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Medical TermDescription
accessory nerveEither of two cranial nerves which are important for swallowing, speech and some head and shoulder movements.
adjustment disordersMaladaptive reactions to a stressful event.
adrenergic fibersNerve fibers liberating catecholamines at a synapse after an impulse.
adrenergic neuronsNeurons whose primary neurotransmitter is epinephrine.
affectThe emotional reaction to an experience or thought.
agraphiaInability to write due to a cerebral injury or less commonly, due to emotional factors.
akinetic mutismA syndrome characterized by a silent and inert state without voluntary motor activity despite alertness.
alprazolamA compound used to treat anxiety.
amphetamineA powerful group of drugs that stimulate the central nervous system. Amphetamines reduce feelings of fatigue and increase alertness.
analgesicsA compound that relieves pain.
anesthesiologyA specialty concerned with the study of anesthetics and anesthesia.
anestheticsAgents that are capable of inducing a total or partial loss of sensation, especially tactile sensation and pain. They may act generally or locally.
anhedoniaInability to experience happiness or pleasure. It is a symptom of many psychotic disorders.
anomiaAn inability to name people and objects that are correctly comprehended.
antidromicConducting nerve impulses in a direction opposite from normal.
antipsychoticAn agent used to control severe mental disorders.
antisocial A personality disorder characterized by a disregard for individual rights or laws.
apraxiaDisorders characterized by the inability to make skilled, purposeful movements due to a cerebral disease.
aquaphobiaAn irrational fear of water.
arachnoidA delicate membrane covering the brain and spinal cord. It lies between the pia mater and the dura mater.
arachnoiditisAcute or chronic inflammation of the arachnoid membrane, resulting in pain and neurological abnormalities.
astrocyteA large, star shaped cell. Found throughout the central nervous system.
astrocytomaA type of brain tumor.
autonomicThe ability to function without external influence.
autonomic nervous systemThe part of the nervous system that regulates involuntary body functions. The enteric nervous system; parasympathetic nervous system; and sympathetic nervous system taken together.
autophagiaBiting or eating one's own flesh.
autosuggestionSuggestion coming from the subject himself.
aversion therapyA treatment that suppresses undesirable behavior by simultaneously exposing the subject to unpleasant consequences.
axonNerve fiber that conduct impulses away from the neuron cell body.
basal gangliaLarge grey masses at the base of the cerebral hemisphere.
benzocaineA local anesthetic applied topically.
bipolar disorderA major affective disorder marked by severe mood swings (manic or major depressive episodes) and a tendency to remission and recurrence.
bondingThe emotional attachment of mother-child or individuals to pets.
catatoniaA neuropsychiatric disorder characterized by the patient becoming mute or immobile with extreme muscular rigidity.
cauda equinaThe lower part of the spinal cord consisting of the lumbar, sacral, and coccygeal nerve roots.
central nervous systemThe main information-processing organs of the nervous system, consisting of the brain, spinal cord, and meninges.
cerebral edemaAn abnormal accumulation of fluid in brain tissue. Brain swelling.
cerebral hemorrhageBleeding into one or both cerebral hemispheres.
cerebrospinal fluidA 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.
conditioningLearning that takes place when a conditioned stimulus is paired with an unconditioned stimulus.
depersonalizationA feeling of unreality concerning the self or the environment.
efferent pathwaysThe route of nerve structures carrying impulses away from a nerve center toward a peripheral site.
eideticPertaining to the ability to accurately visualize events or objects from experience.
ependymaA thin membrane that lines the cerebral ventricles and the central canal of the spinal cord.
epineuriumThe sheath of a peripheral nerve.
glasgow coma scaleA scale for measuring level of consciousness, especially after craniocerebral injury
hippocampusA 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.
interneuronsGroups or combinations of neurons between sensory and motor neurons that govern coordinated activity.
median nerveA major nerve of the arm, suppling sensory and motor innervation to parts of the forearm and hand.
medulla oblongataThe 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.
meningesThe three membranes that envelop the brain and the spinal cord.
meningiomaA relatively common neoplasm of the central nervous system.
merkel cellsModified 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.
microcephalyAbnormal smallness of the head; a congenital abnormality
neocortexThe largest portion of the cerebral cortex, the outer surface of the cerebrum, responsible for spatial reasoning, thought, language, memory and sensory perception.
neuritisA general term indicating inflammation of a nerve, often marked by pain, numbness or tingling, or paralysis.
neurocytomaA brain tumor of undifferentiated cells of nervous origin.
neuroretinitisInflammation of the optic nerve and retina.
neurotropicHaving an affinity for the nervous system or the growth of neural tissue.
obtundTo blunt or deaden pain.
phantom limbPhantom sensations that occur following the complete or partial loss of a limb.
polyneuropathyA disease of multiple peripheral nerves simultaneously.
ponsThe 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.
pudendal nerveA 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.
radiculopathyDisease involving a spinal nerve root.
reflex arcThe neural path of a reflex.
spinal stenosisNarrowing of the spinal canal.
sural nerveA branch of the tibial nerve which supplies sensory innervation to parts of the lower leg and foot.
tectospinalDenoting nerve fibers passing from the mesencephalic tectum to the spinal cord.
telencephalonThe anterior subdivision of the prosencephalon which develops into the olfactory bulbs, cerebral cortex and basal ganglia.
thermoalgesiaAbnormal pain felt when part of the body is warmed.
titubationWalking with a staggering or stumbling gait.
tourette syndromeA neuropsychological disorder appearing in childhood, marked by multiple motor and vocal tics occurring multiple times daily over a period of more than one year.
trichotillomaniaCompulsion to pull out one's hair.
trigeminalPertaining to the fifth cranial nerve.

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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