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Neurological Glossary




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Babinski response
Extension of the great toe on stimulation of the sole of the foot, signifying a lesion of the corticospinal tract (a.k.a., upgoing toe); see also plantar response

Balint syndrome
Syndrome comprising paralysis of visual fixation, optic ataxia, and impairment of visual fixation due to bilateral lesions of the parietal and occipital lobes

Barthel Index
Widely used in hospitals to assess patients' level of dependence and need for support in activities of daily living, such as toilet use, dressing, feeding, mobility, etc.

Basal ganglia
Large subcortical nuclear masses consisting of the caudate, putamen, globus pallidus, subthalamus, and substantia nigra; part of the motor system that permits chosen and inhibits unwanted movement

Basilar artery
Large brainstem artery located on the ventral surface of the pons formed by the joining of the two vertebral arteries and bifurcating into the posterior cerebral arteries; supplies blood to cerebral circulation and ventral pons

Basilar migraine
form of migraine characterized by a visual aura followed by an often occipital headache and one or more of the following symptoms: dysarthria, vertigo, tinnitus, decreased hearing, diplopia, blindness, ataxia, bilateral paresthesia, bilateral paresis, and impaired cognition

Behavioral symptom
Complex changes in personality and behaviour

Bell�s palsy (idiopathic facial paralysis)
Cranial neuritis affecting the facial nerve thought to be due to reactivation of the herpes simplex virus; results in lower motor neuron facial weakness, hyperacusis, taste disturbance, and impaired lacrimation

Bell's phenomenon
Fluttering of the eyes upward when closed eyelids are opened by the examiner

Benedikt Syndrome
Ipsilateral oculomotor palsy and contralateral hemichoreoathetosis due to lesion of the ventral midbrain tegmentum affecting the IIII nerve fascicles and the red nucleus

Berry aneurysm
Small saccular aneurysm of an intracranial artery

Bilateral
On both sides of the body

Binswanger�s disease (subcortical leukoencephalopathy)
Degenerative white matter disease producing dementia due to hypertensive microvascular changes lipohyalinosis of the small arteries and fibrinoid necrosis of the larger vessels inside the brain.

Blepharospasm
Excessive involuntary contraction of the orbicularis oculi sometimes resulting in functional blindness; a focal dystonia

Blood-brain barrier
Specialized system of capillary endothelial cells that strictly limits transport into the brain through both physical (tight junctions) and metabolic (enzymes) barriers

Bobath
An important approach to rehabilitation in the care of patients with injuries to the brain or spinal cord

Botox (botulinum toxin)
A highly toxic protein, sometimes used in minute amounts as a muscle relaxant in cases of painful spasm

Brachial
Relating to the arm

Brachium
Anatomical structure comprising a collection of axons that resemble an arm

Brachycephaly (acrocephaly)
Premature fusion of bilateral coronal sutures producing a foreshortened skull

Bradykinesia
Slowed movement due to dysfunction of the basal ganglia and related structures

Bradyphrenia
slowing of thought processes that can occur in Parkinson disease or as a side effect of antipsychotic medications

Brainstem
Medulla, pons, and midbrain

Brainstem auditory evoked potentials (BAEP)
Series of waves that reflect sequential activation of neural structures along the auditory pathways following a brief click or tone transmitted via an earphone or headphone and measured by surface electrodes placed at the vertex of the scalp and ear lobes; provides information regarding auditory function and hearing sensitivity and used to screen for retrocochlear pathology (e.g., acoustic neuroma), universal newborn hearing screening, and intraoperative monitoring

Broca�s aphasia
See aphasia

Brodmann's areas
Distinct regions of the cerebral cortex recognized by variations in cell size, density, and thickness of the cortical layers

Brown Sequard syndrome
Spinal cord injury syndrome associated with damage to one lateral half of the spinal cord (spinal hemisection) resulting in ipsilateral weakness and loss of vibration proprioception and contralateral loss of pain sensation

Brace
A body support aimed at keeping the trunk straight

Brain scan
Computerised imaging technique used to create pictures of the brain: using X-rays (CT scan) or magnetic fields and radio waves (MRI scan, f-MRI scan)

Brainstem
The stem-like part of the brain, which links the two halves of the brain to the spinal cord. It contains some vital nerve cells involved with breathing, the heart, the eyes and many other important functions

Brainstem stroke
A stroke in the brainstem, either from a clot or haemorrhage, resulting in the interruption of messages to and from the brain.

Breath control
Technique of controlling the breath used for relaxation and in meditation.

Brudzinski�s sign
Involuntary flexion of the hips in response to passive flexion of the neck; indicative of meningeal irritation

Brunnstrom therpay
Type of rehabilitation that assesses muscle tone and voluntary control of movement patterns in a stroke patient. Results indicate the patient's progress through stages of recovery.

Buxism
Grinding one's teeth while asleep

Bobath therapy
Physical therapy which aims to improve posture and movement

Botulinum toxin
A drug which can reduce spasticity [tightness] in muscles

Bulbar
Pertaining to the lower cranial nerve nuclei

Burst fracture
Compression fracture of vertebral body with expansion in sagittal and coronal planes due to axial loading; unstable and often associated with spinal cord injury


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