alzheimers disease: The most common form of dementia in older persons that affects many areas of cognitive function. Specific pathological findings have been identified when the brain has been studied under the microscope, although no cure for the disorder has been found.
amyotrophic lateral sclerosis: (ALS, motor neuron disease, Lou Gehrigs disease). A degenerative disorder affecting the motor neuron cells and the motor tracts in the brain and spinal cord.
aphasia: An aquired abnormality in the production or comprehension of language.
atrophy: Shrinkage in size of a particular structure, such as muscle groups, or of the brain.
basal ganglia: A series of structures located deep in the brain responsible for motor movements.
benign: Usually used in the context of referring to tumors that are not cancerous.
blepharospasm: The involuntary closure of the eyes and lids.
bradykinesia: The slowing of motor movements due to dysfunction of the basal ganglia and related structures.
CAT Scan (computerized axial tomography): A specialized X-ray examination that is often used to visualize the brain and spinal structures.
central nervous system: Refers to the brain and the spinal cord.
dementia: An acquired loss of cognitive function that may affect language, attention, memory, personality and abstract reasoning.
edema: Swelling; fluid is retained resulting in swollen tissues.
gadolinium: A contrast agent that is given intravenously during MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) to increase visualization of specific abnormalities.
MRI (magnetic resonance imaging): A technique that utilizes the properties of magnetic fields to provide images of the body.
NPH: (normal pressure hydrocephalus) Increase in pressure within the ventricles of the brain, causing dementia, gait difficulties and urinary incontinence.
neurons: The nerve cells of the brain that carry out neurological function.
nystagmus: The jerking "to and fro" movement of the eyes that occurs when disorders affect the control of eye movement.
paraneoplastic: Disorders that occur due to the remote effects of cancer, such as through the mechanism of hormonal or antibody production.
paresthesias: Unusual sensory symptoms of tingling, numbness or other abnormal feelings of sensation.
rigidity: Stiffness in the limbs or body due to dysfunction of the basal ganglia and related structures.
spasticity: stiffness of the body involving the limbs that results from dysfunction of the corticospinal tracts.
spinal stenosis: A syndrome that results in narrowing of the dimensions of the spinal canal due to disc disease, bony changes ligamentous thickening and congenital factors.
status epilepticus: Seizures that continue for more than twenty minutes without an intervening period of responsiveness.
subarachnoid hemorrhage: Bleeding in the area surrounding the brain, that is usually a result of the rupturing of a cerebral aneurysm in the brain.
torticollis: The involuntary turning of the neck to one side that can be seen in disorders of the basal ganglia.