Glossary
  • ABCs of trauma management: Breathing and Circulation. Stands for airway, breathing and circulation. The protocol was originally developed as a memory aid for rescuers performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation. The most widely known use is in the care of the unconscious or unresponsive patient, although it is also used as a reminder of the priorities for assessment and treatment of patients in many acute medical and trauma situations, from first-aid to hospital medical treatment.
  • Abdominal binder: a bandage or elasticised wrap that is applied around the lower part of the torso to support the abdomen.
  • ACE inhibitors: a pharmaceutical drug used primarily for the treatment of hypertension and congestive heart failure. ACE inhibitors inhibit angiotensin-converting enzyme (a component of the blood pressure-regulating renin-angiotensin system), thereby decreasing the tension of blood vessels and blood volume, thus lowering blood pressure.
  • Action Potential: a short-lasting (~one thousandth of a second) event where the cell membrane potential (electrical difference across the cell wall) rapidly rises and falls. Action potentials occur in excitable cells, which include neurons, muscle cells, and some endocrine cells. Neuronal action potentials are conducted along an axon and are used to signal activation of that neuron. Action potentials are important for rapid cell-to-cell communication between neurons, especially over long distances, such as between the brain and spinal cord. Action potentials are also called "nerve impulses"."
  • Activities of Daily Living (ADL): activities involved in self-care, sphincter management and mobility, such as bathing, dressing, eating, and other skills necessary for independent living.
  • Adaptive Technologies: a type of assistive technology that include customised systems that help individual students move, communicate, and control their environments. Adaptive technologies are designed specifically for persons with disabilities.
  • Advanced Life Support: level of care provided by prehospital emergency medical services. Advanced life support consists of invasive life-saving procedures including the placement of advanced airway adjuncts, intravenous infusions, manual defibrillation, electrocardiogram interpretation, and much more.
  • Aids for Daily Living: another category of assistive technology. These self-help aids help people with disabilities to eat, bath, cook and dress.
  • Allodynia: condition in which pain arises from a stimulus that would not normally be experienced as painful.
  • Ambulation Aids: devices that help people walk upright, including canes, crutches, and walkers.
  • Ambulation: walking, with or without the use of assistive devices such as a walker or crutches.
  • Anal Wink: contraction of the anal sphincter on irritation of the anal skin in response to scratch over the perianal area.
  • Anterior Cord Syndrome: a medical condition where the blood supply to the anterior portion of the spinal cord is interrupted and "is the most common form of spinal cord infarction . It is characterised by loss of motor function below the level of injury, loss of sensations carried by the anterior columns of the spinal cord (pain and temperature), and preservation of sensations carried by the posterior columns (fine touch and proprioception).
  • Anthropometric Assessment: measurement of body weight and the lengths, circumferences and thickness of parts of the body
  • Antidepressant Medication: is a psychiatric medication used to alleviate mood disorders such as depression and anxiety. These medications are commonly prescribed by psychiatrists and other physicians and are usually given to the patient for a period of months or years. Other medications such as anti psychotic medications and benzodiazepines are also used commonly for the treatment of depression.
  • Anxiety: is a psychological and physiological state characterized by somatic, emotional, cognitive and behavioral components. It is often viewed as a normal reaction to a stressful situation and is accompanied by fear, worry and uneasiness. The physical effects of anxiety may include heart palpitations, muscle weakness or tension, shortness of breath, headache, fatigue or nausea. Other effects may include withdrawal from other people, difficulty concentrating, problems with sleep, restlessness and feelings of apprehension.
  • Apneustic Breathing: an abnormal pattern of breathing characterised by deep, gasping inspiration with a pause at full inspiration followed by a brief, insufficient release
  • Apoptosis: is the process of programmed cell death (PCD) that may occur in multicellular organisms Biochemical events lead to characteristic cell changes (morphology) and death. These changes include blebbing, cell shrinkage, nuclear fragmentation, chromatin condensation, and chromosomal DNA fragmentation.
  • Appetite: the primarily psychological (external) influences that encourage us to find and eat food, often in the absence of obvious hunger.
  • Architectural Adaptations: are structural fabrications or remodelling in the home, work site, or other area.
  • Arrhythmia: an abnormal heart rhythm. The term arrhythmia comes from the Greek a-, loss + rhythmos, rhythm = loss of rhythm
  • ASIA Assessment: see below, International Standards for Neurological Classification of Spinal cord Injury (ISNCSCI).
  • ASIA Impairment Scale (AIS): (sometimes referred to as ASIA Grades) describes the completeness or severity of a spinal injury. A booklet and training manual is published and made available by ASIA (see below)
  • ASIA(American Spinal Injury Association): a North American based society of physicians, surgeons, scientists and other allied health professionals who treat or investigate SCI. For more information, see ASIA’s website: www.asia-spinalinjury.org.
