tissue. Brain swelling.

cerebral hemorrhage: Bleeding into one or both cerebral hemispheres.

cerebral palsy: A chronic childhood disorder that affects muscle tone, movement, and motor skills.

cerebrospinal fluid: A watery fluid that is continuously produced in the choroid plexus and circulates around the surface of the brain, the spinal cord and in the cerebral ventricles.

cerebrovascular accident: A stroke. It is caused by the interruption of the brain’s blood supply, usually because a blood vessel bursts or is blocked by a clot, or a space-occupying lesion such as a tumor.

cerebrum: The largest, uppermost part of the brain. Responsible for initiating and coordinating all voluntary body activity. The cerebral cortex is responsible for intellectual activities.

cervical radiculopathy: A pinched nerve. It occurs when a nerve in the neck is irritated as it leaves the spinal canal.

claustrophobia: The irrational fear of confined spaces.

CNS: central nervous system

cognition: Thinking.

coma: A deep state of unconsciousness. No voluntary motor signs.

comprehension: Understanding.

concuss/o: shaken together

concussion: A traumatic brain injury. Measure severity by universal Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS)

conditioning: Learning that takes place when a conditioned stimulus is paired with an unconditioned stimulus.

contus/o: to bruise

CP: cerebral palsy

CR: conditioned reflex

-crasia: mixture, loss of control

CSF: cerebrospinal fluid

CVA: cerebrovascular accident

delirium: A state of mental confusion that can occur due to illness, surgery or using certain medications.

delirium tremens: The most severe form of alcohol withdrawal, causing confusion, irregular heart rate, and sweating.

delusion: A belief that is clearly false.

dementia: A group of symptoms caused by brain disorder. Not a specific disease. Causes are peripheral vascular disease, stroke, toxins, or Alzheimer's.

dendrite: Short branches of the nerve cell body that receive stimuli from other neurons.

depersonalization: A feeling of unreality concerning the self or the environment.

diplegia: Paralysis involving both sides of the body.

dolor/o: pain

dopamine: A central nervous system neurotransmitter.

DTs: delirium tremens

dur/o: hard, dura mater

dura mater: The dense, leathery membrane covering and protecting the brain and spinal cord.

dyslexia: A common condition that affects the way the brain processes written and spoken language.

echoencephalography: The use of ultrasound waves to study brain structures.

ECT: electroconvulsive therapy

EEG: electroencephalogram

efferent pathways: The route of nerve structures carrying impulses away from a nerve center toward a peripheral site.

eidetic: Pertaining to the ability to accurately visualize events or objects from experience.

electroencephalography: A test to measure the electrical activity of the brain.

encephal/o: brain

encephalitis: A inflammation of the brain. Symptoms include headache, fever, vomiting, stiff neck and lethargy.

ependyma: A thin membrane that lines the cerebral ventricles and the central canal of the spinal cord.

epidural: On or over the dura mater.

epidural anesthesia: A regional anesthesia that blocks pain.

epilepsy: A general term for conditions with recurring seizures.

epineurium: The sheath of a peripheral nerve.

EST: electroshock therapy

esthes/o: nerve sensation, feeling

-esthesia: sensation, feeling

factitious disorder: Conditions in which a person deliberately and consciously acts as if he or she has a physical or mental illness when he or she is not really sick. Known as Munchausen Syndrome.

frontal lobe: The part of the cerebral hemisphere anterior to the central sulcus, and anterior and superior to the lateral sulcus.

ganglion: A structure containing an aggregation of nerve cell bodies located in the peripheral nervous system.

ganglion/o: ganglion

glasgow coma scale: A scale for measuring level of consciousness, especially after craniocerebral injury

gli/o: glue-like

gnos/o: knowledge

-graphy: process of recording

Guillain-Barre syndrome: A disorder in which the immune system attacks the nerves. A rare disease, usually preceded by a viral infection

hallucination: Sensing things while awake that appear to be real, but instead have been created by the mind, common in delirium.

headache: Pain in the cranial region.

hedon/o: pleasure

heli/o: sun

hemorrhagic stroke: A stroke that occurs when a weakened blood vessel ruptures. Also called an aneurysm.

