Brain Injury Medical Terms Explained

Brain Injury Medical Terms Explained

Please click the 'Read our FAQs' button to browse through our explanations of Medical Negligence terms relating to Brain Injuries.

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What is agraphia?

Agraphia is the inability to write following brain injury.

What is amnesia? 

Amnesia is a general term to cover memory loss.

What is an anomia?

Anomia is the inability to name objects.

What is anosmia?

Anosmia is the inability to smell.

What is anterior?

Anterior means the front, or towards the front.

What is anterograde amnesia?

Anterograde amnesia is the loss of memory that occurs after brain injury.

What is aphasia?

Aphasia is where people lose the ability to understand or use language.

What is apraxia?

Apraxia is the partial or total inability to coordinate movement, including that of speech.

What is ataxia?

Ataxia is a symptom of brain injury where the survivor has difficulty with balance and coordinated movement.

What does bilateral mean?

Bilateral means both sides of the body and in the case of a brain injury, to both sides of the brain.

What is bipolar disorder

Bipolar disorder is a psychiatric illness illustrated by dramatic mood swings.

What is the brainstem?

The brainstem is the last part of the brain that becomes the spinal-cord.

What is a brain tumour?

A brain tumor is a collection, or mass, of abnormal cells in your brain. When the new cells grow they may either develop into a cancerous tumour or a benign tumour. The cause is not fully understood. There has been a high-level of funding for research into cancer generally, over many decades, but unfortunately research into the causes of brain tumour and treatment for brain cancer has received relatively little funding. Consequently, brain tumour is left undiagnosed for too long, in many cases.

What is Broca's area?

Broca's area is in the front of the brain and deals with speech.

What is the central nervous system?

The central nervous system is the brain and spinal cord.

What is the cerebellum?

This is what has been described as a small brain, behind the cerebrum, they helps with posture and coordination.

What is the cerebral cortex?

The cerebral cortex is the outer part of the cerebral hemispheres.

What are the cerebral hemispheres?

The cerebral hemispheres are the two halves of the brain.

What is cerebral palsy?

Celebral palsy covers a number of different conditions that can affect a person’s movement and co-ordination. This frequently occurs as the result of damage to a baby’s brain, either shortly before, during or after birth and the effects are lifelong.

What is the cerebrospinal fluid?

The cerebrospinal fluid is found in cavities within the brain, which provides nutrients, but also removes waste from the brain.

What is the cerebrum?

The cerebrum is the major part of the brain which excludes the cerebellum and brainstem.

What is the cochlear?

The cochlea is the spiral-shaped bony canal in the inner ear, which contains the hair cells that identify sound.

What is concussion?

Concussion is frequently caused by a blow to the head which results in a loss of consciousness.

What are the cranial nerves?

The cranial nerves are nerves that come from the brainstem.

What is the cranium?

The cranium is the skull.

What is delusion?

Delusion is a belief (that is difficult to dislodge).

What is dementia?

Dementia is the loss of brain function due to degeneration through age or damage to the brain, including damage to the brain caused in a road traffic accident, criminal assault or fall from height, at work.

What is depression?

Depression is an illness highlighted by low mood.

What is dopamine?

Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that brings about motivation and feelings of pleasure.

What does dorsal mean?

Dorsal is at or towards the upper back.

What is dura matter?

Dura matter is the top of the three layers of tissue which separates the brain from the skull.

What is dysarthria?

Dysarthria is where people are unable to control the muscles of their face, mouth and throat, making speech difficult.

What is dyslexia?

Dyslexia is a condition where the brain injury survivor has difficulty reading and writing.

What is encephalitis?

Encephalitis is inflammation of the brain.

What are endorphins?

Endorphins are chemicals produced by the brain, which brings about effects similar to the use of opium.

What is epilepsy?

Epilepsy is an illness where the brain injury survivor suffered repeated seizures, which range in intensity. Epilepsy is the result of abnormal brain activity, where the electrical signals travelling through the brain are disrupted. There are two types of epileptic seizure, generalised tonic-clonic seizures and partial seizures. Epilepsy is frequently controlled by anti-convulsant medication. Epilepsy can be treated by Sodium Valproate but risks have been highlighted.

What is Erb’s Palsy?

Erb’s Palsy occurs during childbirth when the nerves in the baby’s upper arm are damaged. The injury usually occurs as a result of a lesion at Erb’s point, the area near the baby’s neck where the 5th and 6th cranial nerves merge to create the upper point of the brachial plexus.

What is a fissure?

A fissure is a deep cleft on the brain.

What is the forebrain?

The forebrain is the major part of the brain, which includes the cerebrum, thalamus and hypothalamus.

What is the frontal lobe? 

The frontal lobe is at the front of the brain and is responsible for planning, decision-making, planning and conscious emotion. This is an area of the brain which is frequently injured in a car accident or from a fall. The frontal lobe is internal "policeman". It regulates our behaviour so that those without an injury appreciate that certain behaviours are unacceptable. Unfortunately, those who suffer a frontal lobe brain injury lack the ability to recognise unacceptable behaviours. As a consequence, they can be sexually disinhibited, aggressive and offensive (swearing).

