Anatomy of the Central Nervous System Glossary of Terms

The following are health and medical definitions of terms that appear in the Anatomy of the Central Nervous System article.

Abdominal: Relating to the abdomen, the belly, that part of the body that contains all of ...

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Afferent: Carrying toward. A vein is an afferent vessel because it carries blood from the ...

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Amygdala: 1. The amygdaloid nucleus in the brain. 2. The tonsils. These...

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Anatomy: The study of human or animal form, by observation or examination of the living be...

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Anterior: The front, as opposed to the posterior. The anterior surface of the heart is tow...

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Arms: An appendage in anatomy and in clinical trials. See: Arm.

Auditory cortex: The part of the brain that is concerned with hearing. The auditory cortex...

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Basal ganglia: A region of the base of the brain that consists of three clusters of neuron...

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Blood pressure: The blood pressure is the pressure of the blood within the arteries. It is...

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Brain: The portion of the central nervous system that is located within the skull. It func...

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Brainstem: The lowest part of the brain which merges with the spinal cord and provides the...

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Bridge: A set of one or more false teeth supported by a metal framework, used to replace ...

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Cartilage: Firm, rubbery tissue that cushions bones at joints. A flexible kind of cartilag...

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Cauda equina: A bundle of spinal nerve roots that arise from the end of the spinal cord. T...

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Caudate nucleus: In each hemisphere of the brain, the most medial of the four basal gangli...

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Cavities: Holes or structural damage in the two outer layers of a tooth called the enamel...

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Cell: The basic structural and functional unit of any living thing. Each cell is a small c...

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Cerebellum: The portion of the brain that is in the back of the head, between the cerebrum...

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Cerebral: Of or pertaining to the cerebrum or the brain.

Cerebral cortex: A thin mantle of gray matter about the size of a formal dinner napkin cov...

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Cerebral hemispheres: The two halves of the cerebrum, the largest part of the brain.

Cerebrospinal fluid: A watery fluid that is continuously produced and absorbed and that fl...

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Cerebrum: The largest part of the brain. It is divided into two hemispheres, or halves.

Cervical: Having to do with any kind of neck, including the neck on which the head is perc...

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Chest: The area of the body located between the neck and the abdomen. The chest contains t...

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Coccygeal: Referring to the coccyx, the small tail-like bone at the bottom of the spine, t...

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Corpus: The body of the uterus.

Cortex: The outer layer of any organ.

Cortical: Having to do with the cortex, the outer layer of an organ.

Cranial: 1. Pertaining to the cranium or skull. 2. Toward the head. As oppo...

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Cranial nerves: The nerves of the brain, which emerge from or enter the skull (the cranium...

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Dura: The outermost, toughest, and most fibrous of the three membranes (meninges) covering...

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Efferent: Carrying away. For example, an artery is an efferent vessel that carries blood a...

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Endocrine: Pertaining to hormones and the glands that make and secrete them into the blood...

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Facial muscle: One of the 43 muscles in the human face. The facial muscles convey basic hu...

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Fornix: In anatomy, any vaultlike or arched structure, such as the fornix cerebri (an arch...

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Frontal: In anatomy, pertaining to the forehead. As, for example, the frontal bone, fronta...

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Frontal lobe: The part of each hemisphere of the brain located behind the forehead that se...

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Genital: Pertaining to the external and/or internal organs of reproduction.

Gland: A group of cells that secrete a substance for use in the body. For example, the thy...

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Globus: A word straight from the Latin, meaning (not unexpectedly) a globe or sphere. The...

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Globus pallidus: A comparatively pale-looking, spherical area in the brain. The globus pal...

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Gray matter: The cortex of the brain, which contains nerve cell bodies. The gray matter is...

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Gyri: The plural of gyrus.

Gyrus: A convolution on the surface of a cerebral hemisphere caused by the infolding of th...

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Heart: The muscle that pumps blood received from veins into arteries throughout the body. ...

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Heart rate: The number of heartbeats per unit of time, usually per minute. The heart rate ...

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Hippocampus: An area deep in the forebrain that helps regulate emotion, learning, and memo...

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Hypothalamus: The area of the brain that secretes substances that influence pituitary and ...

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Inflammation: A localized reaction that produces redness, warmth, swelling, and pain as a ...

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Injury: Harm or hurt. To harm, hurt, or wound. The word injure may be in physical or emot...

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Involuntary: Done other than in accordance with the conscious will of the individual. The ...

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Leptomeninges: The two innermost layers of tissue that cover the brain and spinal cord. Th...

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Limb: An arm or a leg.

