Nervous system – Anatomical terminology for healthcare professionals | Kenhub

You are feeling sleepy, so sleepy. You are very relaxed. You can hardly hold up your head. You’re going to become very, very brave,
confident, fearless, heroic, powerful, unstoppable – at using terminology-related to the nervous
system. You’ll be all this whenever you hear the
keyword – subcortical leukoencephalopathy. Feeling desperate to learn about the terminology
of the nervous system? Well, you don’t need to be that desperate. Hypnosis is not necessary. Let’s try things an easier way. Welcome to the Kenhub series ‘Anatomical
Terminology for Healthcare Professionals’ – saving your nerves from the nervous system. So by this stage of the series, you’ll know
that we are helping you tackle the terminology of each and every system of the body. We’ve been learning how to attack daunting
and complicated terms in clinical practice by dissecting them down into their word parts. Today, it’s time for us to get a grip with
the terminology of the nervous system. So let’s waste no time and get down to business
beginning with the most obvious and commonly used root word associated with the terminology
of the nervous system. Of course, it has to be neuro- or neuri- which
comes from the Greek word ‘neuron’ meaning nerve. You’ll see this root word used for a long
list of terms all related to the nervous system or nervous tissue. For example, neurocytolysis which means dissolution
or destruction of nerve cells or neurons. Now, anywhere you have neurons, you will also
have their support cells which are known as glial cells such as Schwann cells or astrocytes. Terms related to these types of cells often
include the root word gli- or gli/o- with the O at the end. For example, a glioma, describes a neoplasm
or tumor derived from any type of glial cell. Now, a quick note before we continue. Remember, you can reinforce your learning
today by making simple flashcards of all the different terms we encounter in this video. Just add the word elements on the front and
the explanations on the back. Register for free with Kenhub and make your
flashcards even more effective by adding some of our awesome anatomical illustrations found
in our Atlas. Let’s now look at some root words which
are related to the star of our nervous system – the brain. Encephal- or encephal/o- with the O at the
end comes from the Greek ‘enkephalos’ which literally means brain. It is used to describe conditions relating
to the brain as a whole. For example, encephalodysplasia is a condition
resulting from abnormal development of the brain. Moving on from all things encephal/o-, let’s
take a look at the more obvious root word, cerebr- or cerebr/o- with the O at the end. This, of course, comes from the word ‘cerebrum’. However, it is still used to refer to the
brain as a whole. An easy example would be cerebrospinal, pertaining
to the brain and spinal cord. Cortic- or cortic/o- with the O at the end
more specifically refers to the cerebral cortex and is most often used to describe neurological
pathways. For example, corticopontine, running from
the cerebral cortex to the pons. Now when looking at the names of specific
parts of the brain, almost all of them lend themselves as root words used in anatomical
terminology. For example, thalamotomy – the destruction
or removal of part of the thalamus. Ventriculomegaly, which is an enlargement
of the ventricles of the brain. Cerebelloolivary from the cerebellum to the
inferior olive. Mening- or mening/o- as you might have guessed
refers to the membranes surrounding the brain and spinal cord known as the meninges. We all know the term meningitis, a condition
which causes inflammation of the meninges. Next up is perhaps a less well-known root
– myel or myel/o with the O at the end, which can refer to either the spinal cord
or bone marrow. Comes from the Greek word ‘myelos’ which
means medulla or innermost part of a structure. An example of this root in action would be
myelography – the process of taking radiological images of the spinal cord. Also related to the spinal cord is radicul
or radicul/o with the O at the end which refers to the root of a spinal nerve. For example, polyradiculitis is the inflammation
of several spinal nerve roots. And our final root word for this section of
our tutorial is gangli- or gangli/o- with the O at the end or ganglion- or ganglion/o-
with the O at the end which, of course, refers to ganglia. These are oval-shaped structures in the peripheral
nervous system which function as exchange or relay station for nerve signals. Gangliosympathectomy is the procedure involving
the removal of sympathetic ganglia. Before we move on to our next section, there
are two very important terms which you need to be familiar with in relation to peripheral
nerves. These are the terms afferent and efferent,
and refer to the direction of a signal traveling a peripheral nerve. For instance, sensory nerves which are carrying
information to the central nervous system are said to be afferent fibers while those
