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A   B   C   D   E   F   G   H   I   J   K   L   M   N   O   P   Q   R   S   T   U   V   W   X   Y   Z

 

 

A

 

Abulia: a lack of initiative, drive or motivation that is often accompanied by a lack of spontaneous speech, thought, and action

 

Achievement tests: measures designed to assess basic academic achievement or school-based learning; specific skills measured include reading, spelling, or arithmetic

 

Activities of Daily Living (ADLs): skills that are necessary for independent or semi-independent living; basic ADLs include toileting, feeding, dressing, grooming, physical ambulation, and bathing; instrumental ADLs include the abilities to use the telephone, shop, prepare food, perform housekeeping tasks, handle finances, and manage personal medications

 

ADD/ADHD: see Attention deficit disorder/Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder

 

Affect: observed behaviors (e.g., facial expressions, tone of voice, speech content, and motor behaviors) that reflect an individual’s underlying mood or emotions

 

Agnosia: impaired ability to recognize previously meaningful items that is not attributed to sensory deficits, attentional difficulties, or a naming disorder

 

Agraphia: an acquired difficulty in one’s ability to write or spell

 

Alzheimer’s disease: a primary progressive dementia characterized by plaques and neurofibrillary tangles on brain biopsy/autopsy; for clinical diagnosis, the individual must have experienced a progressive loss of cognitive ability that interferes with their social functioning and other causes of dementia should be ruled out

 

Amnestic syndrome: a severe impairment in one’s ability to acquire and retain new information

 

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS): also called Lou Gehrig’s disease; a progressive motor neuron disease that affects the cerebral cortex, brainstem, and spinal cord

 

Aneurysm: occurs when a weakened vessel wall causes an artery to bulge

 

Anomia: impaired ability to name objects or retrieve words

 

Anoxia: a complete or nearly complete lack of oxygen supply to tissue

 

Aphasia: a deficit in language processing that may be characterized by a combination of naming, fluency, comprehension, and repetition deficits

 

Apraxia: the inability to perform learned purposeful or voluntary movements

 

Asperger’s syndrome: a mild version of autism that is characterized by eccentric childhood behaviors and social isolation, as well as impaired social interactions and nonverbal communication

 

Ataxia: abnormal movement and coordination of motor activities

 

Attention: selective awareness and responsiveness; one’s ability to focus and maintain interest in a given task

 

Attention Deficit Disorder/Hyperactivity Disorder: a disorder with predominantly childhood onset that may be characterized by excessive restlessness, low frustration tolerance, impulsivity, and distractibility

 

Autism: a pervasive developmental disorder diagnosed in childhood that is characterized by communication deficits, peculiar behaviors, and poor social interactions

 

B

 

Bipolar disorder: a mood disorder characterized by cycling episodes of mania and often depression

 

Broca’s aphasia: a nonfluent form of aphasia that is characterized by effortful speech that is often not grammatically correct, with poor repetition, but preserved or intact comprehension

 

Buccofacial apraxia: an inability to perform voluntary movements of the face, lips, and tongue when asked to do so

 

C

 

CABG: coronary artery bypass graft

 

Cerebral palsy: an impairment of the motor system that may be characterized by mental retardation, seizures, or other neurological difficulties

 

Cerebrovascular accident: see Stroke

 

Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS): a syndrome that is characterized by fatigue that is unexplained and results in activity reduction

 

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD): a disease in which one’s expiratory airflow is poor

 

Circumlocution: wandering speech that, after covering various other topics, returns to the original subject matter; also refers to a verbal behavior in which an individual talks around word-finding difficulties

 

Cognitive rehabilitation: a.k.a cognitive retraining or cognitive remediation; a program that is provided to modify cognitive functioning or acitivies following a brain injury

 

Coma: a state of unconsciousness or reduced ability to respond following a brain injury

 

Comorbidity: the existence of two or more diseases at the same time

 

CT: computed tomography; an imaging technique with superior spatial resolution and blood detection to MRI; allows distinction between gray and white matter and reveals any ventricular enlargement

 

Concussion: a mild traumatic brain injury that may be characterized by a brief loss of consciousness or post-traumatic amnesia

 

Confrontation naming: a naming task in which pictures or objects are presented visually

 

