Glossary of PCS & MTBI Terms

Acalculia – Inability to recognize numbers, do simple mathematical sums or count.

Agitographia – Omission or distortion of letters, words or parts of words.

Agnosia – Loss of comprehension  of sensory input like sounds, sights. Inability to recognize familiar objects despite the physical senses being intact.

Agnosia Alexia – Inability to understand/comprehend written words.

Agraphia – Inability to express thoughts in writing.

Amnesia  Loss of memory relating to events before (Retrograde) or after a Brain Injury (Post Traumatic) Also difficulty in making new lasting memories successfully (Anterograde).

Angiogram – This is a special x-ray which is used to confirm any narrowing of the arteries in the neck or brain. After a local anaesthetic, a fine tube is passed through an artery in the groin up i nto the arteries which carry blood to the brain. A special dye is injected into the vessels and x-rays are taken.

Anomia – Inability to remember names of persons & objects.

Anosmia – The loss of sense of smell.

Anoxia – A lack of oxygen such as the type that causes brain injury through brain’s tissue beng deprived.

Anticonvulsant – Medication used to prevent seizures caused by irregular electrical discharges in the brain (i.e Carbamazipine)

Aphasia – Inability to express coherent ideas or understand spoken language.

Arachnoid – The middle of the three membranes covering the brain and spinal cord.

Ataxia – The inability to coordinate muscles, movement & action to the extent that it effects walking, talking, eating, working or performing self-care tasks.

Axons -The long cytoplasmic extensions of nerve cells (neurons) that conduct the electrical impulses or messages in both the central and in the peripheral nervous systems. They can be several feet in length.

Biofeedback – A technique which uses an external monitoring system to help an individual become concious of normally unconcious body processes, such as muscular, thermal & electrical systems of the body. Helps gain control over headaches & pain etc..

Brain Stem – The rear lower part of the brain, just above the spinal cord, containing the mid brain, pons & medulla oblongata, structures that control breathing, heartbeat, motion & sensations.

Brain Plasticity – The ability of non-injured brain cells to take over the functions of damaged brain cells.

Broca’s aphasia – A form of nonfluent aphasia characterised by slow and ‘telegrammatic’ speech, where key words are spoken, often in the wrong order, but the words that would usually link them into a sentence or phrase are missing. It is named after the French neurologist, Broca, who first associated this form of aphasia with damage to the left, frontal area of the brain.

Central Nervous system (C.N.S) Consists of the brain & spinal cord.

Cerebellum – portion of the brain below the cerebrum & concerned with coordinating movements. Damage of this may lead to Ataxia.

Cerebral Cortex a.k.a Cerebrum – Largest & most advanced part of the brain, consisting of two hemispheres connected by band of tissue. This area is responsible for most cognitive functions. Its four lobes are the frontal, temporal, parietal & occipital.

Circumlocution – Talking around an idea/subject without coming to a point.

Computed Tomography Scan (CT or CAT Scan) – Diagnostic test using x-rays & computer analysis of the brain (not usually sufficient to show a diagnosis of P.C.S)

Concussion – A blow or impact to the head that causes unconciousness but no observable disruption of nerve impulses in the brain (a.k.a Diffuse Traumatic Brain Injury)

Contusion – Injury resulting in localized bruising, swelling & hemorraging from capillaries, can result in Mild Traumatic Brain Injury.

Corpus Callosum – The band of nerve fibres that connect to left & right brain hemispheres allowing them to communicate.

Coup/Contrecoup – Blow/Counterblow type of head injury in which an impact to one side of the head causes the brain to bounce back against the opposite side of the skull, injuring both sides of the brain.

Diffuse axonal injury is widespread injury to axons, a part of the nerve cells in the brain. Nerve impulses leave nerve cells through a part of the nerve cell called the axon. In diffuse axonal injury, axons throughout the brain are damaged. The usual causes include falls and motor vehicle crashes. Diffuse axonal injury may contribute to the shaken baby syndrome, in which violent shaking or throwing of a baby causes brain injury (see Child Neglect and Abuse: Physical Abuse). As a result of diffuse axonal injury, brain cells may die, causing brain swelling, increasing pressure within the skull. Increasing pressure may compound the injury by decreasing blood supply to the brain. Diffuse axonal injury typically causes loss of consciousness that lasts for more than 6 hours. Sometimes the person has symptoms of damage to a specific area of the brain. Increased pressure within the skull may cause coma. Computed tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is usually done to detect diffuse axonal injury. Diffuse axonal injury is treated with the general measures used to treat all types of head injuries. Surgery is not helpful.

Dilopia – Double vision.

Disinhibition – The loss of restraint & inability to stop oneself doing or saying things that are typically inappropriate or socially undesireable.

Dysfluency – Stuttering, repetition or drawing out of initial word sounds.

Dysgraphia – Partial inability to perform the motor movements required for writing.

Dysnomia – Difficulty in finding & retrieving words to use.

Dyssymbolia – A partial loss of the ability to use or understand symbols such as ones used in maths, chemistry or music.

Electronencephalogram (EEG) – Diagnostic tool which records electrical activity in the brain.

