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Neurological Glossary




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F-wave
Long latency muscle action potential seen after supramaximal stimulation to a nerve

Facial masking (hypomimia)
Decreased facial expression due to rigidity of facial muscles

Facial nerve (cranial nerve VII)
Predominantly motor nerve supplying muscles of facial expression; also carries sensation (external ear, taste from anterior 2/3 of tongue) via the nervus intermedius and preganglionic parasympathetic fibers to the lacrimal, palatal, and nasal glands

Falx cerebri
Fold of dura mater in the sagittal sulcus between the two cerebral hemispheres

Familial hypercholesterolaemia (FH)
An inherited disorder characterised by a high level of serum cholesterol and early evidence of atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries).

Fascicle
Bundle of axons (nerve fascicle) or muscle fibres (muscle fascicle) surrounded by a layer of contractile cells (perineurium for nerves or perimusium for muscles)

Fasciculation
Spontaneous firing of an axon resulting in a visible twitch of all the muscle fibers it contacts; indicative of denervation

FAST test
"Face, Arm, Speech, Test". Simple reminder of the symptoms of stroke, to help public and paramedics to recognise likely cases of stroke

FES (Functional Electrical Stimulation)
The principle of FES is to replace the nerve impulses to the muscles, that are interrupted by damage to the brain or spinal cord, with small electrical signals. Used in devices such as the Odstock dropped foot stimulator

FFO
Functional Foot Orthosis

Festination
An involuntary tendency to take short accelerating steps in walking that can occur in Parkinson disease

Febrile seizure
Typically benign seizure associated with high fever in children aged 3 months to 5 years

Fibrillation
Spontaneous firing of a single muscle fibre not visible to the naked eye, indicative of denervation or irritable myopathy; seen electrographically as a brief action potential with initial positive (down) wave followed by negative (up) wave

Field of vision
The area that you can see without moving your eyes (or your head)

Filum terminale
Delicate fibrous tissue structure surrounded by a few nerve fibres that extends downward from the conus medullaris to the first segment of the coccyx

Finger agnosia
Type of agnosia characterized by inability to identify the fingers; a component of Gerstmann syndrome

Fisher scale
Scale for grading CT appearance in patients with nontraumatic subarachnoid hemorrhage; higher scores predictive of developing symptomatic cerebral vasospasm

Fibrinoid necrosis
Brightly eosinophilic lesions in the small vessels of the brain postulated to occur because of disordered cerebral autoregulation in association with aging and hypertension; contributes to the development of lacunar infarction and hypertensive haemorrhage

Flaccidity
Severe form of hypotonicity

Flexion
Bending

Flexor
The name given to those muscles which, when they contract, cause a joint to bend (or flex

Flexor plantar response
Flexion (curling down) of all toes (�downgoing toe�) in response to application of a stimulus to the skin of the foot or leg; normal response

Flexor posturing
Stereotyped posture occurring in coma in response to stimulation in which the upper extremity flexes and the lower extremity extends; reflects release of primitive responses from the suppression of more rostral motor areas that have been damaged and is reminiscent of the decorticate state demonstrated in animals with transaction of corticospinal fibers above the midbrain

Flexor spasm
Often painful manifestation of spasticity in which the legs involuntarily pull upward into a clenched position for a period of a few seconds

Floccillation
Purposeless picking at clothing or bedding seen in delirium

Flocculus
Small lobe of the posterior cerebellum; comprises the lateral portion of the vestibulocerebellum

Fluent aphasia (Wernicke�s or receptive aphasia)
Impairment of language comprehension including impaired repetition due to lesion of the posterior left superior temporal gyrus (Brodmann area 22)

Focal seizures
Epilepsy that occurs as a result of 'short circuiting' in the brain, which is confined to one area of the brain

Fontanel
Soft membranous gap between the incompletely formed cranial bones of a fetus or an infant; the anterior fontanel (where the metopic, the two coronal, and the sagittal sutures come together), fuses at 7-19 months; the posterior fontanel (where the lambdoid and sagittal sutures come together) is often fused at birth

Foramen magnum
Large opening at the base of the skull through which the spinal cord and vertebral arteries pass from the vertebral cavity into the cranial cavity

Foramen of Magendie
Midline exit of CSF from the fourth ventricle into the subarachnoid space

Foramen of Monro
Permits communication of the third ventricle with each of the lateral ventricles on anterolateral aspect of the third ventricle

Foramina of Luschka
Lateral exits of CSF from either side of the fourth ventricles into the subarachnoid space

Forebrain
Portion of the central nervous system derived from prosencephalon; commonly used to denote cerebral hemispheres and diencephalon

Fornix
White matter structure containing axons that connect the hippocampus to the hypothalamus and septal nuclei

Fortification spectrum (teichopsia)
Complex visual migraine aura consisting of zig-zag lines or an arc of scintillating lights forming into a herringbone pattern and expanding to encompass an increasing portion of a visual hemifield

Foster-Kennedy syndrome
Ipsilateral anosmia, ipsilateral optic atrophy, and contralateral papilledema due to frontal lobe or olfactory groove mass lesion

Fovea
Centre most part of the macula responsible for detailed central vision

Foville syndrome
Ipsilateral lateral gaze palsy, ipsilateral peripheral facial palsy, and contralateral hemiplegia due to a dorsal pontine tegmentum lesion affecting the paramedian pontine reticular formation, facial nerve nucleus or fascicle, and corticospinal tract

Fracture-dislocation
Fracture through the articular processes and disc with or without associated fracture through a vertebral body due to flexion/extension with axial loading; unstable and often associated with spinal cord injury

Freezing
Sudden, brief cessation of movement; common in Parkinson disease

Fresnel prisms
Clear, flexible polyvinyl chloride plastic sheets composed of a series of small prisms that are used to assess and correct diplopia

Fried egg artifact
perinuclear halo around oligodendrocytes caused by formalin fixation artifact

Friedreich�s ataxia
autosomal recessive neurodegenerative disease caused by GAA triplet repeat mutation in the gene that encodes for frataxin, a protein that regulates mitochondrial functioning; characterized by weakness, ataxia, sensory loss, scoliosis, and cardiomyopathy

Frontal eye fields (FEF)
Region within the frontal lobes from which voluntary lateral eye movements originate; with stimulation (as in seizure), the eyes move conjugately to the opposite side; with destruction (as in a stroke), the eyes look towards the lesioned side (loss of controversion), implying unopposed stimulation from the undamaged side

Frontotemporal dementia
Group of dementing illnesses in which disordered behaviour (e.g., disinhibition) or language (e.g., aphasia) are disproportionately impaired in relation to memory; includes Pick�s disease and corticobasal degeneration

Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI)
An advanced magnetic scanning technique using to generate images of changing blood flow in the brain associated with neural activity. Increasingly used in early diagnosis, as it is very sensitive to early changes in the brain which follow stroke.

Functional
Not due to organic disease


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