hippocampus: A curved elevation of gray matter extending the entire length of the floor of the temporal horn of the lateral ventricle (see also temporal lobe). It has a central role in memory processes.

hydrocephalus: The buildup of excessive cerebrospinal fluid in the brain.

hyperesthesia: Hyperesthesia is a condition in which someone becomes highly sensitized to sensory stimuli.

hypn/o: sleep

hypnosis: A state of increased receptivity to suggestion and direction, initially induced by the influence of another person.

hypochondria: Anxiety about one's own health and belief that one is likely to become ill even though there is no medical evidence of illness.

hypochondriasis: An overwhelming fear of having a serious disease.

hysteria: Excessive or uncontrollable emotion, such as fear or panic.

ICP: intracranial pressure

interneurons: Groups or combinations of neurons between sensory and motor neurons that govern coordinated activity.

intracranial hematoma: Blood accumulation within the brain or between the brain and the skull,

IQ: intelligence quotient

ischemic stroke: The main type of stroke. Occur when a blood vessel that supplies blood to the brain is blocked by a blood clot.

klept/o: to steal

-lepsis: seizure

-lepsy: seizure

lethargy: A condition of tiredness, fatigue, or lack of energy.

LOC: level/loss of consciousness

log-: speech, words

logo-: words, speech

LP: lumbar puncture

MA: mental age

mania: An abnormally excessive elated, enthusiastic mental state.

-mania: obsession with

MBD: minimal brain dysfunction

median nerve: A major nerve of the arm, suppling sensory and motor innervation to parts of the forearm and hand.

medulla oblongata: The lower portion of the brain stem. Medulla oblongata serves as a relay station between the brain and the spinal cord, and contains centers for regulating respiratory, vasomotor, cardiac, and reflex activities.

megalomania: Delusions of grandeur or exaggerated personal importance, wealth or power.

memory: The mental functions of learning, retention, recall and recognition.

mening/o: membranes

meninges: The three membranes that envelop the brain and the spinal cord.

meningioma: A relatively common neoplasm of the central nervous system.

meningitis: An acute inflammation of the protective membranes covering the brain and spinal cord. May be viral or bacterial.

meningocele: Surgery to repair birth defects of the spine and spinal membranes.

ment/o: mind

merkel cells: Modified epidermal cells located in the stratum basale (the innermost layer of the epidermis). They are found mostly in areas where sensory perception is acute, such as the fingertips.

microcephaly: Abnormal smallness of the head; a congenital abnormality

migraine: Moderate to severe, painful headache that may occur with symptoms like nausea, vomiting, fatigue and numbness.

mindfulness: A psychological state of awareness.

-mnesia: memory

MS: multiple sclerosis

multiple sclerosis: An immune-mediated process in which the immune system attacks the myelin sheath that surrounds nerve fibers.

myel/o: spinal cord, bone marrow

myelin: A white fatty material that encloses certain axons and nerve fibers acting as an electrical insulator.

myelitis: An inflammation of the spinal cord.

myelography: A procedure that uses dye with x-rays or CT scans to assess the spinal cord,

narc/o: sleep, numbness, stupor

narcolepsy: A chronic brain disorder that involves poor control of sleep-wake cycles.

negativism: Behavior marked by extreme skepticism and persistent resistance to external advice.

neocortex: The largest portion of the cerebral cortex, the outer surface of the cerebrum, responsible for spatial reasoning, thought, language, memory and sensory perception.

nerve: A cordlike structure of the body, comprising a collection of conducting fibers that convey impulses between a part of the central nervous system and another body region.

nerve block: Interruption of neural conduction in peripheral nerves or nerve trunks by the injection of a local anesthetic agent.

neur/o: nerve

neural conduction: The propagation of the nerve impulse along the nerve away from the site of an excitation stimulus.

neuralgia: Intense pain that occurs along the course of a peripheral or cranial nerve.

neurapraxia: A peripheral nerve injury marked by a temporary loss of conduction of impulses.

neurasthenia: A mental disorder characterized by chronic fatigue and concomitant physiologic symptoms.