carrying motor signals away from the central nervous system are described as having efferent
fibers. Let’s change things up a little and take
a look at some common suffixes or end-word elements which describe disorders of the nervous
system. We’ll begin with these suffixes which describe
conditions related to our ability to communicate. Beginning first with -phasia or -phasy which
refers to disorder affecting speech as in aphasia – a condition manifesting in an
inability to speak or communicate. Other suffixes which also refer to speech
disorders are -phemia as in spasmophemia, which is clinical term for stuttering. Or -lalia as in coprolalia, which is a disorder
with the compulsive use of obscene words. It comes from the Greek word ‘copro’ meaning
feces so you can literally say it means potty mouth. Some other neurology-related suffixes include
-lexia which refers to a disorder affecting one’s ability to read as in dyslexia. -Lepsy refers to different types of seizures;
for example, narcolepsy condition causing sudden episodes of sleep. Another important term is -mnesia which comes
from the Greek word ‘mnemne’ which means memory. I’m sure you’ll remember the term amnesia
which, of course, is a partial or total loss of memory due to brain damage, disease, or
psychological trauma. The suffix -mania comes from the Greek word
for madness and is often used for disorders of mental illness relating to an obsession
with something. For example, callomania is a delusional belief
in one’s own beauty. The next stop is the word ending -phrenia
which refers to conditions of the mind as in schizophrenia which I’m sure you’re aware
of or bradyphrenia which is a clinical term for slow mindness. And, finally, we have the suffix -plegia which
literally refers to a stroke in Greek, however, it’s most often used in the context of paralysis
as in quadriplegia – paralysis of all four limbs. The suffix -paresis as in hemiparesis also
refers to condition of paralysis. Of course, the list of all possible roots
and suffixes for the nervous system is long, but if you’ve managed to soak these in, you’ve
made a great start at mastering this part of the medical terminology. So, give yourself a pat on the back. Okay, now, we’re on to the final stretch and
the last thing I want to briefly discuss is the terminology related to the senses. As you know, the sensory network is a part
of the nervous system which detects stimuli from internal and external environments. The signals are generated in various receptors
of the sensory system and then processed by the nervous system. The general senses are received from across
the body and include pain, touch or tactility, pressure, temperature, and proprioception
which is the awareness of body position. The special senses are received from dedicated
sense organs. For example, gustation or taste is sensed
by the taste buds of the tongue, olfaction or smell is located in the nose, hearing from
the ears, and vision from the eyes. Let’s begin with some general suffixes pertaining
to the senses. First up is a suffix -esthesia or -aesthesia
with an A which means a condition of sensation. The best example of this, of course, is anesthesia
– a controlled temporary loss of sensation induced for medical purposes. Next up is -algesia which you may already
know if you have ever taken an analgesic when you were in pain. The suffixes -dynia and -algia are also often
used in relation to pain. For instance, gastrodynia or dentalgia. Continuing on, let’s take a look at the suffix
-osmia relating to the sense of smell. An example of this is cacosmia – the perception
of a foul odor when none exists. Next up is -geusia which refers to conditions
of gustation or taste as in hypogeusia or amblygeusia – both of which mean a diminished
sense of taste. The suffixes -opsia or -opia both relate to
conditions of sight or vision as in photopsia where someone perceives flashes of light due
to stimulation of the retina. And, finally, let’s finish up with one last
suffix -acusis which might remind you of the word acoustic which hints that it refers to
conditions of hearing. For example, nosoacusis is loss of hearing
due to disease rather than aging. And, well, my friends that is it! Another system ticked off the list and another
step closer to becoming an anatomical terminology pro. I hope your nerves are still intact. As with all our previous terminology tutorials,
I’m going to leave you with a little challenge to say ciao, goodbye, adios. Now take a shot at guessing the meaning of
the following terms which are based on the roots, prefixes, and suffixes which we encountered
today and let us know how you did by dropping your answers in the comments below. And that’s a wrap for this video. I hope you enjoyed it. Be sure to subscribe to our channel to get
the next installments of our series where we will be taking a deep breath in and learning
the terminology of the respiratory system. I’ll see you there!


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