Consciousness: a state of awareness of oneself and the surrounding environment

 

Contralateral: pertaining to the opposite side

 

COPD: see Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

 

CBGD: corticobasal ganglionic degeneration; a progressive disease that is characterized apraxia, rigidity, postural abnormality, and slow, involuntary muscle contractions (dystonia)

 

CJD: Creutzfeld-Jakob disease; cerebral degeneration that is rare, infection-based, and characterized by a rapidly progressing dementia; other symptoms may include ataxia, abnormal posture and movement, visual disturbance, or seizures

 

CVA: cerebrovascular accident; see Stroke

 

D

 

Delirium: a condition involving variations in an individual’s level of arousal, attentional disturbance, and impaired goal-directed thought processes

 

Delusion: a false belief about reality that is maintained even when presented with evidence to the contrary

 

Dementia: a generalized loss of cognitive functioning that results from a cerebral disease and is of sufficient magniude to affect an individual’s social or occupational functioning; for clinical diagnosis, memory impairment must be present, as well as at least one other deficit, such as aphasia, apraxia, agnosia, or impaired executive functioning

 

Depression: an emotional state characterized by sadness, a loss of interest or pleasure, and psychomotor retardation

 

DSM: Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders; current edition is DSM-IV-TR; this book contains the diagnostic criteria and codes for psychiatric, psychological, and neurological disorders

 

Disability: the inability to perform or restriction in performing a skill or activity that results from an impairment or injury

 

Disorientation: confusion about one’s current location (e.g., in time, space, person, or circumstances)

 

Divided attention: the ability to attend to more than one task, or multiple aspects of a single task, at a time

 

Dysphagia: an impairment in one’s ability to chew or swallow food or drink

 

E

 

EEG: electroencephalogram; used for diagnosis of epilepsy, toxic and metabolic encephalopathies and dementia; brain wave activity is recorded by electrodes placed on an individual’s scalp

 

Emotional lability: abnormal emotional expressiveness that is characterized by repeated abrupt shifts in affect

 

Encephalopathy: diffuse brain impairment that is not specific and is characterized by a confusional state

 

Encoding: translation of visual or auditoy information into something meaningful which assists an individual in retaining the information over time

 

Epilepsy: recurrent seizures that characterize a chronic brain disorder

 

Executive function: abilities necessary to complete complex or goal-directed tasks, such as the ability to plan and organize, reason, monitor progress, and solve problems

 

F

 

Fibromyalgia syndrome: a disorder that is chronic and characterized by musculoskeletal pain, fatigue, and tender points widespread across an individual’s body

 

Forgetting: the loss of information over time

 

Functional disorder: a disorder of psychiatric or psychological origin

 

fMRI: functional magnetic resonance imaging; a noninvasive imaging techniques that is sensitive to blood flow changes that accompany sensory, motor, and cognitive functioning

 

G

 

GCS: glasgow coma scale; a rating scale of responsiveness in the areas of eye response, verbal response, and motor response; the sum of the three scales range from 3-15

 

H

 

Handedness: a tendency to prefer one hand over the other for most activities

 

HBP: high blood pressure; see Hypertension

 

Head injury: a general term indicating an injury to the head; may involve a cut, bruise, or brain damage

 

Hematoma: a collection of blood resulting from blood vessel leakage or bleeding

 

Hemiplegia: paralyssis of one side of the body resulting from brain injury

 

Hemorrhage: bleeding from blood vessel leakage or rupture

 

HIV: human immunodeficiency virus

 

HTN: see Hypertension

 

Huntington’s disease: a disorder that produces lesions on the basal ganglia and is characteized by dementia, chorea, and psychiatric symptoms

 

Hydrocephalus: an abnormal increase in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) in the skull that results in enlargment of the cerbral ventricles

 

Hyperactivity: high level of activity (e.g., excessive motion, disruptive behaviors) that may be accompanied by distractibility and low frustration tolerance

 

Hypertension: elevated blood pressure in the arteries

 

Hyperthyroidism: excessive thyroid gland activity that results in increased metabolism and may cause emotioanl lability, anxiety, or temper outbursts

 

Hypotension: abnormally low blood pressure

 

Hypothyroidism: decreased or absent thyroid hormone; can result in a dementia-like presentation and excessive fatigue

 