Emotional Lability – Severe fluctuations of emotion that appear to be exaggerated or inappropriate responses to situations or thoughts, or that occur without reason.

Frontal Lobe – The area of the brain located at the front, closest to the forehead. Responsible for emotions, behaviours, social & motor skills, abstract thinking, reasoning, planning, judgement & memory.

Hematoma – An accumulation of escaped blood which is trapped in an organ or tissue due to injury.

Hemiparesis – Weakness of one side of the body due to injuries to the motor areas of the brain.

Hemiplegia – Paralysis of one side of the body.

Hypothalmus – The part of the brain which influences sleep, body temperature, sex drive, appetite, long-term memory & emotional expression.

Interical Behaviour Syndrome – A long term, dramatic, personality difference exhibited by some seizure sufferers, characterized by depression, increased aggression, diminished sexuality etc..

Lesion – A visible localized abnormality of the tissues of the body, any damage to the nervous system.

Limbic System – Group of interconnected deep-brain structures which help the hypothalmus prioritize incoming information. Controls memory & emotion.

Magnetic resonance Imaging (MRI) – Imaging test which uses a magnetic field & computer to produce images of the brain or other organs more clearly than x-ray or CT scan. Does not always show P.C.S damage sustained through an MTBI.

Menieres Disease – A condition of one sided low frequency hearing loss with a sensation of fullness in the same ear; ringing or buzzing noises in the ear & severe attacks of vertigo.

Neurologist – A medical Dr who specializes in the nervous system & related disorders.

Neuropsychologist – Psychologist with training in the relationship between behaviour & the brain, including brain function & rehabilitation.

Nystagmus – The involuntary horizontal, vertical or round movements of the eyeball.

Occipital Lobe – The back part of the brain responsible for perception & interpretation of visual information.

Paraphasia – Speech problem characterized by substitution of parts or syllables of words for the actual words.

Parietal Lobe – Upper middle section of the brain which is responsible for sensory & spatial awareness, giving feedback from & understanding of eye, hand & arm movements during complex operations such as writing, reading & numerical calculations.

Peripheral Nerves – Nerves on the outside of the brain & spinal cord.

PET scan – Positron Emission Tomography scan. This is a scan that provides three-dimensional pictures that can show the chemical activity of the tissues being examined.

Phonophobia – Abnormal sensitivity to noise often experienced during migraine attacks.

Photophobia – Extreme sensitivity to light often experienced during migraines.

Physiatrist – A Dr who specializes in physical medicine & rehabilitation.

Pons – A prominence in the brain stem which is located between the Medulla Oblongata & the Midbrain.

Post Morbid – Pertaining to events after a brain injury or similar.

Post-Traumatic Amnesia – The inability to recall events occurring immediately after a Brain Injury, lasting hours, days or longer.

Post-traumatic seizures (PTS) – Seizures that result from traumatic brain injury (TBI), brain damage caused by physical trauma.

Prognosis – A forecast by medical means as to the most likely outcome of an illness or injury.

Prolonged or Persistent Post concussion Syndrome (P.P.C.S)  – Lengthened & more severely debilatating effects of one or more MTBIs usually in cases of over 1-3 years, sometimes PPCS is a life long problem which can lead to suicidal death in extremely bad cases.

Prosopagnosia – Inability to recognize faces.

Psychopharmacologist – Dr who is a specialist in psychiatry & has expertise in the use & interactions of medication to treat neurological, psychological & behavioural problems.

Quadriparesis– Weakness in all four limbs.

Retrograde Amnesia – Inability to recall events prior to a traumatic event (such as brain injury) can span a specific amount of time or certain events.

Shearing – Type of brain lesion often as a result of an abrupt deceleration in movement which causes the brain to continue moving within the skull thus tearing brain cells.

Somataform Disorder – The presence of one or more physical complaints for which an explanation cannot be found.

Sound Agnosia – Inability to understand environmental sounds such as a barking dog without any accompanying disturbance in the ability to understand speech.

Stereognosis – The inability to recognize objects by sense of touch.

Strephosymbolia – Perception of words in reverse or twisted order.

Syncope – Medical term for a fainting episode, characterized by dizziness & sweating followed by a loss of unconciousness.

Temporal Lobe – A part of the brain located beneath the frontal & parietal lobes that plays a part in remembering information, noticing things, understanding music, categorizing objects, the ability to smell & taste and sexual/aggressive behaviour. The wernicke’s area is at the back left of the temporal lobe, it is responsible for hearing & interpreting language.

Thalamus – The part of the brain that acts as a nerve-impulse relay station for information being sent to & from the brain, passing it to the hypothalamus to be screened & transmitted throughout the body.

Tinitus – A condition of persistent roaring, buzzing or ringing in the ears.

Verbal Apraxia – Impaired control of the sequencing of muscles used in speech, specifically the tongue, lips, jaw muscles & vocal cords.

Visual-spatial Agnosia – Problems with understanding external environmental relationships.


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6 thoughts on “Glossary of PCS & MTBI Terms

  1. I am fighting with PCS right now its been about 2 and a half months since my concussion and although certain things seem to get better I am so paralyzed by the fear of what’s to come its hard to get back into daily routines. I just need to know if anyone has ever fully recovered from this?

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