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The Nervous System Pathology
Terms in this set (40)
A progressive, degenerative disorder of the brain involving the death of neural tissue that leads to loss of memory, deterioration of thinking and language skills, and pronounced behavioral changes.
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS or Lou Gehrig's disease)
A neurodegenerative disease of the motor neurons of the brain to the spinal cord (upper motor neurons) and the spinal cord to the peripheral nerves (lower motor neurons) that control muscle movement. The disease progresses rapidly, leading to loss of the ability to move muscles in the body. It is usually fatal within 3-5 years.
A broad term for a group of mental health conditions characterized by exaggerated, irrational fears and attempts to control them. Related conditions include general anxiety disorder, panic disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and phobias.
A congenital disorder where blood vessels form abnormal connections between arteries and veins, bypassing the capillary system: usually occurs in the central nervous system.
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
A chronic condition caused by a neurobiochemical imbalance in the brain, and characterized by a persistent pattern of inattention, diminished impulse control, and increased physical restlessness. It occurs in both children and adults.
A flaccid paralysis of one side of the face due to injury or inflammation to the facial nerve; characterized by drooping muscles on the affected side, difficulty closing the eye on the affected side, difficulty eating and drinking, headache pain, and drooling.
An abnormal growth of tissue in the brain. A benign brain tumor is composed of noncancerous cells and does not metastasize beyond the part of the brain where it originates. A malignant brain tumor often contains cancer cells. However, a brain tumor composed of harmless cells but located in an area where it affects one or more vital functions is also considered malignant.
Carpal tunnel syndrome
A condition where the median nerve is compressed or irritated as it passes under the transverse carpal ligament in the wrist. Symptoms include numbness, pain, and tingling in the hand, particularly the thumb, index, and middle fingers.
A general term for a group of nonprogressive disorders caused by events before, during, or after birth such as maternal illness, abdominal trauma, birth trauma, shaken baby syndrome, meningitis, or others. Cerebral palsy affects movement and posture because of abnormal development or damage to the motor control centers of the brain. Cognitive and sensory impairment also occurs in some instances.
Also called nerve compression syndrome and entrapment neuropathy, this is any number of disorders that occur when sustained pressure is applied to a portion of the nerve, either from an external or internal source. Compression neuropathy is characterized by paresthesia, weakness, or paralysis. The carpal, peroneal, radial, and ulnar nerves are most commonly involved.
A group of symptoms caused by the gradual death of brain cells and resulting in the loss of mental ability severe enough to interfere with normal activities of daily living. Dementia leads to memory impairment, loss of reasoning and planning ability, and marked changes in behavior. The most common cause is Alzheimer's disease, but head trauma and a variety of other conditions are also causes.
A general term for a group of mental health conditions characterized by changes in mood, and persistent feelings of sadness, despair, and discouragement. Causes include neurotransmitter imbalances, hormonal imbalances, atrophy in the hippocampus, and stress, along with genetic factors, environmental triggers, personality traits, chronic illness, and others.
Double crush syndrome
A peripheral nerve compression syndrome in which there is a central compression that impacts a nerve bundle (e.g., at the thoracic or pelvic outlet), and a second more peripheral compression (e.g., at the carpal or tarsal tunnel).
A group of mental health conditions related to compulsions around food and weight gain or weight loss including anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and compulsive overeating.
Inflammation of the brain brought about by a viral infection and by allergic reaction in rare instances.
Injury or inflammation of single nerves caused by pressure from surrounding tissue, such as ligaments and fascia. Symptoms include paresthesia, weakness, or paralysis.
A hematoma (a collection of blood outside of a blood vessel) between the skull and the brain's tissue-like covering (known as the dura) usually due to a blow to the head or skull fracture.
A type of seizure disorder where nerve cells in the brain fire electrical impulses at a rate of up to four times higher than normal, causing an "electrical storm" in the brain in a pattern of repeated seizures.
A general term for a number of conditions characterized by sensations of pain above the eyes or ears, behind the head, or in the back of the upper neck. Primary headaches are not associated with other diseases and include migraine, tension, and cluster headaches. Secondary headaches are symptoms of other diseases.
Herpes zoster (shingles)
A viral infection that affects the dendrites at the ends of sensory neurons, causing a rash and painful blisters usually on the trunk or buttocks.
The abnormal buildup of cerebrospinal fluid in the ventricles of the brain arising before or after birth. Causes include birth defects, hemorrhage into the brain, infection, meningitis, tumor, or head injury.
Inflammation of the meninges (the three membranes that envelop the brain and spinal cord) caused by a bacterial or viral infection and leading to serious signs and symptoms including high fever, a red or purple rash, extreme headache, aversion to bright light, and a ridged neck.