neuri-: nerve, nervous system

neuritis: A general term indicating inflammation of a nerve, often marked by pain, numbness or tingling, or paralysis.

neurocytoma: A brain tumor of undifferentiated cells of nervous origin.

neurofibroma: A moderately firm, benign, encapsulated tumor resulting from proliferation of Schwann cells and fibroblasts that includes portions of nerve fibers.

neurofibrosarcoma: A malignant tumor that arises from small cutaneous nerves, is locally aggressive, and has a potential for metastasis.

neurogenesis: Formation of neurons which involves the differentiation and division of stem cells in which one or both of the daughter cells become neurons.

neuroglia: The supportive tissue of the nervous system

neurological: Pertaining to the nervous system

neurology: A medical specialty concerned with the study of the structures, functions, and diseases of the nervous system.

neuroma: A benign neoplasm composed of nerve cells and nerve fibers.

neuron: The basic cellular unit of nervous tissue. Each neuron consists of a body, an axon, and dendrites. Their purpose is to receive, conduct, and transmit impulses in the nervous system.

neuroretinitis: Inflammation of the optic nerve and retina.

neurotransmitters: Chemical messengers that carry signals to other cells in the body.

neurotropic: Having an affinity for the nervous system or the growth of neural tissue.

NGF: nerve growth factor

-noia: mind, will

NTD: neural tube defect

obsessive compulsive disorder: An anxiety disorder characterized by recurrent, unwanted obsessions and compulsions.

obtund: To blunt or deaden pain.

OCD: obsessive-compulsive disorder

odyn-: pain

olfactory nerve: The first cranial nerve. The olfactory nerve conveys the sense of smell.

-orexia: appetite

pain: An unpleasant or distressing localized sensation induced by noxious stimuli which are detected by nerve endings of nociceptive neurons.

panic: A state of extreme acute, intense anxiety and unreasoning fear.

panic attack: Fear response that is out of proportion for the situation.

paranoia: Overly suspicious behavior.

paranoid behavior: Behavior exhibited by individuals who are overly suspicious, but without the symptoms characteristic of paranoid personality disorder or schizophrenia.

paranoid disorders: Chronic mental disorders in which there has been an insidious development of a permanent and unshakeable delusional system, but with clear and orderly thinking. Emotional responses and behavior are consistent with the delusional state.

-paresis: weakness, slight paralysis

paresthesia: A sensation of tingling or numbness, skin crawling, or itching without apparent cause.

parietal lobe: Upper central part of the cerebral hemisphere. It is located posterior to central sulcus, anterior to the occipital lobe, and superior to the temporal lobes.

Parkinson disease: A progressive disease of the nervous system that affects movement.

PD: Parkinson disease

peripheral neuropathy: Dysfunction of peripheral nerves which can impair movement, sensation and organ function.

phantom limb: Phantom sensations that occur following the complete or partial loss of a limb.

phob/o: fear, adversion

-phobia: abnormal fear

piez/o: pressure

-plegia: paralysis

PNI: peripheral nerve injury

PNS: peripheral nervous system

polio-: gray

polyneuropathy: A disease of multiple peripheral nerves simultaneously.

pons: The front part of the hindbrain that lies between the medulla and the midbrain ventral to the cerebellum, serving as a relay station for neural pathways.

post-traumatic stress disorder: A disorder that develops in people who have experienced a terrifying event.

-praxia: to perform, action

psych/o: mind

PTSD: post traumatic stress disorder

pudendal nerve: A nerve which originates in the sacral spinal cord (S2 to S4) and innervates the perineum, the external genitalia, the external anal sphincter and the external urethral sphincter. Can be damaged in childbirth.

radial nerve: A major nerve of the upper extremity, originating in the lower cervical and upper thoracic spinal cord, traveling via the posterior cord of the brachial plexus, and supplying motor innervation to extensor muscles of the arm and cutaneous sensory fibers to extensor regions of the arm and hand.

radicul/o: nerve root

radiculopathy: Disease involving a spinal nerve root.

reflex: A quick, involuntary movement or exercise of function, in response to a stimulus applied to the periphery and transmitted to the brain or spinal cord.

reflex arc: The neural path of a reflex.

