About Brain Injury

A Glossary of Terms



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Intracranial Pressure

Understanding Coma

Rancho Los Amigos Scale/ The Levels of Coma

Objectives of Neurosurgery

A Guide to Brain Anatomy



Scanning - The active search of the environment for information; usually refers to "visual scanning" which is a skill used in reading, driving and many other daily activities. [Click Here To Return To List]

Scotoma - Area of blindness of varying size anywhere within the visual fields. [Click Here To Return To List]

Secondary Condition - People with disabling conditions are often at risk of developing secondary conditions that can result in further deterioration in health status, functional capacity, and quality of life. Secondary conditions are causally related to a primary disabling condition and include, among others, contractures, physical deconditioning, mental depression, cardiopulmonary conditions and decubitus ulcers. [Click Here To Return To List]

Secondary Gain - The benefit, resources or advantages, that comes from another, primary, event or circumstance. [Click Here To Return To List]

Secondary Insult - Secondary or delayed brain injury; for traumatic brain injury, includes all events other than the mechanical injury sustained at the time of impact. Secondary phenomena may be divided into systemic and intracranial insults. Systemic insults include hypoxemia, anemia, hypotension, hypercarbia, hyperthermia, and electrolyte imbalance. [Click Here To Return To List]

Seizure - An uncontrolled discharge of nerve cells which may spread to other cells nearby or throughout the entire brain. It usually lasts only few minutes. It may be associated with loss of consciousness, loss of bowel and bladder control and tremors. May also cause aggression or other behavioral change. [Click Here To Return To List]

Selective Attention - Ability to focus on the most important aspect of a situation without becoming distracted. [Click Here To Return To List]

Selective Placement - Work situation where provisions are made by the employer to meet the client's special needs. [Click Here To Return To List]

Sensation - Feeling stimuli which activate sensory organs of the body, such as touch, temperature, pressure and pain. Also seeing, hearing, smelling and tasting. [Click Here To Return To List]

Sensorimotor - Refers to all aspects of movement and sensation and the interaction of the two. [Click Here To Return To List]

Sensory Deprivation - A situation or environment where usual sensory stimuli, such as noise and light, as well as human contact, are absent or substantially decreased. In the case of noise, it may be masked by a continuous dull noise. [Click Here To Return To List]

Sensory Integration - Interaction of two or more sensory processes in a manner that enhances the adaptiveness of the brain. [Click Here To Return To List]

Sensory Stimulation - Arousing the brain through any of the senses. [Click Here To Return To List]

Sequencing - Reading, listening, expressing thoughts, describing events or contracting muscles in an orderly and meaningful manner. [Click Here To Return To List]

Sexuality Counseling - Using supportive techniques and special methods to help brain-injured survivors and their families deal with special and intimate relationship issues. [Click Here To Return To List]

Sheltered Workshop - A work setting certified as such by the Wage & Hour Division. It provides transitional and/or long-term employment in a controlled and protected working environment for those who are unable either to compete or to function in the open job market due to their disabilities. May provide vocational evaluation and work adjustment services. [Click Here To Return To List]

Shock, Circulatory - A clinical condition characterized by signs and symptoms which arise when the cardiac output is insufficient to fill the arterial tree with blood under sufficient pressure to provide organs and tissues with adequate blood flow. [Click Here To Return To List]

Shunt - A procedure to draw off excessive fluid in the brain. A surgically-placed tube running from the ventricles which deposits fluid into either the abdominal cavity, heart or large veins of the neck. [Click Here To Return To List]

Simulated Job Station - A work setting which has the following characteristics:

1) replication of all aspects of a job (not limited to job tasks) or a work process as realistically as possible;

2) does not necessarily require payment to the client;

3) the setting is controlled by the evaluator; and

4) it is located within the evaluation facility. [Click Here To Return To List]

Single Trait Work Samples - Assesses a single worker trait or characteristic. It may have relevance to a specific job or many jobs, but it is intended to assess a single, isolated factor. [Click Here To Return To List]

Skill Training - Teaching an individual how to perform the operations of a particular occupation; distinguished from personal adjustment training, work adjustment, and the acquisition of basic employment skills. [Click Here To Return To List]

Skill Remediation - A process in which the aim is to improve skills that have been imperfectly or inadequately learned. [Click Here To Return To List]

Skull Fracture - The breaking of the bones surrounding the brain. A depressed skull fracture is one in which the broken bone exerts pressure on the brain. [Click Here To Return To List]