Lobe: Part of an organ that appears to be separate in some way from the rest. A lobe may b...

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Lumbar: Referring to the five lumbar vertebrae, the disks below them, and the correspondin...

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Medulla: The innermost part. For example, the adrenal medulla is the innermost part of the...

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Medulla oblongata: The base of the brain, which is formed by the enlarged top of the spina...

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Memory: 1. The ability to recover information about past events or knowledge. ...

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Meninges: The three membranes that cover the brain and spinal cord (singular: meninx).

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Metabolism: The whole range of biochemical processes that occur within a living organism. ...

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Motor: Something that produces or refers to motion. For example, a motor neuron is a nerve...

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Multiple sclerosis: A disease that is characterized by loss of myelin (demyelinization). A...

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Muscle: Muscle is the tissue of the body which primarily functions as a source of power. T...

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Myelin: The fatty substance that covers and protects nerves. Myelin is a layered tissue th...

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Neck: The part of the body joining the head to the shoulders. Also, any narrow or constric...

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Nerve: A bundle of fibers that uses electrical and chemical signals to transmit sensory an...

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Nerve cell: See: Neuron.

Neurology: The medical specialty concerned with the diagnosis and treatment of disorders o...

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Neuron: A nerve cell that receives and sends electrical signals over long distances within...

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Nuclei: The plural of nucleus.

Nucleus: 1) In cell biology, the structure that houses the chromosomes. 2) In neuroanato...

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Occipital: 1. Pertaining to the occiput, the back of head.
2. Located...

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Ophthalmoscope: A lighted instrument that is used to examine the inside of the eye, includ...

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Optic: Having to do with vision.

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Optic nerve: The optic nerve connects the eye to the brain. The optic nerve carries the...

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Pain: An unpleasant sensation that can range from mild, localized discomfort to agony. Pa...

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Paralysis: Loss of voluntary movement (motor function). Paralysis that affects only one mu...

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Parietal: Adjective from the Latin "parietalis" meaning "belonging to the wall" that the a...

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Parietal lobe: Part of the brain, specifically the section of the cerebral hemisphere that...

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Pelvic: Having to do with the pelvis, the lower part of the abdomen, located between the h...

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Peripheral: Situated away from the center, as opposed to centrally located.

Peripheral nervous system: The portion of the nervous system that is outside the brain and...

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Pharmacy: A location where prescription medications are sold. A pharmacy is constantly sup...

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Pituitary: 1. As an adjective, pertaining to the pituitary gland or its hormonal se...

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Pituitary gland: The main endocrine gland. It is a small structure in the head. It is ca...

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Pons: A specific section of the brain formed by the rounded prominence on the front surfac...

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Posterior: The back or behind, as opposed to the anterior.

Putamen: An area in the brain within a structure called the lentiform nucleus. The putamen...

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Reflex: An involuntary reaction. For example, the corneal reflex is the blink that occurs ...

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Respiration: The act of inhaling and exhaling air in order to exchange oxygen for carbon d...

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Sacral: Referring to the sacrum. For example, sacral agenesis is absence of all or part of...

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Sclerosis: Localized hardening of skin. Sclerosis is generally caused by underlying diseas...

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Sensation: In medicine and physiology, sensation refers to the registration of an incoming...

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Sensory: Relating to sensation, to the perception of a stimulus, to the voyage made by inc...

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Spinal cord: The major column of nerve tissue that is connected to the brain and lies with...

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Spine: 1) The column of bone known as the vertebral column, which surrounds and protects ...

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Stress: In a medical or biological context stress is a physical, mental, or emotional fact...

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Striatum: Part of the basal ganglia of the brain. The basal ganglia are interconnected mas...

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Subarachnoid: Literally, beneath the arachnoid, the middle of three membranes that cover t...

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Sulci: The plural of sulcus.

Taste: A perception that results from stimulation of a gustatory nerve. Taste belongs to t...

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Temporal: 1. Pertaining to time, limited in time, temporary, or transient.
...

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Temporal lobe: The lobe of the cerebral hemisphere located down on the side just forward o...

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Therapeutics: In medicine, the branch that deals specifically with the treatment of diseas...

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Thoracic: Pertaining to the chest. For example, the thoracic aorta is the part of the aort...

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Ventricles: 1, The right ventricle and the left ventricle, the lower two chambers o...

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Vertebrae: The preferred plural of vertebra. (The alternate plural is vertebras.) See also...

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Vital: Necessary to maintain life. For example, breathing is a vital function.

Voluntary: Done in accordance with the conscious will of the individual. The opposite of i...

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White matter: The part of the brain that contains myelinated nerve fibers. The white matte...

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