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Neurological Glossary




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NAD
No Abnormality Detected

Narcolepsy
Sleep disorder characterized by excessive daytime sleepiness and dysregulated REM sleep

Negative symptom
Reduction (weakness, numbness) or complete loss (paralysis, analgesia) of function; implies at least partial or complete failure of impulse conduction in a functional system

Neglect (left or right-sided neglect)
Ignoring or not being aware of being touched on one side, or not seeing things to one side. In extreme cases, an individual may not be aware that their arm or leg belongs to them.

Negri body
A viral body found in the cytoplasm of certain nerve cells containing the rabies virus

Neologism
Made-up word

Neonatal
Newly born [first four weeks of life]

Nerve conduction velocity study
Method of diagnosing the type and location of nerve injury using application of electrical stimulation to the nerve

Network inhibition hypothesis
Proposed pathophysiological mechanism for complex behavioural phenomena and impaired consciousness in complex partial seizures; theory is that the seizures induce excitation in the temporal lobe that propagates to the dorsomedial thalamus and upper brainstem reticular formation, disrupting the normal activating functions of these areas, and resulting in widespread functional depression of bilateral frontal and parietal association cortex

Neuralgia
Pain that follows the paths of specific nerves

Neuraxis
Often used synonymously with central nervous system (even though some suggest that it represents only the unpaired portions of the CNS)

Neurilemma
Thin membrane surrounding the axons and myelin of peripheral nerves; outermost layer of nerve fibres

Neurite
Terminal axon or dendrite

Neuritic plaque
mature plaque composed of a) silver-positive swollen neurites engorged with aggregates of paired helical filaments and round dense bodies and b) an amyloid core; seen in Alzheimer's disease

Neurofibrillary tangles
Flame-shaped intracytoplasmic inclusions in cortical neurons consisting of paired helical filaments; characteristic of, but not unique to, Alzheimer's disease

Neurogenic bladder
Bladder dysfunction associated with a lesion in the brain, spinal cord, or peripheral nerves and characterized by underactivity (failure to empty) or overactivity (failure to store); symptoms include urinary urgency, frequency, hesitancy, nocturia, and incontinence

Neuroglia
see glia

Neuroleptic
Drug that blocks dopamine receptors; antipsychotic drug

Neuroleptic malignant syndrome
Rare, but life-threatening, idiosyncratic reaction to antipsychotic drugs that is characterized by high fever, hypertension, severe rigidity, altered mental status, and autonomic dysfunction; may occur with either severe blockade (high doses of neuroleptics) or sudden depletion (withdrawal of neuroleptics) of dopamine receptors

Neurologist
A doctor who specialises in diseases of the brain and nervous system

Neurology
The study of the structure, functioning and diseases of the nervous system

Neuroma
Tumour composed of nerve tissue

Neuromelanin
Dark brown pigment seen in selected neuronal populations (most characteristically in the substantia nigra and locus ceruleus) that represents the residua of catecholamine metabolism

Neuromuscular junction
Junction (synapse) between the terminal of a motor neurons and a muscle fibre; myoneural junction

Neuron
Main functional cell of the brain and nervous system

Neuropathy
Medical term describing disorders of the nerves of the peripheral nervous system

Neuropil
Unmyelinated neuronal processes (axons and dendrites) in the gray matter of the central nervous system

Neuroplasticity
The brain's ability to reorganise itself, by forming new neural connections throughout life. After stroke or other damage, this may involve nerve cells taking over the function of other nerve cells that are no longer functioning.

Neuro-protective agents
Medications developed to protect the brain from secondary injury.

Neurotransmitter
Chemical substance that transmits electrical impulses between neurons

Night Splints
Splints to hold good position overnight

Night terror
Sleep disorder (usually of children) involving abrupt awakening from sleep in a terrified state; affected individual is usually confused and does not remember details of the event, unlike in a nightmare

Nociceptive
Painful

Nodulus
Posterior part of the cerebellar vermis; medial portion of the vestibulocerebellum

Non-communicating hydrocephalus
Blockage of CSF flow along one or more of the narrow pathways connecting the ventricles (most commonly the cerebral aqueduct)

Non-fluent aphasia (Broca�s or expressive aphasia)
Selective impairment of language production including impaired repetition due to a lesion of the left inferior frontal lobe (Brodmann areas 44 and 45)

Non-REM sleep
Sleep stages 1 through 4; characterized by a slowing of brain waves and some physiological functions

Normal pressure hydrocephalus (NPH)
Clinical symptom complex characterized by abnormal gait, urinary incontinence, and dementia in the setting of hydrocephalus with normal cerebrospinal fluid pressure; proposed pathophysiology is that there is diminished cerebrospinal fluid absorption at the arachnoid villi, which leads to transient high-pressure hydrocephalus with subsequent ventricular enlargement and return of cerebrospinal fluid pressure to normal

Nothnagel Syndrome
Ipsilateral oculomotor palsy and contralateral ataxia due to a midbrain tegmental lesion affecting the III nerve fascicle and superior cerebellar peduncle

Notochord
Embryological predecessor of the vertebral column

Nuchal rigidity
Stiff neck

Nucleus
Collection of neuronal cell bodies

Nucleus ambiguus
Motor nucleus in the dorsolateral medulla that innervates striated muscle in the neck and thorax

Nucleus cuneatus
Nucleus located in the lower medulla containing the second-order sensory neurons that relay mechanosensory information from peripheral receptors in the upper body to the thalamus via the medial lemniscus

Nucleus gracilis
Nucleus located in the lower medulla containing the second-order sensory neurons that relay mechanosensory information from peripheral receptors in the lower body to the thalamus via the medial lemniscus

Nystagmus
Involuntary jerking of the eyes. It occurs in disorders of the part of the brain responsible for eye movements.


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