Small Stature - Used to refer to very small persons; more socially acceptable than the terms dwarf or midget. Dwarfism is an accepted medical term, but it should not be used in general conversation. [Click Here To Return To List]

Social Adjustment Group - A structured group experience that offers individuals opportunities for the redirection of energies toward positive social goals, raising of levels of aspiration, and/or reduction of maladaptive behavior patterns. [Click Here To Return To List]

Social Adjustment Training - Structured program designed to assist the disabled individual to interact with individuals and groups within the community in an acceptable manner. [Click Here To Return To List]

Social Assessment - A social assessment includes general background data, description of family or other support group resources including emotional, financial and environment resources, their availability to the patient, and the patient's position and role in the family (child, parent, spouse) and educational and employment history. Also included are such topics as interests, lifestyle, friendships, goals, ambitions, personality traits, positive and/or negative relationships and previous problems (such as medical, psychiatric, drug abuse, alcohol). The assessment attempts to reveal the patient's and the family's level of understanding of the patient's current condition, probable long-range outcome, expectations of rehabilitation, degree of disruption in family functioning that the disability has produced, and the ability and interest of the patient and family members to adjust to changed circumstances. [Click Here To Return To List]

Social Worker - The social worker serves as a liaison between the professional team and other parties concerned with the patient, including: the family, funding sources, friends, and representatives of past or future placements. An important role of the social worker is to help ensure that if home placement does not materialize, or if home placement is not indicated, the social worker provides assistance to the patient and family for finding other alternatives. [Click Here To Return To List]

Societal Limitation - Restriction, attributable to social policy barriers (structural or attitudinal), which limits fulfillment of roles or denies access to services and opportunities that are associated with full participation in society. [Click Here To Return To List]

Somatic - Relating to, or affecting the body. [Click Here To Return To List]

Somatosensory - Sensory activity having its origin elsewhere than in the special sense organs (such as eyes and ears) and conveying information to the brain about the state of the body proper and its immediate environment. [Click Here To Return To List]

"Space Boots" (Spenco Boots) - Padded support devices made of lamb's wool used to position the feet and ankles of the patient. Without this support and alignment, patients who are unconscious for long periods may develop deformities limiting future movement. [Click Here To Return To List]

Spasm - An involuntary and abnormal muscular contraction; also, a sudden violent and temporary effort or emotion. [Click Here To Return To List]

Spasticity - An involuntary increase in muscle tone (tension) that occurs following injury to the brain or spinal cord, causing the muscles to resist being moved. Characteristics may include increase in deep tendon reflexes, resistance to passive stretch, clasp knife phenomenon, and clonus. [Click Here To Return To List]

Spatial Ability - Ability to perceive the construction of an object in both two and three dimensions. Spatial ability has four components: the ability to perceive a static figure in different positions, the ability to interpret and duplicate the movements between various parts of a figure, the ability to perceive the relationship between an object and a person's own body sphere, and the ability to interpret the person's body as an object in space. [Click Here To Return To List]

Special - Describes that which is different or uncommon about any person. This term should not be used to describe persons with disabilities (except when citing laws or regulations). [Click Here To Return To List]

Specialty Services - Categories identified by the Brain Injury Association (BIA) to classify frequently requested services. These services include: respirator-dependent, substance abuse, driver education, evaluation, visually-impaired and Spanish translation. [Click Here To Return To List]

Specific Learning Disability - Permanent condition that affects the way individuals with average or above average intelligence take in, retain, and express information. The term "specific" is preferred because it emphasizes that only certain learning processes are affected. [Click Here To Return To List]

Speech - Oral expression of language. [Click Here To Return To List]

Speech Disorder - A condition where a person has limited or difficult speech patterns. [Click Here To Return To List]

Speech and Hearing Therapist - The speech pathologist and audiologist identifies problem areas of visual (seeing) and auditory (hearing) comprehension, attention, memory (recent and past), language skills, writing skills and reading skills. The information gathered by the speech and hearing specialist is valuable to other team members; for example, whether or not to use reading as a means of communicating information to the patient. The speech therapist provides instruction and practice in improving skills in comprehension and communication. [Click Here To Return To List]

Speech-language Pathology Services - A continuum of services including prevention, identification, diagnosis, consultation, and treatment of patients regarding speech, language, oral and pharyngeal sensorimotor function. [Click Here To Return To List]

Spontaneous Movement - A reaction resulting from a natural impulse without obvious planning or premeditation. [Click Here To Return To List]