Hypoxia: moderately decreased oxygen supply to tissue

 

I

 

Idiopathic: a disease of unknown cause

 

Impairment: an abnormality in or a loss of structure or function of an organ or tissue that may lead to a disability

 

Infarction (cerebral): an area of cell death due to insufficient blood supply to that area

 

Initiation deficit: an inability to act or a behavior that requires additional cueing

 

Intelligence: a concept that encompasses multiple areas, refering to an individual’s ability to understand complex ideas, adapt to the environment, learn, and reason

 

Intelligence quotient (IQ): a number that is calculated to summarize an individual’s cognitive and intellectual functioning

 

ICD: International Classification of Diseases; a classification of diseases and syndromes that is published by the World Health Organization

 

IQ: see Intelligence quotient

 

J

 

Jakob-Creutzfeld disease: see CJD

 

K

 

Klüver-Bucy syndrome: a syndrome characterized by a tendency to place objects in the mouth, visual agnosia, placidity, and hypersexuality

 

Korsakoff’s: a cognitive disorder resulting from a thiamine deficiency that is characterized by prominent anterograde memory deficit

 

L

 

Labile: easily changed; a term typically applied to mood swings

 

Language: a communication system that includes verbal expression and comprehension

 

Lead poisoning: poisoning that results from the ingestion of lead; it may result in an acute encephalopathy or more chronic effects, including learning difficulties and behavioral disorders; peripheral neuropathy is common

 

Learning: acquiring new information

 

Learning disability: a disorder that is characterized by difficulties in the acquisition of reading, writing, or mathematic skills

 

Lethargy: a state in which an individual is awake but inactive, drowsy, and indifferent to the environment

 

Lewy-body dementia: a syndrome that is characterized by a combination of parkinsonian extrapyramidal symptoms, dementia with delusions, visual hallucinations, and arousal fluctuations

 

Long-term memory: retention of information over a long period of time

 

Loss of consciousness: impaired responsiveness, the length of which is often utilized as a measure of brain injury severity

 

M

 

MRA: magnetic resonance angiography; a vascular imaging techniques that allows for visualization of areas of stenosis or occlusion in the carotid arteries

 

MRI: magnetic resonance imaging; an imaging technique that utilizes magnetic fields and is superior to CT in terms of contrast resolution; T1-weighted images, white matter is brighter than gray matter; in T2-weighted images, cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) is brighter than gray matter

 

Mania: a pervasive and abnormally elevated mood that may be characterized by irritability, pressured speech, and increased motor activity

 

Manic-depressive disorder: see Bipolar disorder

 

Mass effect: when any brain injury results in increased intracranial volume, leading to impaired brain functioning

 

MCA: middle cerebral artery

 

Memory: the acquisition and retention of information

 

Meningitis: inflammation of the meninges of the brain or spinal cord

 

Mental retardation (MR): a cognitive impairment related to development in which intellectual functioning is significantly below normal levels and adapative functioning is impaired

 

Mental status examination: an interview and structured observation of the characteristics of an individual (e.g., orientation, attention, memory, language, insight, and mood)

 

Mood: an individual’s emotional state (e.g., happy, angry, sad)

 

N

 

Narcolepsy: excessive daytime sleepiness with episodes of sleep occuring during the day

 

Neglect: a failure to pay attention to or respond to visual, auditory, or tactile cues in the environment

 

Nystagmus: involuntary rapid eye movements

 

O

 

Occupational therapy: the therapeutic use of everyday activities to increase independent functional capabilities and reduce disability

 

Open head injury: a head injury that results from penetration of the skull

 

Orthostatic hypotension: a sudden decrease in blood pressure when changing physical position (e.g., upon standing)

 

P

 

Panic attacks: acute anxiety episodes, often with symptoms such as a racing heart or dry mouth

 

Paranoia: abnormal thought processes characterized by suspicion or delusions

 

Paraphasia: producing the wrong word sounds or choosing the wrong word to use

 

Paraplegia: bilateral leg paralysis

 

Paresis: partial motor paralysis

 

Parkinson’s disease: progressive idiopathic disease that is characterized by bradykinesia, cogwheel rigidity, and a resting pill rolling tremor

 

Personality tests: tests desgined to assess the personality, emotional state, and longstanding features of the individual

