Brain – Glossary
A progressive degenerative disease of the brain characterized by confusion, loss of memory, disorientation, restlessness, speech disturbances, inability to carry out purposeful movements, and hallucinations.
The part of the vertebrate nervous system that regulates involuntary action, such as of the intestines, heart and glands.
The usually long process of a nerve cell that conducts impulses away from the cell body.
A brain disorder marked by extreme swings between mood and energy, between low and high, or between depression and mania.
The portion of the vertebrate central nervous system, enclosed within the cranium and composed of gray matter and white matter, that is the primary center for the regulation and control of bodily activities, the receiving and interpreting of sensory impulses, and the exercising of thought and emotion.
The lower part of the brain, the seat of autonomic functions.
The speech center in the human brain, named for Paul Broca, a French surgeon and anthropologist.
The section of the brain responsible for control of voluntary muscular movement.
A clear liquid that bathes the entire brain and fills a series of four cavities, called ventricles, near the center of the brain. It protects the internal portion of the brain from varying pressures and transports chemical substances within the nervous system.
computerized axial tomography:
Also known as CAT scan, this process uses x-rays to take pictures of cross sections of the brain from many different angles. Computers translate the images into “snapshots” of the brain’s structure.
The frontal area of the brain, responsible for thinking and language.
A branched protoplasmic extension of a nerve cell that conducts impulses toward the cell body.
A condition marked in part by an inability to concentrate, insomnia, and feelings of dejection and hopelessness.
A monoamine neurotransmitter formed in the brain, essential to the normal functioning of the central nervous system.
Also known as EEG, a graphic record of the electrical activity of the brain.
The section of the brain that controls rational decision-making and the processing of emotion.
Shortened name for cells called neuroglia (see below).
A group of deep brain structures in mammals associated with primitive brain functions. The seat of memory and emotions.
magnetic resonance imaging:
Also known as MRI, uses magnets and radio waves to pinpoint the location of atoms in the brain. Creates a clearer image of the brain than the CAT scan, without using x-rays.
A severe, recurring headache, usually affecting only one side of the head.
A white fatty material that encloses certain axons and nerve fibers. It protects neurons and quickens their electrical messages.
The system of cells, tissues, and organs that regulates the body’s responses to internal and external stimuli.
Otherwise known as “nerve glue,” also called “glia.” “Support crew” for neurons. Nine out of every 10 cells in the brain – almost a trillion of them – are neuroglia. Glia make myelin to insulate neurons, help neurons recover from injury, guide neurons to their homes in a fetus’s developing brain, and hold neurons in place once they’ve settled in.
Any of the cells that make up the nervous system, consisting of a nucleated cell body with dendrites and a single axon. These are the brain’s building blocks.
A chemical substance, such as dopamine, that transmits nerve impulses across a synapse.
A progressive nervous disease chiefly of later life, marked by muscular tremor and slowing of movement. Caused by lack of dopamine.
The study of the shape and irregularities of the human skull, based on the now discredited belief that they reveal character and mental capacity.
A small, cone-shaped organ in the brain of most vertebrates that plays a role in sleep and wakefulness. It was once thought to be the portal through which the mind entered the body.
positron emission tomography:
Also called PET, shows the brain in action. A safe dose of radioactive chemicals is injected into the bloodstream. The radiation travels to the skull, where it’s captured by sensors. Computers use these images to paint vivid pictures of the brain at work.
A disabling brain disorder usually characterized by withdrawal from reality and by highly variable emotional, behavioral, or intellectual disturbances.
The part of the central nervous system that extends from the brain through the spinal column.
The junction across which a nerve impulse passes to a neuron or other cell, a gap between neurons.
The practice of cutting out disks of bone, usually from the skull. One of the oldest known surgeries, evidence has been found of the practice dating to 10,000 years ago.
Any of the interconnecting cavities of the brain.
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Source: Evergreen Exhibitions