Spontaneous Recovery - The recovery which occurs as damage to body tissues heals. This type of recovery occurs with or without rehabilitation and it is very difficult to know how much improvement is spontaneous and how much is due to rehabilitative interventions. However, when the recovery is guided by an experienced rehabilitation team, complications can be anticipated and minimized; the return of function can be channeled in useful directions and in progressive steps so that the eventual outcome is the best that is possible. [Click Here To Return To List]

Staff Conferences (Staffing) - Formal or informal conferences held by the staff working with a client to review progress of the individual, develop further plans, maintain integration and coordination of the client's programs, and to make recommendations as to further action needed by and for the client. [Click Here To Return To List]

Standards - A set of criteria used to measure the merit of an agency's program. [Click Here To Return To List]

Status Epilepticus - Continuous seizures; may produce permanent brain damage. [Click Here To Return To List]

Stimulus - That which causes sensation (i.e., light for vision, salt for taste, sound for hearing, etc.). When a patient begins to emerge from a coma, an organized program of controlled stimulation is sometimes used to begin "exercising" the brain. However, when a patient becomes agitated, the amount and intensity of stimulation should be limited (e.g., only one task for one sense at a time). [Click Here To Return To List]

Strabismus, External - Outward turning of the eye which may be due to a lesion of the oculomotor nerve (III) causing paralysis of the medial rectus muscle. [Click Here To Return To List]

Strabismus, Internal - Inward turning of the eye which may be due to a lesion of the abducens nerve (VI) causing paralysis of the lateral rectus muscle. [Click Here To Return To List]

Stupor - Deep sleep; unresponsive but can be awakened with repeated, noxious stimulation. Awareness is depressed but present. [Click Here To Return To List]

Subacute - The prefix "sub" means under, below, near or less than complete; "acute" means sharp, severe; having a sudden onset, sharp rise and short course. Thus, a subacute condition is one which has not reached, or has already passed through, the acute phase. [Click Here To Return To List]

Subacute Program - See Options For Rehabilitation Facilities. [Click Here To Return To List]

Subarachnoid Screw - Also Subarachnoid Bolt. A device for measuring intracranial pressure which is screwed through a hole in the skull and rests on the surface of the brain. [Click Here To Return To List]

Subdural - Beneath the dura (tough membrane) covering the brain and spinal cord. [Click Here To Return To List]

Substance Abuse Program - A service offered by an agency to deal with chemical dependency of an individual. The dependency may have occurred prior to the brain injury or subsequent to the brain injury. [Click Here To Return To List]

Supervision, Close-Distant - Refers to the assistance provided when an individual requires no physical help but requires another person nearby for safety. Close Supervision:Assistant stands close to person, ready to give assistance if needed. Distant Supervision: Assistant can see the person and offer verbal assistance but is not close enough to touch the person. [Click Here To Return To List]

Supine - Lying on one's back. [Click Here To Return To List]

Support Group - A group established for families and/or persons with disabilities to discuss the problems they may have in coping with their life situation and to seek solutions to these problems. [Click Here To Return To List]

Support Hose - Anti-embolic stockings. Tight knee or thigh-high stockings that support the leg muscles and thus help prevent pooling of blood in veins of the legs. [Click Here To Return To List]

Supported Employment - Competitive work in integrated work settings for individuals with severe disabilities for whom competitive employment has not traditionally occurred, or for whom competitive employment has been interrupted as a result of severe disability, and who because of the disability, and who, because of the disability, need ongoing support services to perform that work. [Click Here To Return To List]

Suppository - Medicine contained in a capsule which is inserted into the rectum so that the medicine can be absorbed into the blood stream. [Click Here To Return To List]

Surveillance System - A means of gathering data; generally has public health emphasis containing only descriptive information used to assess the magnitude of particular types of health problems, and is geared toward prevention of the problem. [Click Here To Return To List]

Swan-Ganz Catheter- A catheter (tube) similar to the central venous pressure (CVP) line. It is used to measure blood pressure and blood gas concentration in the right side of the heart, in vessels of the lungs and in the left side of the heart. [Click Here To Return To List]

Synergy (Movement) - Combined action of two or more muscles to form a pattern of movement. [Click Here To Return To List]

Synthesizing - The process by which information from all resources is combined into a meaningful whole to determine approaches and directions. [Click Here To Return To List]

S.T. - See Speech and Hearing Therapist [Click Here To Return To List]



Attorney Gordon S. Johnson, Jr.

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