 

PET: positron emission tomography; an imaging techniques that reveals the physiological and metabolic functioning of the brain

 

Physical therapy: involves the evaluation and rehabilitation of limitations to mobility as a result of injury

 

Plasticity: refers to the recovery and reorganization of nervous system functioning following injury

 

Plegia: total limb paralysis

 

Post-traumatic amnesia: a period of time following a head injury in which new memories are not consistently made

 

Praxis: the ability to perform skilled movements

 

Premorbid estimation: an estimaion of an individual’s performance and functional levels prior to an injury or disease onset

 

Prospective memory: memory for events that will be occuring in the future

 

Psychometrics: the measurement of psychological and behavioral functioning

 

Psychomotor retardation: slowed mental and motor activity

 

Psychopharmacology: the study of the effects of drugs on behavior

 

Q

 

Quality of life: the effect of an individual’s health on their everyday life and functioning

 

R

 

Range of motion: the degree of movement that a joint is capable of

 

Rehabilitation: activities designed to faciliatate recovery of functioning following an injury

 

Retention: maintaining information over time

 

Retrieval deficit: difficulties recalling information without assistance

 

ROM: see Range of motion

 

S

 

Schizophrenia: a chronic psychiatric disorder that is characterized by bizarre thoughts, delusions, inappropriate affect, and hallucinations

 

Second impact syndrome: when the second of two separate head injuries results in greater impairments than if the second injury was the only one sustained by that individual

 

Semantic: the meaning of words or how words/items may be characterized (e.g., a dog is an animal)

 

Serial learning: a task in which any items that need to be learned are presented multiple times

 

Short-term memory: retention of information over brief periods of time (e.g., seconds, minutes, hours)

 

Sleep apnea: a breathing disorder in which an individual’s airway becomes obstructured during sleeping

 

Spatial orientation: judging the location of information in 2- or 3-dimensional space

 

Speech: vocalized language

 

Speech-language pathologist: an individual who is trained to diagnose and treat a variety of speech and language disorders

 

Speech-language pathology: the study of speech and language disorders and treatments

 

Speeded tests: tests that are timed

 

Stimulus-boundedness: difficulty shifting one’s focus from one task to another

 

Storage deficit: difficulties consolidating (meaningfully organizing) information into memory

 

Stroke (cerebral): when an aneurysm, vascular malformation, thrombosis, or embolus causes decreased blood flow to a certain area or the brain or vessel weakening

 

Subcortical: brain regions that lie below the cortex (e.g., basal ganglia and thalamus)

 

Syncope: a temporary loss of consciousness

 

Syndrome: symptoms that, when occuring together, suggest a cause, treatment, and prognosis

 

T

 

Tangentiality: wandering speech that never returns to the original subject

 

TBI: see Traumatic brain injury

 

Thrombosis (cerebral): solidified blood within a vessel that stops blood flow

 

TIA: see Transient ischemic attack

 

Transient ischemic attack (TIA): a sudden onset of neurological dysfunction due to blood vessel disease; TIAs resolve in less than 24 hours

 

Traumatic brain injury: brain injury caused by an outside force; often caused by motor vehicle accidents or falls

 

U

 

Unilateral neglect: ignoring information in the space that is contralateral to the side of a lesion

 

V

 

Vascular dementia: dementia that results from cerebrovascular disease

 

Verbal fluency tests: tasks in which as many words as possible are generated in a specified period of time

 

Verbal learning: the learning and retention of verbal information

 

Vertigo: a feeling as if either the surrounding environment or oneself is moving when not

 

Vigilance:  monitoring something specific in the environment over long periods of time

 

Visual field: the entire area of vision

 

Visual field defects: areas within the visual field in which one’s vision is altered or absent

 

Visual neglect: failing to attend to visual information

 

W

 

Wernicke’s aphasia: a fluent aphasia characterized by impaired language comprehension, naming, and repetition

 

Whiplash: an extension injury of the cervical spine due to acceleration

 

Wilson’s disease: an inability to metabolize copper that results in personality changes, liver insufficiency or cirrhosis, and an involuntary movement disorder

 

Working memory: a temporary storage of information for use on complex tasks (e.g., learning and reasoning)

 

X

 

 

 

Y

 

 

 

Z

 

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