REM: rapid eye movement

rem sleep: A stage of sleep characterized by rapid eye movements and low voltage fast pattern EEG. It is usually associated with dreaming.

Reye syndrome: An acquired encephalopathy of young children that follows an acute febrile illness, usually influenza or varicella infection.

rhiz/o: root

RIND: reversible ischemic neurologic deficit

SAD: seasonal affective disorder

schiz-: division

schizophrenia: A chronic, severe mental illness that interferes with the ability to think, manage emotions, make decisions and relate to others.

sciatic nerve: A nerve which originates in the lumbar and sacral spinal cord and supplies motor and sensory innervation to the lower extremity. The sciatic nerve is the largest nerve in the body.

sciatica: Pain radiating along the sciatic nerve from the lower back down the leg.

seizure: A sudden surge of the brain’s electrical activity affecting movement and awareness for a short time.

sensation: A perception produced by afferent nerve impulses conveyed to the sensorium.

sleep: Physiologic state of rest, relative unconsciousness and inaction of voluntary muscles.

smell: The ability to detect scents or odors, such as the function of olfactory receptor neurons.

somn/o: sleep

spinal cord: The section of the central nervous system enclosed in the vertebral column.

spinal nerves: The 31 paired peripheral nerves formed by the union of the dorsal and ventral spinal roots from each spinal cord segment. The spinal nerve plexuses and the spinal roots are also included.

spinal puncture: Tapping fluid from the subarachnoid space in the lumbar region, usually between the third and fourth lumbar vertebrae.

spinal stenosis: Narrowing of the spinal canal.

stress: The unfavorable effect of environmental factors on the physiological functions.

superego: The component of the personality associated with ethics, standards, and self-criticism.

sural nerve: A branch of the tibial nerve which supplies sensory innervation to parts of the lower leg and foot.

synaps/o: point of contact

synapse: The junctional area between two connected nerves or between a nerve and the effector organ.

syring/o: tube, pipe, fistula

Sz: seizure

taut-: same

-taxia: ordering, arrangement

tectospinal: Denoting nerve fibers passing from the mesencephalic tectum to the spinal cord.

telencephalon: The anterior subdivision of the prosencephalon which develops into the olfactory bulbs, cerebral cortex and basal ganglia.

temporal lobe: One of the main divisions of the cerebral cortex in each hemisphere of the brain, responsible for auditory, olfactory, and semantic processing.

TENS: transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation

tephr/o: gray, ash-colored

tetanus: An acute, potentially fatal infection of the central nervous system caused by a powerful protein toxin produced by Clostridium tetani. Tetanus usually occurs after an acute injury, such as a puncture wound or laceration. Also called lockjaw.

thalamus: Paired bodies containing mostly gray matter and forming part of the lateral wall of the third ventricle of the brain.

thec-: case, sheath

thermoalgesia: Abnormal pain felt when part of the body is warmed.

thinking: The act of reasoning. Cognition.

-thymia: state of mind

TIA: transient ischemic attack

titubation: Walking with a staggering or stumbling gait.

tourette syndrome: A neuropsychological disorder appearing in childhood, marked by multiple motor and vocal tics occurring multiple times daily over a period of more than one year.

tractotomy: Surgical incision of a nerve tract, usually to relieve pain.

trance: A sleeplike state of altered consciousness and diminution of motor activity,

tranquillizer: A drug that reduces stress without diminishing mental clarity.

transference: The unconscious transfer to others of feelings and attitudes which were originally associated with important figures in one's early life.

trichotillomania: Compulsion to pull out one's hair.

trigeminal: Pertaining to the fifth cranial nerve.

trigeminal neuralgia: An inflammation of the trigeminal nerve causing extreme pain and muscle spasms in the face.

unconsciousness: Abnormal loss of awareness of self and environment and lack of responsiveness to sensory stimuli.

vag/o: vagus nerve

vagus nerve: The tenth cranial nerve.

vestibul/o: vestibule

white matter: The region of central nervous system that appears lighter in color than the other type, gray matter. it mainly consists of myelinated nerve fibers and contains few neuronal cell bodies or dendrites.


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