VI Glossary

Accommodation: The ability of the eye to adjust from near vision to far vision. Pupils constrict at near vision and dilate at far vision.

Anosmia: Partial or complete loss of smell. This symptom can be related to underlying cranial nerve dysfunction or other nonpathological causes such as a common cold.

Babinski response: A reflex demonstrated as fanning of 4 toes with great toe bending towards top of foot when object slid along sole of foot. Normal in children under 2. Older than 2 through adulthood, all five toes should curl downward.

Broca’s area: An area located in the frontal lobe that is responsible for the production of language and controlling movements responsible for speech.

Bruit: A swishing sound heard upon auscultation.

Central nervous system: The part of the nervous system that includes the brain (the interpretation center) and the spinal cord (the transmission pathway).

Cerebellum: The part of the brain that coordinates skeletal and smooth muscle movement and maintains equilibrium and balance.

Cerebral cortex: The cerebrum is covered by a wrinkled outer layer of gray matter.

Comatose: A decreased level of consciousness with a score of less than 8 on the Glasgow Coma Scale.

Convergence: The action of both eyes moving inward as they focus on a close object using near vision.

Dermatome: An area of the skin that is supplied by a single spinal nerve.

Diplopia: Double vision (i.e., seeing two images of a single object).

Dysphagia: Difficulty swallowing.

Dysphasia: Difficulty speaking.

Hypothalamus: The autonomic control center of the brain that controls functions such as blood pressure, heart rate, digestive movement, and pain perception.

Kinesthesia: A person’s sense of movement.

Level of consciousness: A patient’s level of arousal and alertness, commonly assessed by asking them to report their name, current location, and time.

Motor nerves: Nerves in the peripheral nervous system that transmit motor signals from the brain to the muscles to cause movement.

Nystagmus: Involuntary, shaky eye movements.

Paralysis: The partial or complete loss of strength, movement, or control of a muscle or group of muscles within a body part that can be caused by brain or spinal injury.

Peripheral nervous system: The part of the nervous system that includes the cranial and spinal nerves.

Proprioception: A person’s sense of their body position.

Ptosis: Drooping of the eyelid.

Sensation: The function of receiving information about the environment. The major senses are taste, smell, touch, sight, and hearing.

Sensory nerves: Nerves in the peripheral nervous system that carry impulses from the body to the brain for processing.

Stereognosis: The ability to perceive the physical form and identity of an object based on tactile stimuli alone.

Thalamus: Relays sensory information and motor information in collaboration with the cerebellum.


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