Chapter 8 Pathological Conditions

Alzheimers disease

deterioration of a person's intellectual functioning. AD is progressive and extremely debilitating. Begins with minor memory loss and progresses to complete loss of mental, emotional, and physical functioning, frequently occurring in persons over 65

amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)

a severe weakening and wasn't of the involved muscles groups usually beginning with the hands and progressing to the shoulders, upper arms, and legs.
caused by decreased nerve innervation to the muscle groups.


an absence of the brain and spinal cord at birth, a congenital disorder.

Bell's palsy

temporary or permanent unilateral weakness or paralysis of the muscles in the face following trauma to the face, and unknown infect, or a tumor pressing on the facial nerve rendering it paralyzed.

brain abscess

a localized accumulation of pus located anywhere in the brain tissue due to an infectious process - either a primary local infection or an infection secondary to another infectious process in the body.

carpal tunnel syndrome

a pinging or compression of the media nerve within the carpal tunnel due to inflammation and swelling of the tendons, causing intermittent or continuous pain that is greatest at night.

cerebral concussion

a brief interruption of brain function, usually with a loss of consciousness lasting for a few seconds.

cerebral contusion

a small, scattered venous hemorrhage in the brain occurring when the brain strikes in the inner skull

cerebral palsy (CP)

a collective term used to describe congenital brain damage that is permanent but not progressive. it is characterized by the child's lack of control of voluntary muscles.

cerebrovascular accident (CVA)

involves death of a specific portion of brain tissue, resulting from a decrease in blood flow to that area of the brain; also called stroke

degenerative disk

the deterioration of the intervertebral disk, usually due to constant motion and wear on the disk


inflammation of the brain or spinal cord tissue largely caused by a virus that enters the CNS when the person experiences a viral disease such as measles or mumps or through the bite of a mosquito or tick


syndrome of recurring episodes of excessive irregular electrical activity of the brain resulting in involuntary muscles movements called seizures.

grand mal seizure

epileptic seizure characterized by a sudden loss of consciousness and by generalized involuntary muscular contraction, vacillating between rigid body extension and an alternating contracting and relaxing of muscles.

petit mal seizure

a small seizure in which there is a sudden temporary loss of consciousness lasting only a few seconds; also known as an absence seizure

Guillain - Barre syndrom

acute polyneuritis (inflammation of many nerves) of the PNS in which the myelin sheaths on the axons are destroyed, resulting in decreased nerve impulses, loss of reflex response, and sudden muscle weakness, which usually follows a viral gastrointestinal

headache (cephalalgia)

involves pain anywhere within the cranial cavity. it may be chronic or acute and may occur as a result of a disease process or be totally benign. the majority of headaches are transient and produce mild pain relieved by a mild analgesic

migraine headache

a recurring, pulsating, vascular headache usually developing on one side of the head. it is characterized by a slow onset that may be preceded by an aura, during which a sensory disturbance occurs such as confusion, or some visual interference.

cluster headache

occurs typically two to three hours after falling asleep; described as extreme pain around one eye that wakens the person from sleep

tension headache

occurs from long, endured contraction of the skeletal muscles around the face, scalp, upper back, and neck

hematoma, epidural

a collection of blood located above the dura mater and just below the skull

hematoma subdural

a collection of blood below the dura mater and above the arachnid layer of the meninges

herniated disk

a rupture or herniation of the disk center through the disk wall and into the spinal canal, causing pressure on the spinal cord or nerve roots

huntingtons chorea

an inherited neurological disease characterized by rapid, jerk, involuntary movements and increasing dementia due to the effects of the basal ganglia on the neurons


abnormal increase of cerebrospinal fluid in the brain that causes the ventricles of the brain to dilate, resulting in an increase head circumference in the infant with open fontanels; a congenital disorder

intracranial tumors

occurs in any structural region of the brain. they may be malignant or benign, classified as primary or secondary, named according to the tissue from which they originate.

primary intracranial tumors

arise from gliomas, malignant glial cells that are a support for nerve tissue, and from tumors that arise from the meninges

metastatic intracranial tumors (secondary)

occurs as a result of metastasis from a primary site such as the lung or breast. they occur more frequently than primary neoplasms.

meningitis (acute bacterial)

serious bacterial infection of the meninges - the covering of the brain and spinal cord - that can have residual debilitating effects or even a fatal outcome if not diagnosed and treated promptly with appropriate antibiotic therapy

multiple sclerosis (MS)

a degenerative inflammatory disease of the CNS attacking the myelin sheath in the spinal cord and brain, leaving it sclerosed (hardened) or scarred and interrupting the flow of nerve impulses

myasthenia gravis

chronic progressive neuromuscular disorder causing sever skeletal muscle weakness and fatigue which occurs at different levels of severity


a rare syndrome of uncontrolled sudden attacks of sleep. the main features are daytime sleepiness and cataplexy.


highly malignant tumor of the sympathetic nervous system

parkinsons disease

degenerative, slowly progressive deterioration of nerves in the brains stems motor system characterized by a gradual onset of symptoms such as a stooped posture with the body flexed forward; a bowed neck; a shuffling gait; pill rolling gestures' an expres

peripheral neuritis

general term indicating inflammation of one or more peripheral nerves, the effects being dependent on the particular nerve involved


infectious viral disease entering through the upper respiratory tract and affecting the ability of spinal cord and brain motor neurons to receive stimulation.
muscles affected become paralyzed without the motor nerve stimulation.

postpolio syndrome

progressive weakness occurring at least 30 years after the initial poliomyelitis attack

reyes syndrome

an acute brain encephalopathy along with fatty infiltration of the internal organs that may follow acute viral infections; between 5-11, fatal result.

skull fracture (depressed)

a broken segment of the skull bone thrust into the brain as a result of a direct force, usually a blunt object, is a skull fracture.

spina bifida cystica

a congenital defect of the CNS in which the back portion of one or more vertebrae is not closed normally and a cyst protrudes through the opening in the back, usually at the level of the fifth lumbar or first sacral vertebrae


cystlike sac covered with skin or a thin membrane protruding through the bony defect in the vertebrae containing meninges and CSF.


cystlike sac covered with skin or a thin membrane protruding through the bony defect in the vertebrae that contains meninges, CSF, and spinal cord segments.

spinda bifida occulta

a congenital defect of the CNS in which the back portion of one or more vertebrae is not closed.
a dimpling over the area may occur

spinal cord injuries (paraplegia and quadriplegia)

severe injuries to the spinal cord, such as vertebral dislocation or vertebral fractures, resulting in impairment of spinal cord function below the level of the injury.


paralysis of the lower extremities. caused by severe injury to the spinal cord in the thoracic or lumbar region. loss of sensory and motor control.


follows severe trauma to the spinal cord between the fifth and seventh cervical vertebrae genially resulting in loss of motor and sensory function below the level of injury.

Tay-Sachs disease

congenital disorder caused by altered lipid metabolism, resulting from enzyme deficiency.

trigeminal neuralgia

short periods of severe unilateral pain, which radiates along the fifth cranial nerve.