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portion of the central nervous system contained within the cranium


largest portion of the brain; it is divided into right and left halves known as cerebral hemispheres that are connected by a bridge of nerve fibers called the corpus callosum; lobes of the cerebrum are named after the skull bones they underlie

central nervous system

brain and spinal cord

frontal lobe

anterior section of each cerebral hemisphere responsible for voluntary muscle movement and personality

parietal lobe

portion posterior to frontal lobe, responsible for sensations such as pain, temperature, and touch

temporal lobe

portion that lies below the frontal lobe, responsible for hearing, taste, and smell

occipital lobe

portion posterior to the parietal and temporal lobes, responsible for vision

cerebral cortex

outer layer of the cerebrum consisting of gray matter, responsible for higher mental functions


two gray matter nuclei deep within the brain, responsible for relaying sensory information to the cortex


ring or circle; convolutions of the cerebral hemispheres


ditch, shallow grooves that separate gyri


splitting crack, deep grooves in the brain


portion of the brain located below the occipital lobes of the cerebrum, responsible for control and coordination of skeletal muscles


region of the brain that serves as a relay between the cerebrum, cerebellum, and spinal cord, responsible for breathing, heart rate, and body temperature, there are three levels, mescencephalon, pons, and medulla oblongata


series of interconnected cavities within the cerebral hemispheres and brainstem filled with cerebrospinal fluid

cerebrospinal fluid

plasma-like clear fluid circulating in and around the brain and spinal cord

spinal cord

column of nervous tissue from the brainstem through the vertebrae, responsible for nerve conduction to and from the brain and the body


three membranes that cover the brain and spinal cord, consisting of the dura mater, pia mater, and arachnoid

peripheral nervous system

nerves that branch from the CNS, including nerves of the brain and spinal cord

autonomic nervous system

nerves that carry involuntary impulses to smooth muscle, cardiac muscle, and various glands


condition without speech, impairment due to localized brain injury that affects understanding, retrieving, and formulating meaningful and sequential elements of language


difficulty speaking


general term referring to levels of decreased consciousness with varying responsiveness; a common method of assessment in the Glasgow coma scale


state of mental confusion due to disturbances in cerebral function, there are many causes, including fever, shock, or drug overdose


impairment of intellectual function characterized by memory loss, disorientation, confusion


pain along the course of a nerve


temporary or permanent loss of motor control


pain that follows the pathway of a sciatic nerve caused by compression or trauma of the nerve or its roots


sudden, transient disturbances in brain function resulting from abnormal firing of nerve impulses



Alzheimer disease

disease of structural changes in the brain resulting in an irreversible deterioration that progresses from forgetfulness and disorientation to loss of all intellectual functions, total disability and death

cerebral palsy

condition of motor dysfunction caused by damage to the cerebrum during development or injury at birth, characterized by partial paralysis and lack of muscle coordination

cerebrovascular accident

damage to the brain caused by cerebrovascular disease

transient ischemic attack

brief episode of loss of blood flow to the brain usually caused by a partial occlusion that results in temporary neurological deficit- often precedes CVA


inflammation of the brain


disorder affecting the central nervous system characterized by recurrent seizures

Huntington disease

hereditary disease of the central nervous system


inflammation of the meninges

multiple sclerosis

disease of the CNS characterized by the demyelination of nerve fibers, with episodes of neurological dysfunction followed by recovery/remission


sleep disorder characterized by a sudden uncontrollable need to sleep, attacks of paralysis, and dreams intruding while awake

Parkinson disease

condition of slowly progressive degeneration of an area of the brainstem resulting in a decrease of dopamine (a chemical neurotransmitter that is necessary for proper movement); characterized by tremor rigidity of muscles, and slow movements, usually occurring later in life



sleep apnea

periods of breathing cessation that occur during sleep, often causing snoring

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