- An abnormal widening
or ballooning of a section of a blood vessel.
Aneurysms can rupture, leading
to stroke. Aneurysms
may be congenital (present at birth), or may develop later in life due
to such factors as hypertension or atherosclerosis.
Anticoagulants - a drug therapy, such as Heparin
used to prevent the formation of blood clots
that can become lodged in cerebral arteries and cause strokes.
Antiplatelet Agents - a type of anticoagulant drug
therapy that prevents the formation of blood clots by preventing the
accumulation of platelets that form the basis of blood clots; some
common antiplatelets include aspirin and ticlopidine; see anticoagulants.
Antithrombotics - a type of anticoagulant drug
therapy that prevents the formation of blood clots by inhibiting the
coagulating actions of the blood protein thrombin; some common
antithrombotics include Heparin or Warafarin;
the inability to understand or create speech, writing, or language in
general due to damage to the speech centers of the brain.
Apoplexy - a
historical, but obsolete term for a cerebral stroke, most often
intracerebral hemorrhage, that was applied to any condition that
involved disorientation and/or paralysis.
Apraxia - a movement disorder
characterized by the inability to perform skilled or purposeful
voluntary movements, generally caused by damage to the areas of the
brain responsible for voluntary movement.
- an X-ray of the carotid artery
taken when a special dye is injected into the artery.
(AVM) - a congenital disorder
characterized by a complex tangled web of arteries and veins. The cause of AVM is
unknown, but it is sometimes genetic or part of certain syndromes.
- loss of muscle control in arms and legs, which may lead to a lack of
balance, coordination, and possibly a disturbance in gait. Ataxia may
affect the fingers, hands, arms, legs, body, speech, and even eye
Atherosclerosis - a blood vessel disease
characterized by deposits of lipid material on the inside of the walls
of large to medium-sized arteries which make the artery walls thick,
hard, brittle, and prone to breaking.
Atrial Fibrillation - irregular beating of the left
atrium, or left upper chamber, of the heart.
Basilar Artery - The artery that supplies
blood to the cerebellum, the brainstem, and the back of the brain.
Barrier - an elaborate network of
supportive brain cells, called glia,
that surrounds blood vessels and protects neurons from the toxic
effects of direct exposure to blood.
Blood Coagulation - a process in which liquid blood is changed into
a semisolid mass (a blood clot)
Brain Stem - the brain structure that is the
major communication route among the brain, spinal cord, and peripheral
nerves; controls heart rate, breathing, and other vital functions.
Brain Stem Stroke -
the brain stem
is a very delicate area attached to the spinal cord by thick nerve
fibers. It controls life-sustaining functions such as breathing, blood
pressure, and heart rate. Damage to this part of the brain can cause
serious impairment in this life- sustaining functions. Symptoms of
dizziness, slurred speech and double vision are also common. It may
also cause paralysis on both sides of the body.
here for more information about brain stem
Broca Area - region of the
brain that contains motor neurons involved in the control of speech.
Damage to the frontal lobe can result in a language disorder known as
Carotid Artery -
an artery, located on either side of the neck,
that supplies the brain with blood.
Carotid Endarterectomy - surgery used to remove fatty
deposits from the carotid arteries.
(Central Pain Syndrome [CPS])
- pain caused by damage to an area
in the thalamus. The pain is a mixture of sensations, including heat
and cold, burning, tingling, numbness, and sharp stabbing and
underlying aching pain. Click here
for more information about central pain.
Cerebellum - located just above
the brain stem and toward the back of the brain. The cerebellum is
involved in the coordination of voluntary motor movement, balance and
equilibrium and also muscle tone. Click here
for more information about the cerebellum.
Flow (CBF) - the flow of blood through the
arteries that lead to the brain, called the cerebrovascular system.
Cerebrospinal Fluid (CSF) -
clear fluid that bathes the brain and spinal
- a reduction in the supply of
blood to the brain either by narrowing of the arteries through the
buildup of plaque on the inside walls of the arteries, called stenosis, or through
blockage of an artery due to a blood clot.
Infarction - (See
The death of part of the brain from a lack of
oxygen-carrying blood. It
basically just another name for stroke.
Cerebrum - the cerebrum or
cortex is the largest part of the brain. The cerebrum is divided into
two hemispheres. Each hemispere is divided into four distinct sections
called lobes. Click
here for more information about the cerebrum.
Cholesterol - a waxy substance, produced
naturally by the liver and also found in foods, that circulates in the
blood and helps maintain tissues and cell membranes. Excess cholesterol
in the body can contribute to atherosclerosis and high blood pressure.
