Astrocytes A subtype of glial cells that supply glucose needed for nerve activity, maintain the blood-brain barrier, maintain extracellular ion balance, and play a principal role in the repair and scarring process of the brain and spinal cord following traumatic injuries.

Astrocytosis An abnormal increase in the number of astrocytes due to the destruction of nearby neurons, typically because of hypoglycemia or oxygen deprivation (hypoxia). Astrocytosis represents a reparative process; in some cases, it may be diffuse in a large region.

Autocoid An organic substance, such as a hormone, produced in one part of an organism and transported by the blood or lymph to another part of the organism where it exerts a physiologic effect on that part.

Axonal sprouting The ability of the adult brain to form new connections in areas denervated by a lesion.

Barthel Index First published in the 1965 Maryland State Medical Journal, this measurement of 10 activities of daily living and mobility is used to assess physical disability.

Blood-brain barrier A separation of circulating blood and the brain extracellular fluid in the central nervous system, with especially tight junctions around capillaries that prevent diffusion of bacteria and large, hydrophilic molecules into the cerebrospinal fluid.

Brain parenchyma The functional part of the brain (i.e., neurons and glial cells).

Bregma The anatomical point on the skull where the frontal and parietal bones meet, i.e., at the intersection of the coronal and the sagittal sutures.

Caudate nucleus The caudate nuclei are located near the center of the brain, one within each hemisphere, sitting astride the thalamus. They are involved in learning and memory (feedback processing).

Cerebral edema Excess accumulation of water in intracellular/extracellular spaces of the brain.

Cerebral ischemia Any pathophysiological state in which there is insufficient blood flow to the brain to meet metabolic demand, which leads to depleted oxygen supply and thus the death of brain tissue. Ischemic stroke is caused by the formation of a clot that blocks blood flow through an artery to the brain.

Cerebrospinal fluid fistula A tear between the dura and arachnoid membrane, resulting in leakage of CSF into subdural space.

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