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Medical Terminology for Health Professionals (Ehrlich/Schroeder) - Chapter 10

central nervous system (CNS) 287

includes the brain and spinal cord

axon 288

a process that extends away from the cell body and conducts impulses away from the nerve cell

types of neurons 288

afferent, connecting, efferent - ACE

ascending nerve tracts 288

carry nerve impulses toward the brain

afferent neurons 288

emerge from sensory organs and skin to carry impulses from sensory organs toward brain and spinal cord - sensory neurons

arachnoid membrane 291

the second layer of the meninges and is located between the dura mater and the pia mater

cerebral hemispheres 292

the cerebrum is divided into these two parts

cerebellum 292

the second-largest part of the brain, located at the back of the head below the posterior portion of the cerebrum

cerebral 292

pertaining to the cerebrum or to the brain

cerebrum 292

the largest and uppermost portion of the brain, consisting of four lobes

cerebral lobes 292

each cerebral hemisphere is subdivided to create pairs of lobes; each lobe is named for the bone of the cranium that covers it

anesthetist 296

a medical professional who specializes in administering anesthesia, but is not a physician

anesthesiologist 296

a physician who specializes in administering anesthetic agents before and during surgery

autonomic nervous system 296

controls the involuntary actions of the body

cephalalgia 297

pain in the head; also known as a headache

amnesia 298

a memory disturbance characterized by a total or partial inability to recall past experiences

Alzheimer's disease 298

disorder associated with degenerative changes in the brain structure that lead to progressive memory loss, impaired cognition, and personality changes

brain tumor 299

an abnormal growth located inside the skull

cerebrovascular accident 300

damage to the brain that occurs when the blood flow to the brain is disrupted; also known as a stroke

aphasia 301

the loss of the ability to speak, write, and/or comprehend the written or spoken word

causalgia 303

persistent, severe burning pain that usually follows an injury to a sensory nerve

Bell's palsy 303

temporary paralysis of the seventh cranial nerve that causes drooping only on the affected side of the face

cerebral palsy 303

a congenital condition characterized by poor muscle control, spasticity, speech defects, and other neurologic deficiencies

amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) 303

a degenerative disease in which patients become progressively weaker until they are completely paralyzed; also known as Lou Gehrig's disease

anticonvulsant 304

administered to prevent seizures such as those associated with epilepsy

amobarbital 304

a barbiturate used as a sedative and hypnotic

barbiturates 304

a class of drugs whose major action is a calming or depressed effect on the central nervous system

anesthesia 304

the absence of normal sensation, especially sensitivity to pain, that is induced by the administration of an anesthetic

anesthetic 304

the medication used to induce anesthesia

carotid ultrasonography 304

an ultrasound study of the carotid artery to detect plaque buildup in the artery to predict or diagnose an ischemic stroke

anxiety disorders 305

mental conditions characterized by anxiety or fear that is out of proportion to the real danger in a situation

arachnophobia 306

an excessive fear of spiders

agoraphobia 306

an excessive fear of situations in which having a panic attack seems likely and/or dangerous or embarrassing

attention deficit disorder (ADD) 306

characterized by a short attention span and impulsive behavior that is inappropriate for the child's developmental age

acrophobia 306

excessive fear of being in high places

autism 306

describes a group of conditions in which a young child cannot develop normal social relationships

bipolar disorder 307

a condition characterized by cycles of severe mood changes shifting from highs (manic behavior) and severe lows (depression) that affect a person's attitude, energy, and ability to function

catatonic behavior 307

marked by a lack of responsiveness, stupor, and a tendency to remain in a fixed posture

alcoholism 308

chronic alcohol dependence with specific signs and symptoms upon withdrawal

antidepressant 308

a medication administered to prevent or relieve depression

antipsychotic drug 308

a medication administered to treat symptoms of severe disorders of thinking and mood that are associated with neurological and psychiatric illnesses such as schizophrenia, mania, and delusional disorders

anxiolytic drug 308

a medication administered to temporarily relieve anxiety and to reduce tension; also known as an antianxiety drug or tranquilizer

behavioral therapy 309

focuses on changing behavior by identifying problem behaviors, replacing them with appropriate behaviors, and using rewards or other consequences to make the changes

brainstem 292

the stalk-like portion of the brain that connects the cerebral hemispheres with the spinal cord; made up of three parts: the midbrain, pons, and medulla

cerebral contusion 298

the bruising of brain tissue as the result of a head injury that may also cause swelling of the brain

cerebrospinal fluid 291

a clear, colorless, and watery fluid that flows throughout the brain and around the spinal cord

cervical radiculopathy 302

nerve pain caused by pressure on the spinal nerve roots in the neck region

claustrophobia 306

an abnormal fear of being in narrow or enclosed spaces

cluster headaches 298

intensely painful headaches that affect one side of the head and may be associated with tearing of the eyes and nasal congestion


