Glossary of ALS-Related Medical and Scientific Terms
(Presented by The ALS Association Greater New York Chapter)
Select a letter from the list above.
A bundle of fibers that uses electrical and chemical signals to transmit sensory and motor information from one body part to another..
The system of cells, tissues and organs that regulates the body's responses to internal and external stimuli. In vertebrae it consists of the brain, spinal cord, nerves, ganglia and parts of the receptor and effector organs.
In the microglial theory of ALS, the inflammatory immunological response to CNS injury causes damage in ALS. If this theory is correct, it could be said that ALS is a neuroimmune disease.
A physician who specializes in the nervous system and its disorders.
The medical science that deals with the nervous system and disorders affecting it.
Of, relating to, or affecting both nerves and muscles.
Neurons are the nerve cells which make up the central nervous system. They consist of a nucleus, a single axon which conveys electrical signals to other neurons and a host of dendrites which deliver incoming signals.
Neurons use chemical signaling mechanisms to communicate with one another. These impulses are transmitted at specialized junctions called synapses. The sending or signaling neuron triggers the release of neurotransmitters (or chemicals) into the synaptic cleft. From there the transmitters bind to receptors on the post synaptic or receiving neuronal cell. These receptors are the gate keepers of neuronal cells and they open and close to send or receive chemicals that signals which direct the actions and reactions of the cell. Chemical synapses can be excitatory or inhibitory. In an inhibitory synapse, binding of the neurotransmitter causes a change in ion permeability that tends to block the generation of opening of the plasma membrane in the receiving cell. For most cases, the binding of an inhibitory neurotransmitter causes a hyper-polarization in closing of the postsynaptic or receiving membrane.
If an agent provides protection to any part of the body's nervous system, it is said to provide neuroprotection.
If an agent provides growth and regeneration to any part of the nervous system, it is said to be neuroregenerative.
The scientific disciplines concerned with the development, structure, function, chemistry, pharmacology, clinical assessments and pathology of the nervous system.
A procedure that uses ultra high frequency sound waves to reveal patterns of blood flow. It is commonly used to help confirm stroke.
Chemical substances that carry impulses from one nerve cell to another; found in the space (synapse) that separates the transmitting neuron's terminal (axon) from the receiving neuron's terminal (dendrite).
Of or referring to the substantia nigra.
A neurotransmitter found mainly in areas of the brain involved in governing autonomic nervous system activity, especially blood pressure and heart rate.