- surgical procedure for treatment
of brain aneurysms, involving clamping an aneurysm from a blood
vessel, surgically removing this ballooned part of the blood vessel,
and closing the opening in the artery wall.
Count (CBC) -
gives important information about the kinds
and numbers of cells in the blood, especially red blood cells, white
blood cells, and platelets.
Tomography (CT) Scan - a series of cross-sectional
X-rays of the brain and head; also called computerized axial tomography
or CAT Scan.
- a commonly used anticoagulant,
also known as Warafarin.
Cranial Nerves - There are total 12 pairs of
cranial nerves that originate from our brain and brain stem. Each of
them carries different functions related to different senses of the
body. Apart from sensory functions there are also some that work as
motor nerves or mixed nerves. Click here
for more information.
- small, hormone-like proteins
released by leukocytes,
endothelial cells, and other cells to promote an inflammatory immune
response to an injury.
Cytotoxic Edema - a state of cell compromise
involving influx of fluids and toxic chemicals into a cell causing
subsequent swelling of the cell.
Detachable Coil -
a platinum coil that is inserted into an
artery in the thigh and strung through the arteries to the site of an
aneurysm. The coil is released into the aneurysm creating an immune
response from the body. The body produces a blood clot inside the aneurysm, strengthening
the artery walls and reducing the risk of rupture.
Duplex Doppler Ultrasound
- a diagnostic imaging technique
in which an image of an artery can be formed by bouncing sound waves
off the moving blood in the artery and measuring the frequency changes
of the echoes.
Dysarthria - a disorder characterized by
slurred speech due to weakness or lack
of coordination of the muscles involved in speaking.
- inability to safely swallow, essential for adequate nutrition and
hydration, and preventing food from entering the lungs.
the swelling of a cell that results from the
influx of large amounts of water or fluid into the cell. Also known as bruising.
- a stroke caused by an embolus.
A blockage of blood flow through a vessel in the brain by a blood clot
that formed elsewhere in the body and traveled to the brain.
- a free-roaming clot that usually
forms in the heart.
Emotional Lability -
also known as the Pseudobulbar
Effect (PBA). Emotional Lability is a distinct
neurologic disorder that causes involuntary crying or uncontrollable
episodes of crying and/or laughing, or other emotional displays.It can
happen with many neurological conditions and often happens after a
stroke. Some people describe feeling as though all their emotions are “much
nearer the surface” or more exaggerated after their stroke.
For example some people may become upset more easily, or cry at things
they would not have cried at before their stroke. Their emotional
response is in line with their feelings, but is much stronger than
before the stroke. For other people the symptoms can be more
exaggerated, and some people find that they cry for little or no
reason. Less commonly, people laugh rather than cry, but again the
emotion is out of place and does not match how they are feeling at the
Wall - a flat layer of cells that make up
the innermost lining of a blood vessel.
Amino Acids - a subset of neurotransmitters;
proteins released by one neuron into the space between two neurons to
promote an excitatory state in the other neuron.
(EC/IC) Bypass - a type of surgery that
restores blood flow to a blood-deprived area of brain tissue by
rerouting a healthy artery in the scalp to the area of brain tissue
affected by a blocked artery.
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) - a type of imaging that
measures increases in blood flow within the brain.
also called neuroglia; supportive cells of the
nervous system that make up the blood-brain barrier, provide nutrients
and oxygen to the vital neurons, and protect the neurons from
infection, toxicity, and trauma. Some examples of glia are oligodendroglia,
astrocytes, and microglia.
- also known as glutamic
acid, an amino acid that acts as an
excitatory neurotransmitter in the brain.
Hemiparesis - weakness on one side of
- paralysis of one side of the body.
- bleeding in the brain (Intracerebral
Hemmorage) caused by the
rupture of an intracranial (within the head) blood vessel.
a type of anticoagulant.
Lipoprotein (HDL) -
also known as the good cholesterol;
a compound consisting of a lipid
and a protein that carries a small percentage of the total cholesterol
in the blood and deposits it in the liver.
a state of equilibrium or balance among various fluids and chemicals in
a cell, in tissues, or in the body as a whole.
- (High Blood Pressure)
characterized by persistently high arterial
blood pressure defined as a measurement greater than or equal to 140
mm/Hg systolic pressure over 90 mm/Hg diastolic pressure.
a state of decreased oxygen delivery to a cell so that the oxygen falls
below normal levels; see
extent or frequency of an occurrence; the number of specific new events
in a given period of time.
Incontinence - the muscles
that help control bladder and bowels are
thus making it likely to have an accident. Click here for more information.
