Glossary of Medical Terms

Aneurysm – Swelling in the wall of an artery which may rupture leading to bleeding.

Aphasia – A communication disorder where the person loses the ability to use or understand language.

Axon – An extension from the cell that carries nerve impulses.

Brain Stem – part of the brain responsible for breathing, heart rate and blood pressure.

Cerebellum – part of the brain which is responsible for basic movement, balance and posture.

Cognitive skills – mental abilities such as remembering, attention, understanding, problems solving, thinking and planning.

Coma – state of unconsciousness measured by the Glasgow Coma Scale.

Concussion – brief unconsciousness after a blow to the head.

Corpus Callosum – the part of the brain that separates the left and the right side of the brain. Damage to this area can cause problems with the two sides of the brain working together.

Cortex – the surface of the brain which does assist with some executive functions.

Diffuse Axonal Injury – widespread tearing of the nerve fibres across the brain.

Embolism – Sudden block of an artery by a clot.

Executive functions – planning, organising, problem solving, prioritising, self-monitoring, controlling behaviour and judgement.

Focal Lesion – damage usually restricted to one particular area of the brain.

Frontal lobe – The area primarily concerned with planning, organising, attention and the control and regulation of behaviour and emotion. This usually affects personality.

Glasgow Coma Scale – A score given to patients with a brain injury measuring the degree of consciousness. A score of 8 or less indicates that a person is in a coma. The minimum score is 3 and the maximum is 15. Someone with 15 would generally be able to speak, obey instructions and respond.

Hippocampus - the portion of the cerebral hemispheres in the basal medial part of the temporal lobe. This part of the brain is important for learning and memory, for converting short term memory to more permanent memory.

Labile – an inability to control emotions.

Neurologist – a medical expert who specialises in the brain.

Neuron - the basic building block of the brain; these cells receive input from other nerve cells and distribute information to other neurons; the information integration underlies the simplest and most complex of our thoughts and behaviour.

Neuropsychologist – an expert who specialising in studying brain behaviour and the impact on relationships.

Neurosurgeon – an expert who specialises in operating on those with brain injury.

Occipital Lobe – the part of the brain which affects vision.

Parietal Lobe – the part of the brain which affects the awareness of space.

Post Traumatic Amnesia – An inability to remember continuous events after the injury even when the patient appears to be awake.

Persistent Vegetative State – No meaningful awareness of self or surroundings with no adaptive response to stimuli and no ability to communicate.

Rehabilitation – Treatment focusing on working towards optimal physical, mental and social potential.

Retrograde Amnesia – An inability to remember things that happened before the injury.

Stroke – A disruption of the blood supply to the part of the brain from a blocked or burst blood vessel.

Subarachnoid Haemorrhage – Often caused by a burst cerebral aneurysm leading to a layer of blood under the arachnoid.

Temporal Lobe – the part of the brain usually affecting speech and language mainly communication.

Traumatic Brain Injury – damage to the brain.

Head Injury UK: Free Initial Consultation

If you or a loved one has suffered a brain injury it is vital you receive specialist legal advice.

Contact us for your free initial consultation.

What our clients say

We know that we have been extremely fortunate to have had such a consummate PI lawyer in Andy acting on our behalf but we have also been blessed by having had his support, trust, friendship and loyalty throughout. We cannot ever thank him enough.

The compensation Nicola has received has helped her move from a tiny council flat into a massive bungalow which has been specifically adapted. It has enabled her to have a better life.

If it was not for the help of my solicitor I don't know where I would have been today. He provided a great deal of emotional support and secured compensation at various stages from the insurance company to fund my treatment and allow me to live. He was there from start to finish.

Higgs & Sons acted for us for 5 years until our daughters claim for personal injuries was finally settled. Ian remains a trustee of our daughters trust fund and we now look upon him as a friend.

Latest News

Specialist Head Injury UK Solicitor Jenny Shone comments on some of the issues surrounding claims for Neonatal Meningitis

Interpretation of CTG's

Dudley mother wins substantial payout from Dudley Hospital for premature disharge.

Cycle helmets reduce significantly the chance of serious head injury, according to a recent study which looked at cycle helmet use by 64,000 injured cyclists.  Overall, cycle helmets reduced the chance of a serious head injury by nearly 70%.

Anger is a common problem for people after suffering a brain injury.  Making their behaviour unpredictable and aggressive, Headway has prepared some tips to help loved ones deal with such anger.