the mental activities associated with thinking, learning,and memory

cognitive therapy

focuses on changing cognitions or thoughts that are affecting a person's emotions or actions

coma 299

a deep state of unconsciousness

complex regional pain syndrome 303

pain that occurs after an injury to an arm or a leg, a heart attack, stroke, or other medical problem

concussion 298

a violent shaking up or jarring of the brain that may result in a temporary loss of awareness and function

connecting neurons 288

associative neurons which link sensory and motor neurons


the state of being awake, alert, aware, and responding appropriately

conversion disorder 308

characterized by serious temporary or ongoing changes in function, such as paralysis or blindness, that are triggered by psychological factors rather than by any physical cause

cranial hematoma 298

a collection of blood trapped in the tissues of the brain

cranial nerves 295

12 pairs of nerves that originate from the undersurface of the brain

delirium 299

a potentially reversible condition that comes on suddenly and is often associated with high fever, intoxication, or shock in which the patient is confused, disoriented, and unable to think clearly

delirium tremens 308

an acute organic brain syndrome due to alcohol withdrawal that is characterized by sweating, tremor, restlessness, anxiety, mental confusion, and hallucinations

delusion 307

a false personal belief that is maintained despite obvious proof or evidence to the contrary


a slowly progressive decline in mental abilities, including memory, thinking, and judgment, that is often accompanied by personality changes

dendrites 288

the root-like processes that receive impulses and conduct them to the cell body


a common mood disorder characterized by lethargy and sadness, as well as the loss of interest or pleasure in normal activities

descending nerve tracts 288

carry nerve impulses away from the brain

dissociative disorders 306

occur when normal thought is separated from consciousness

dissociative identity disorder 306

a mental illness characterized by the presence of two or more distinct personalities, each with its own characteristics, which appear to exist within the same individual; formerly known as multiple personality disorder

dura mater 290

the thick, tough, outermost membrane of the meninges

dyslexia 306

a learning disability characterized by substandard reading achievement due to the inability of the brain to process symbols; also known as a developmental reading disorder

dysthymia 307

a low-grade chronic depression with symptoms that are milder than those of severe depression but are present on a majority of days for 2 or more years

echoencephalography 304

the use ofultrasound imaging to diagnose a shift in the midline structures of the brain

efferent neurons 288

motor neurons which carry impulses away from the brain and spinal cord and toward the muscles and glands

electroencephalography 304

the process of recording the electrical activity of the brain through the use of electrodes attached to the scalp

encephalitis 298

an inflammation of the brain

encephalocele 298

a congenital herniation of brain tissue through a gap in the skull

epidural anesthesia 304

regional anesthesia produced by injecting a local anesthetic into the epidural space of the lumbar or sacral region of the spine

epilepsy 303

a chronic neurological condition characterized by recurrent episodes of seizures of varying severity

factitious disorder 307

a condition in which an individual acts as if he or she has a physical or mental illness when he or she is not really sick; previously known as Munchausen syndrome

factitious disorder by proxy 307

although seeming very concerned about the child's well-being, the mentally ill parent will falsify an illness in a child by making up, or inducing symptoms, and then seeking medical treatment, even surgery, for the child - form of child abuse

ganglion 288

nerve center made up of a cluster of nerve cell bodies outside the central nervous system

generalized anxiety disorder 305

characterized by chronic anxiety plus exaggerated worry and tension even when there is little or nothing to provoke these feelings

glial cells 290

provide support and protection for neurons

Guillain-Barre syndrome 303

inflammation of myelin sheath of peripheral nerves - characterized by rapidly worsening muscle weakness that may lead to temporary paralysis - infectious polyneuritis

hallucination 307

sensory perception experienced in absence of an external stimulation

hemorrhagic stroke 301

occurs when a blood vessel in the brain leaks or ruptures; also known as a bleed

hydrocephalus 298

a condition in which there is an abnormally increased amount of cerebrospinal fluid within the ventricles of the brain

hyperesthesia 303

a condition of excessive sensitivity to stimuli

hypnotherapy 309

the use of hypnosis to produce a relaxed state of focused attention in which the patient may be more willing to believe and act on suggestions

hypnotic 304

depresses the central nervous system and usually produces sleep

hypochondriasis 308

a condition characterized by misinterpretation of physical symptoms and fearing that one has a serious illness despite appropriate medical evaluation and reassurance

hypothalamus 292

located below the thalamus, controls vital bodily functions

impulse-control disorders 307

a group of psychiatric disorders characterized by the inability to resist an impulse despite potential negative consequences

innervations 288

the supply of nerves to a specific body part

insomnia 301

the prolonged or abnormal inability to sleep

intracranial pressure 300

the amount of pressure inside the skull

ischemic stroke 300

a type of stroke that occurs when the flow of blood to the brain is blocked

kleptomania 307

a disorder characterized by repeatedly stealing objects neither for personal use nor for their monetary value