A type of vascular headache related to irregularities in brain chemicals and in blood flow in the brain causing significant pain that lasts for hours or days. Symptoms include pain on one or both sides of the head, nausea, vomiting, and symptoms that increase with exposure to noise, light, or physical activity.
A disease characterized by loss of myelin (demyelination) around motor and sensory neurons in the central nervous system leading to fatigue, eye pain, tremors, loss of vision, spasticity, and loss of motor control.
Any disorder or event that causes prolonged pressure on one or more nerves resulting in pain, muscle weakness, muscle atrophy, tingling, numbness, and paresthesia. Nerve entrapment, compression neuropathy, sciatica, piriformis syndrome, carpal tunnel syndrome, and thoracic outlet syndrome are examples of situations in which nerves are compressed.
A progressive neurological disease caused by degeneration of an area of the brain called the basal ganglia and the low production of the neurotransmitter dopamine. It is characterized by an inexpressive face, tremors, slow movements, a gait with short accelerating steps, postural changes, difficulty with balance, decreased coordination, and muscle weakness.
Damage to the nerves outside the brain and spinal cord. These nerves include the cranial nerves, the spinal nerves and roots, and the autonomic nerves. Peripheral neuropathy causes impaired sensation, movement, and gland and organ function. It is often a symptom of underlying conditions such as diabetes, traumatic injury, or a side effect from a medication.
A condition where a hypertonic piriformis muscle compresses the sciatic nerve, resulting in numbness, a burning sensation, a sharp and shooting pain, tingling, and loss of function that mimics true sciatica.
Paralysis of both arms and both legs from a high spinal cord accident or stroke.
A condition where injury or pressure on the sciatic nerve, often caused by lumbar disc herniation, causes sharp or burning pain that radiates from the lower back or hip, possibly following the path of the sciatic nerve to the foot.
Any illness or condition that causes seizures. Causes include head injury, brain tumor, lead poisoning, maldevelopment of the brain, and genetic and infectious diseases.
A birth defect that involves an opening in the vertebral column caused by the failure of the neural tube (the structure in the developing embryo that gives rise to the brain and spinal cord) to close properly during embryonic development.
Spinal cord injury
An injury resulting in damage to some or all of the fibers of the spinal cord causing loss of sensation and motor control. Anterior cord injuries affect motor function. Posterior cord injuries affect the senses of touch, proprioception, and vibration. Injuries to the lateral parts of the cord interrupt sensations of pain and temperature.
A degenerative disease of the spinal column related to abnormal bone development around the vertebrae and reduced mobility of the intervertebral joints.
The result of any event that triggers the fight-or-flight response of the sympathetic nervous system, sending the body into alarm mode where the pupils dilate, heart rate increases, blood vessels in the skin and viscera constrict, breathing speeds up, and blood sugar levels increase. A wide range of events or situations might cause stress including worry about work or personal issues, grief over the death of a loved one or breakup, prolonged pain from injury or illness, and many others. The regular activation of stress can lead to elevated levels of stress-related chemicals like epinephrine, cortisol, and substance P in the blood stream and contribute to conditions like high blood pressure, sleep disturbances, heart diseases, ulcers, impaired immunity, and depression.
Stroke (cerebrovascular accident or CVA)
A condition that results in a loss of brain function due to a disturbance in the blood supply to the brain most often caused by a blockage (e.g., a blood clot) or because of internal hemorrhage. As a result of stroke, the affected area of the brain cannot function normally, which may result in an inability to move one or more limbs on one side of the body, failure to understand or formulate speech, or a visual impairment.
Thoracic outlet syndrome
A condition where nerves of the brachial plexus, the subclavian vein, and subclavian artery are compressed individually or in combination anywhere between the base of the neck and the axilla. Usually compression sites are found between the anterior and middle scalene muscles (anterior scalene syndrome), between the clavicle anteriorly and the first rib posteriorly (costoclavicular syndrome), and between the clavicle and insertion of the pectoralis minor muscle. Symptoms include paresthesia, weakness, and pain.
Traumatic brain injury
Damage to the brain caused by trauma such as a direct blow to the skull, motor vehicle accidents, sports injuries, falls, or other physical violence. Symptoms include cognitive impairment, motor control disruption, behavioral changes, altered states of consciousness, learning impairment, and others based on the seriousness of the injury.
Inflammation of the trigeminal nerve causing intense facial pain that may be limited to isolated episodes months or years apart, or may occur sporadically every few hours or minutes. Most often, the cause of trigeminal neuralgia is idiopathic, but systemic diseases including multiple sclerosis, Lyme disease, or compression by nearby blood vessels or tumors can trigger it.
The feeling of movement either within the body, or in the external environment, that results in dizziness, nausea, loss of balance, and other symptoms related to inner-ear disorders.
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