- an area of tissue death due to a local lack of oxygen.
a sudden loss of blood supply to tissue, causing the formation of an infarct.
- a group of cytokine-related
proteins secreted by leukocytes
and involved in the inflammatory immune response of the Ischemic Cascade.
Hemorrhage - occurs when a vessel within the
brain leaks blood into the brain.
a loss of blood flow to tissue, caused by an obstruction of the blood
vessel, usually in the form of plaque stenosis
or a blood clot.
Ischemic Cascade -
a series of events lasting for several hours to several days following
initial ischemia that results in extensive cell death and tissue damage
beyond the area of tissue originally affected by the initial lack of
- areas of damaged, but still living, brain cells
arranged in a patchwork pattern around areas of dead brain cells.
Stroke - ischemia in the
tissues of the brain.
Ischemic - an ischemic stroke is death of an area
of brain tissue (cerebral
infarction) resulting from an inadequate supply of
blood and oxygen to the brain due to blockage of an artery.
Infarction - occlusion of a small
artery in the brain resulting in a small area of dead brain tissue,
called a lacunar infarct; often caused by stenosis of the small
arteries, called small vessel disease.
Vessel Disease - stenosis in large
arteries of the cerebrovascular system.
blood proteins involved in the inflammatory immune response of the
Lipid - another word for
small globules of cholesterol covered by a layer of protein; produced
by the liver.
of the Brain - The
cerebral cortex can be divided into four sections, which are known as
lobes. The frontal lobe, parietal lobe, occipital lobe, and temporal
lobe have been associated with different functions ranging from
reasoning to auditory perception. Click here for
Lipoprotein (LDL) -
also known as the bad cholesterol; a compound consisting of a
and a protein that carries the majority of the total cholesterol in the
blood and deposits the excess along the inside of arterial walls.
Stroke - A massive (major) stroke is
not a type of stroke but is the degree
of damage caused by stroke. It is an infarct in a relatively
significant area of the brain. The location of the infarct is extremely
important as it determines which
brain functions are affected. Symptoms of
can be physical or neurological in nature and tend to vary greatly
based on the severity of oxygen deprivation. Massive strokes
can cause death and are the cause of permanent serious
disabilities. Many stroke survivors, who have had massive
strokes, have hemiplegia
and are wheelchair bound. Some have speech deficits
or cannot talk. Also, they have difficulty performing some
cognitive tasks and have very limited return to normal
here to see a list of the more common disabilities
caused from having a massive stroke. Therefore, they cannot
return to work or are considered unemployable. Some
disabilities can be recovered with the appropriate therapies.
(MRA) - an imaging technique involving
injection of a contrast dye into a blood vessel and using magnetic
resonance techniques to create an image of the flowing blood through
the vessel; often used to detect stenosis
of the brain arteries inside the skull.
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
test that uses a magnetic field and pulses of radio wave energy to make
pictures of organs and structures inside the body.
Medulla Oblongata - the medulla
oblongata is located in the lower portion of the brainstem. It is very
important in things like heart rate and blood pressure. It's
responsible for many reflexes in the body, or involuntarily controls,
such as vomiting, sneezing, and coughing.
- pertains to the medulla, the
lowest part of the brainstem. For example, medullary stroke is a stroke
located in the medulla. See Wallenbergs Syndrome.
- See midbrain.
Meneninges - the three membranes
that line the skull and vertebral canal and enclose the brain and
- also called the mesencephalon, is a small region of the brain that
serves as a relay center for visual, auditory, and motor system
information. It regulates autonomic functions, those that the body
carries out without conscious thought, such as digestion, heart rate,
and breathing rate.
Stroke - A mild (minor) stroke is
not a mini-stroke
(TIA). It is not a type of stroke but
rather is the degree of damage caused by stroke. It is an
in a relatively small area of the brain. The location of the infarct is
extremely important as it determines which
brain functions are affected. Most
disabilities caused by a mild stroke are permanent but due to the lack
of severity improve with time and with the appropriate therapies.
Many people, who had mild
strokes, are able to return to normal activities, ie driving, working,
sports activities (running, golfing and most outdoor activities)
Mini-Stroke - A mini-stroke is also known as a
Ischemic Attack (TIA).
Click here for the
- the energy producing organelles of the
Calcification - a disease of the mitral valve of
- a disease of the mitral heart
valve involving the buildup of plaque-like material on and around the
Myelin - a white fatty substance that forms a medullary sheath
around the axis cylinder of some nerve fibers.
a form of cell death resulting from anoxia,
trauma, or any other form of irreversible damage to the cell; involves
the release of toxic cellular material into the intercellular space,
poisoning surrounding cells.