learning disabilities

disorders found in children of normal intelligence who have difficulties in learning specific skills such as processing language or grasping mathematical concepts

lethargy 299

a lowered level of consciousness marked by listlessness, drowsiness, and apathy

levels of consciousness (LOC) 309

terms used to describe alterations of consciousness caused by injury, disease, or substances such as medication, drugs, or alcohol

lobectomy 305

surgical removal of a portion of the brain to treat brain cancer or seizure disorders that cannot be controlled with medication

lumbar puncture 304

the process of obtaining a sample of cerebrospinal fluid by inserting a needle into the subarachnoid space of the lumbar region to withdraw fluid

lumbar radiculopathy 302

nerve pain in the lower back caused by muscle spasms or by nerve root irritation from the compression of vertebral disks such as a herniated disk

magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and computer tomography (CT)

important neuroimaging tools because they facilitate the examination of the soft tissue structures of the brain and spinal cord

malingering 308

characterized by the intentional creation of false or grossly exaggerated physical or psychological symptoms

manic behavior 307

includes an abnormally elevated mood state, including inappropriate elation, increased irritability, severe insomnia, poor judgment, and inappropriate social behavior

medulla 260

located at the lowest part of the brainstem, connected to the spinal cord

meninges 290

the system of membranes that enclose the brain and spinal cord of the CNS

meningitis 298

an inflammation of the meninges of the brain or spinal cord

meningocele 298

the congenital herniation of the meninges that surround the brain or spinal cord through a defect in the skull or spinal column

mental retardation 306

diagnosis based on three criteria: 1) significant below-average intellectual functioning; 2) significant deficits in adaptive functioning; and 3) onset during the developmental period of life, which is before age 18

midbrain and pons 293

provides conduction pathways to and from the higher and lower centers in the brain

migraine headache 298

headache characterized by throbbing pain on one side of the head

mood stabilizing drugs

used to treat mood instability and bipolar disorders; an example is lithium

multiple sclerosis

a progressive autoimmune disorder characterized by scattered patches of demyelination of nerve fibers of the brain and spinal cord

myelin sheath

the protective covering made up of glial cells


an inflammation of the spinal cord; also inflammation of bone marrow


a radiographic study of the spinal cord after the injection of a contrast medium through a lumbar puncture. The resulting record is called a myelogram.


a tumor of the spinal cord


a sleep disorder consisting of recurring episodes of falling asleep during the day


one or more bundles of neurons that connect the brain and the spinal cord with other parts of the body


a physician who specializes in diagnosing and treating diseases and disorders of the nervous system


the basic cells of the nervous system that allow different parts of the body to communicate with each other


the surgical repair of a nerve or nerves


surgically suturing together the ends of a severed nerve


a physician who specializes in surgery of the nervous system


a surgical incision or the dissection of a nerve


chemical substances that make it possible for messages to cross from the synapse of a neuron to the target receptor; examples include acetylcholine, dopamine, endorphins, norepinephrine, and serotonin

obsessive-compulsive disorder

an anxiety disorder characterized by recurrent, unwanted thoughts or impulses

panic attack

a group of intense emotional feelings that include apprehension, fearfulness, and terror

panic disorder

an anxiety disorder characterized by unexpected and repeated episodes known as panic attacks

parasympathetic nervous system

returns the body to normal after a response to stress


refers to a burning or prickling sensation that is usually felt in the hands, arms, legs, or feet, but can also occur in other parts of the body

Parkinson's disease (PD)

a chronic, degenerative central nervous disorder in which there is a progressive loss of control over movement, resulting in tremors and a shuffling gait

peripheral nervous system (PNS) 287

includes the 12 pairs of cranial nerves extending from the brain and the 31 pairs of peripheral spinal nerves extending outward from the spinal cord

peripheral neuropathy

a painful condition of the nerves of the hands and feet due to damage to the peripheral nerves; also known as peripheral neuritis

peripheralspinal nerves

31 pairs of spinal nerves that are grouped together and named based on the region of the body they innervate

persistent vegetative state

a type of coma in which the patient exhibits alternating sleep and wake cycles

personality disorder

a chronic pattern of inner experience and behavior that causes serious problems with relationships and work


a barbiturate used as a sedative and as an anticonvulsant


a persistent irrational fear of a specific thing or situation, strong enough to cause significant distress, to interfere with functioning, and to lead to the avoidance of the thing or situation that causes this reaction

pia mater

the third layer of the meninges, located nearest to the brain and spinal cord


a network of intersecting spinal nerves


a highly contagious viral disease; also known as polio

posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

the development of characteristic symptoms after a major traumatic event


a physician who specializes in diagnosing and treating chemical dependencies, emotional problems, and mental illness


based on the idea that mental disorders have underlying causes stemming from childhood and can only be overcome by gaining insight into one's feelings and patterns of behavior


holds an advanced degree but is not a medical doctor; evaluates and treats emotional problems and mental illness

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