What is hallucination?

An hallucination is a false perception of something.

What is hemiplegia?

This is paralysis of one half of the body.

What is hemisphere?

Hemisphere is one of the two halves of the brain.

What is the hindbrain?

The hindbrain is the back part of the brain.

What is the hippocampus?

The hippocampus is part of the limbic system which is vital for spatial navigation and retrieving long-term memories.

What is the hypothalamus?

The hypothalamus nuclei controls body functions, including feeding and drinking.

What does inferior mean?

Inferior means below or underneath

What is intelligence quotient (IQ)?

Intelligence quotient is a score based on a number of tests which demonstrates the intelligence of a person.

What is Korsakoff's syndrome?

Korsakoff's syndrome is a disease of the brain caused by chronic drinking of alcohol.

What does lateral mean?

Lateral means to the side.

What does lesion mean?

Lesion means injury or brain cell death.

What is the limbic system?

The limbic system is the brain structure, for dealing with emotion and memory.

What is a lobe?

The lobe is one of four areas of the brain, occipital, temporal, parietal and frontal.

What is a lobotomy?

Lobotomy is a surgical operation in which parts of the brain are cut in order to treat mental illness. Such operations were carried out in the 20th century, the most notable which, is perhaps a lobotomy carried out on Rosemary Kennedy. The procedure was carried out on the basis that it would calm her mood swings and prevent violent outbursts.

What is long-term memory?

Long-term memory are those memories from hours ago to months and years.

What does medial mean?

Medial means in the middle.

What is melatonin?

Melatonin is a hormone that regulates our sleep and wake cycle. It is produced by the pineal gland.

What is the mind?

The mind are our thoughts, feelings please and intentions.

What is the motor cortex?

The motor cortex is that part of the brain which contains neurons and sends messages to the muscles.

What is narcolepsy?

Narcolepsy is an illness where the brain injury survivor has uncontrollable bouts of sleep.

What is the nervous system?

The nervous system are the nerve cells that connect the brain to the body. They are grouped into the central nervous system and the peripheral nervous system.

What is the occipital lobe?

The occipital lobe is at the back of the brain and deals with vision?

What is the olfactory nerve?

The olfactory nerve is the nerve that deals with the sense of smell.

What is the optic nerve?

The optic nerve is a bundle of nerve fibres from the retinal ganglion to the main part of the brain.

What is the parietal lobe?

The parietal lobe is at the back, but towards the top of the head, and deals with body orientation and spatial computation.

What is Parkinson's disease?

Parkinson's disease is an illness s characterised by tremor and slow movement.

What is phrenology?

It was once thought the personality could be read by feeling the contours of the skull. This remained popular in America and Europe up to the 19th century. In reality, there is no basis for determining personality by the contours of the skull.

What is the pineal gland?

The pineal gland is a pea sized gland that regulates sleep.

What is the pituitary gland?

The pituitary gland produces hormones.

What is the pons?

The pons is part of the hindbrain lying in front of the cerebellum.

What does posterior mean?

Posterior means towards the back.

What is the prefrontal cortex?

The prefrontal cortex is at the front part of the brain and is responsible for planning and organising.

What is prosopagnosia?

Prosopagnosia is the inability to recognise faces.

What is psychosis?

Psychosis is a condition where the brain injury survivor loses touch with reality.

What is schizophrenia?

Schizophrenia is an illness characterised by psychosis.

What is a seizure?

A seizure is another term for epilepsy, which is quite common in brain injuries of Ivers. Brain injury survivors are greater risk of epilepsy and when they do occur, they may be described as grand mal seizure or petit seizure. They are frequently controlled by medication, such as Sodium Valproate which may cause a risk to health.

What is serotonin?

Serotonin regulates appetite and mood.

What is short-term memory?

Short-term memory is memory limited to minutes or seconds.

What is Sodium Valproate?

Sodium Valproate is a drug used to treat epilepsy. Epilepsy affects the brain and can cause epileptic seizures. These seizures are recurrent and unprovoked. Epilepsy often occurs alongside other neurological disorders, such as a brain injury. Sodium valproate works by reducing abnormal electrical activity within the brain. However,Sodium valproate is a drug used to treat epilepsy. Epilepsy affects the brain and can cause epileptic seizures. These seizures are recurrent and unprovoked. Epilepsy often occurs alongside other neurological disorders however,it can also develop from a rain injury, a birth injury or a tumour. sodium valproate has been linked with birth defects.

What does superior mean?

Superior means at the top.

What is the temporal lobe?

The temporal lobe is at the side of the head, responsible for language, hearing and memory.

What is the thalamus?

The thalamus is responsible for relaying sensory information.

What is Wernicke's area?

Wernicke's area is in the temporal lobe, responsible for language.

What is working memory?

Working memory is that memory which the brain injury survivor holds in their head and uses, until such time as it is no longer needed. It then becomes long-term memory.

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