Pathway - A neural
pathway connects regions within the brain to one another or conveys
information from the peripheral nervous system to the brain.
- the main functional cell of the
brain and nervous system, consisting of a cell body, an axon, and
the brain has the ability to reorganize itself after it sustains an
injury, such as a stroke. The brain can form new neural pathways to
compensate for the injury, as needed.
- medications that protect the
brain from secondary injury caused by stroke.
Lobe - the occipital lobe is the area of the cerebrum that
receives visual information from the eyes and the optic nerve and
organizes it into images that the brain can recognize. Click
here for more information.
obstruction or a closure of a passageway or vessel.
Oligodendroglia - tissue consisting of glial cells with sheetlike
processes that form the myelin
sheath of nerve fibers
structure or part that is enclosed within its own membrane inside a
cell and has a particular function.
Radicals - toxic chemicals released during
the process of cellular respiration and released in excessive amounts
of a cell; involved in secondary cell death associated with the
- (paretic) incomplete paralysis or weakness of the limbs.
(PVS) - a condition in which the patient is
completely unresponsive to psychological and physical stimuli and
displays no sign of higher brain function, being kept alive only by
for patent foramen ovale, a hole in the wall that
divides the right and left chambers of the heart. This opening can allow a blood clot from one part
of the body to travel through the flap and up to the brain, causing a
- fatty cholesterol deposits found
along the inside of artery walls that lead to atherosclerosis and stenosis of the
the ability to be formed or molded; in
reference to the brain, the ability to adapt to deficits and injury.
found in blood that are known primarily for their role in Blood
- lack of voluntary movement.
- the pons
is a major structure in the upper part of the brain stem. The pons
controls the amount of air breathed and breaths per minute, which is
known as the breathing rate. It is
involved in the transmission of signals to and from the cerebrum and the cerebellum. The pons is
also involved in sensations such as hearing, taste, and balance.
Finally, the pons is involved in the regulation of deep sleep.
Pontine Stroke - a pontine
stroke is essentially a stroke within the brain stem due to a
hemorrhage, or bleeding of the blood vessels in this portion of the
- the number of cases of a disease
in a population at any given point in time.
(PBA) - see
Plasminogen Activator (rtPA) - a genetically engineered form of
tPA, a thrombolytic, anti-clotting substance made naturally by the
Apnea - Sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder that
occurs when a person's breathing is interrupted during sleep. Click
here for more information.
-a state of increased tone of a muscle. For example, with spasticity of
the legs there is an increase in tone of the leg muscles so they feel
tight and rigid.
Disease - a cerebrovascular disease
defined by stenosis
in small arteries of the brain.
Stenosis - narrowing of an artery due to
the buildup of plaque on the inside wall of the artery.
Stroke Belt - an area of the southeastern
United States with the highest stroke mortality rate in the country.
Stroke Buckle - three southeastern states, North
Carolina, South Carolina, and Georgia, that have an extremely high
stroke mortality rate.
- A cause of some strokes in which arteries on the surface of the brain
It is usually caused by a rupture
of a intracranial aneurysm.
Temporal Lobe - the temporal
lobe is the area of the cerebrum that directs sensory functions used in
hearing, language, both speaking and comprehension. It also has roles
in vision, memory, and emotions.
here for more information.
- a structure in the middle of
the brain that is located
between the cerebral cortex and the midbrain. The thalamus is composed
of two parts often referred to as lobes. These lobes are symmetrical
and are about the size of a walnut. It works to correlate several
important processes, including consciousness, sleep
and sensory interpretation. Click here for more information.
Factors - chemicals released by Leukocytes and other
cells that cause secondary cell death during the inflammatory immune
response associated with the
Plasminogen Activator (tPA) - a
protein involved in the breakdown of blood clots. Because
it works on the clotting system, tPA is used in clinical medicine to
treat only embolic or thrombotic stroke. Click here for more
Thrombosis - A blockage of blood flow
through a vessel in the brain by a blood clot that formed in the brain
Vertebral Artery - one of two blood vessels that run
up the back of the neck and join at the base of the skull to form the
Syndrome - Wallenberg syndrome is a rare condition
in which an infarction, or stroke, occurs in the lateral medulla. The lateral
medulla is a part of the brain stem.
The medulla helps transfer messages to the
spinal cord and the thalamus in the brain from the body and controls
breathing, heart function, blood vessel function, digestion, sneezing,
- a commonly used anticoagulant,
also known as Coumadin.
Area - region of the brain that contains motor neurons
involved in the comprehension of speech. Damage to the temporal lobe
may result in a language disorder known as Wernicke aphasia.