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Medical TermDescription
-esthesiasensation, feeling
-graphyprocess of recording
-maniaobsession with
-paresisweakness, slight paralysis
-phobiaabnormal fear
-thymiastate of mind
acrophobiaFear of heights
Alzheimer diseaseType of dementia that causes problems with memory, thinking, and behavior.
amyotrophic lateral sclerosisA neurological disease causing muscle weakness and impacting physical function. Commonly called ALS.
anestheticMedication that causes temporary loss of sensation.
anxietyFeeling or emotion of dread, apprehension, or fear without apparent stimulus.
aphasiaImpairment of language or speech comprehension.
arousalA state of alertness due to stimulation.
assertivenessStrongly insistent, self-assured behavior.
attentionMentally focusing on a specific object, issue or activity. The act of concentrating.
autismA group of developmental disabilities that can cause significant social, communication and behavioral problems.
Bell's PalsyTemporary facial paralysis, 7th cranial nerve. Sudden onset. Usually one-side asymmetry.
brainA 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.
carotid ultrasonographyA diagnostic imaging technique to reveal structural details of the carotid arteries.
cataractA clouding of the eye's lens.
caus/oburn, burning
causalgiaA complex regional pain syndrome characterized by burning pain and marked sensitivity to touch in the distribution of an injured peripheral nerve.
cerebell/ocerebellum (posterior section of brain)
cerebellumThe part of brain located behind the brainstem in the posterior base of skull (posterior cranial fossa). It coordinates voluntary muscle activity, balance and tone.
cerebral contusionA bruise of the brain tissue . Frequently caused by a blow to the head.
cerebral palsyA chronic childhood disorder that affects muscle tone, movement, and motor skills.
cerebrovascular accidentA 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.
cerebrumThe largest, uppermost part of the brain. Responsible for initiating and coordinating all voluntary body activity. The cerebral cortex is responsible for intellectual activities.
cervical radiculopathyA pinched nerve. It occurs when a nerve in the neck is irritated as it leaves the spinal canal.
claustrophobiaThe irrational fear of confined spaces.
comaA deep state of unconsciousness. No voluntary motor signs.
concuss/oshaken together
concussionA traumatic brain injury. Measure severity by universal Glasgow Coma Scale (GCS)
contus/oto bruise
deliriumA state of mental confusion that can occur due to illness, surgery or using certain medications.
delirium tremensThe most severe form of alcohol withdrawal, causing confusion, irregular heart rate, and sweating.
delusionA belief that is clearly false.
dementiaA group of symptoms caused by brain disorder. Not a specific disease. Causes are peripheral vascular disease, stroke, toxins, or Alzheimer's.
dur/ohard, dura mater
dura materThe dense, leathery membrane covering and protecting the brain and spinal cord.
dyslexiaA common condition that affects the way the brain processes written and spoken language.
echoencephalographyThe use of ultrasound waves to study brain structures.
electroencephalographyA test to measure the electrical activity of the brain.
encephalitisA inflammation of the brain. Symptoms include headache, fever, vomiting, stiff neck and lethargy.
epidural anesthesiaA regional anesthesia that blocks pain.
epilepsyA general term for conditions with recurring seizures.
esthes/onerve sensation, feeling
factitious disorderConditions 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 lobeThe part of the cerebral hemisphere anterior to the central sulcus, and anterior and superior to the lateral sulcus.
ganglionA structure containing an aggregation of nerve cell bodies located in the peripheral nervous system.
Guillain-Barre syndromeA disorder in which the immune system attacks the nerves. A rare disease, usually preceded by a viral infection
hallucinationSensing things while awake that appear to be real, but instead have been created by the mind, common in delirium.
headachePain in the cranial region.
hemorrhagic strokeA stroke that occurs when a weakened blood vessel ruptures. Also called an aneurysm.
hydrocephalusThe buildup of excessive cerebrospinal fluid in the brain.
hyperesthesiaHyperesthesia is a condition in which someone becomes highly sensitized to sensory stimuli.
hypnosisA state of increased receptivity to suggestion and direction, initially induced by the influence of another person.
hypochondriaAnxiety about one's own health and belief that one is likely to become ill even though there is no medical evidence of illness.
hypochondriasisAn overwhelming fear of having a serious disease.
hysteriaExcessive or uncontrollable emotion, such as fear or panic.
intracranial hematomaBlood accumulation within the brain or between the brain and the skull,
ischemic strokeThe main type of stroke. Occur when a blood vessel that supplies blood to the brain is blocked by a blood clot.
klept/oto steal
lethargyA condition of tiredness, fatigue, or lack of energy.
maniaAn abnormally excessive elated, enthusiastic mental state.
memoryThe mental functions of learning, retention, recall and recognition.
meningitisAn acute inflammation of the protective membranes covering the brain and spinal cord. May be viral or bacterial.
meningoceleSurgery to repair birth defects of the spine and spinal membranes.
migraineModerate to severe, painful headache that may occur with symptoms like nausea, vomiting, fatigue and numbness.
mindfulnessA psychological state of awareness.
multiple sclerosisAn immune-mediated process in which the immune system attacks the myelin sheath that surrounds nerve fibers.
myel/ospinal cord, bone marrow
myelitisAn inflammation of the spinal cord.
myelographyA procedure that uses dye with x-rays or CT scans to assess the spinal cord,
narc/osleep, numbness, stupor
narcolepsyA chronic brain disorder that involves poor control of sleep-wake cycles.
negativismBehavior marked by extreme skepticism and persistent resistance to external advice.
nerveA 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 blockInterruption of neural conduction in peripheral nerves or nerve trunks by the injection of a local anesthetic agent.
neural conductionThe propagation of the nerve impulse along the nerve away from the site of an excitation stimulus.
neuralgiaIntense pain that occurs along the course of a peripheral or cranial nerve.
neuri-nerve, nervous system
neurologicalPertaining to the nervous system
neurologyA medical specialty concerned with the study of the structures, functions, and diseases of the nervous system.
neuronThe 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.
neurotransmittersChemical messengers that carry signals to other cells in the body.
obsessive compulsive disorderAn anxiety disorder characterized by recurrent, unwanted obsessions and compulsions.
painAn unpleasant or distressing localized sensation induced by noxious stimuli which are detected by nerve endings of nociceptive neurons.
panicA state of extreme acute, intense anxiety and unreasoning fear.
panic attackFear response that is out of proportion for the situation.
paranoiaOverly suspicious behavior.
paresthesiaA sensation of tingling or numbness, skin crawling, or itching without apparent cause.
Parkinson diseaseA progressive disease of the nervous system that affects movement.
peripheral neuropathyDysfunction of peripheral nerves which can impair movement, sensation and organ function.
post-traumatic stress disorderA disorder that develops in people who have experienced a terrifying event.
radicul/onerve root
reflexA quick, involuntary movement or exercise of function, in response to a stimulus applied to the periphery and transmitted to the brain or spinal cord.
Reye syndromeAn acquired encephalopathy of young children that follows an acute febrile illness, usually influenza or varicella infection.
schizophreniaA chronic, severe mental illness that interferes with the ability to think, manage emotions, make decisions and relate to others.
sciatic nerveA 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.
sciaticaPain radiating along the sciatic nerve from the lower back down the leg.
seizureA sudden surge of the brain’s electrical activity affecting movement and awareness for a short time.
sensationA perception produced by afferent nerve impulses conveyed to the sensorium.
sleepPhysiologic state of rest, relative unconsciousness and inaction of voluntary muscles.
smellThe ability to detect scents or odors, such as the function of olfactory receptor neurons.
spinal cordThe section of the central nervous system enclosed in the vertebral column.
spinal nervesThe 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 punctureTapping fluid from the subarachnoid space in the lumbar region, usually between the third and fourth lumbar vertebrae.
thinkingThe act of reasoning. Cognition.
tranceA sleeplike state of altered consciousness and diminution of motor activity,
tranquillizerA drug that reduces stress without diminishing mental clarity.
trigeminal neuralgiaAn inflammation of the trigeminal nerve causing extreme pain and muscle spasms in the face.
unconsciousnessAbnormal loss of awareness of self and environment and lack of responsiveness to sensory stimuli.
vag/ovagus nerve
white matterThe 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.

Authors and Reviewers

Authored by Dr. Barbara A. Erickson
Medically reviewed by Dr. Jonathan Keroes, MD
Last Update: 12/18/2022

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