  • Aspiration: entry of secretions or foreign material into the trachea and lungs
  • Assistive Technology (AT): a generic term including assistive, adaptive and rehabilitative devices and the process used in selecting, locating and using them.
  • Assistive, Adaptive, Supportive Devices: a variety of implements or equipment used to aid individuals in performing tasks or movements.
  • Astrocytes: also known collectively as astroglia, are characteristic star-shaped glial cells in the brain and spinal cord. They are the most abundant cell of the human brain. They perform many functions, including biochemical support of endothelial cells that form the blood–brain barrier, provision of nutrients to the nervous tissue, maintenance of extracellular ion balance, and a role in the repair and scarring process of the brain and spinal cord following traumatic injuries.
  • Atelectasis: the collapse or closure of alveoli resulting in reduced or absent gas exchange. It may affect part or all of one lung. It is a condition where the alveoli are deflated, as distinct from pulmonary consolidation.
  • Atrophy: partial or complete wasting away of a part of the body
  • Atropine: an anticholinergic and antispasmodic alkaloid used as the sulfate salt to relax smooth muscles and increase and regulate the heart rate by blocking the vagus nerve, and to act as a preanesthetic agent, an antidote for various toxic and anticholinesterase agents and as an antisecretory, mydriatic, and cycloplegic.
  • AuSpinal: assessment tool comprising seven tasks designed to quantify unilateral hand function in people with tetraplegia.
  • Autonomic Dysreflexia: is a syndrome of massive imbalanced reflex sympathetic discharge occurring in patients with spinal cord injury (SCI) above the splanchnic sympathetic outflow (T5-T6).It is characterized by a sudden onset of pounding headache, increase of blood pressure, and bradycardia.
  • Autonomic Nervous System: part of the nervous system that regulates involuntary action, as of the intestines, smooth muscle, heart, and glands, and that is divided into two physiologically and anatomically distinct, mutually antagonistic systems, the sympathetic nervous system and the parasympathetic nervous system.
  • Balance: the ability of an individual to maintain the body in equilibrium with gravity both statically (e.g. while stationary) and dynamically (e.g. while moving).
  • Basic Life Support: a level of medical care provided by prehospital emergency medical services.
  • Belmont Report: a report created by the former United States Department of Health, Education, and Welfare (renamed the Department of Health and Human Services) entitled “Ethical Principles and Guidelines for the Protection of Human Subjects of Research.” The text is available at:  www.hhs.gov/ohrp/humansubjects/guidance/belmont.htm (also see Helsinki Declaration). Properly conducted clinical trials will adhere to the principles and guidelines of the Belmont report.
  • Bereavement: Bereavement refers to the experience of grief to the loss of something or someone in which an emotional bond was formed. Crying, sadness, and feelings of despair are all typical emotional reactions that are considered to be part of the bereavement process.
  • Bethanechol: a cholinergic drug that stimulates the parasympathetic nervous system and is used in the form of its chloride to treat abdominal distention and urinary retention.
  • Bias: -the tendency of any factors associated with the design, conduct, analysis and interpretation of the results of a clinical trial to make the estimate of a treatment effect (therapeutic benefit) that differs from its true value (usually assumed to involve an overestimation of benefit and/or an underestimation of risk).
  • Bilevel Positive Airway Pressure: can be described as a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) system with a time-cycled or flow-cycled change of the applied CPAP level.
  • Blinded Assessments: those evaluations conducted on a clinical trial subject where the evaluator does not know or ask whether the subject is part of the experimental or control group. Blinded assessments are considered important to reduce any bias in the analysis of the effects of an experimental treatment. There are different levels of blinding:
  • Blister: a small pocket of fluid within the upper layers of the skin, typically caused by forceful rubbing , burning, freezing, chemical exposure or infection.
  • Body Language: Body language refers to a form of non verbal communication in which information is communicated through posture, gestures, facial expression and eye movements
  • Body Mass Index: standardized estimate of an individual’s relative body fat calculated from his or her height and weight. BMI=mass(kg)/(height m)2
  • Borg Scale: is used to document a patient's exertion during a test. Sports’ coaches use the scale to assess the intensity of training and competition. The original scale introduced by Gunnar Borg rated exertion on a scale of 6-20. This is especially used in clinical diagnostic of breathlessness and dyspnea, chest pain, angina and musculo-skeletal pain.
  • Bradycardia: slowness of the heartbeat, as evidenced by slowing of the pulse rate to less than 60.Brown Sequard Syndrome: is characterised by is a loss of motor function, proprioception, vibration, and light touch on the ipsilateral side of the injury (same side), and loss of pain, temperature, and crude touch sensations contralaterally (opposite side of injury).
  • Bulbocavernosus Reflex: reflex contraction of the bulbocavernous muscle in response to a squeezing of glans penis.
  • Burst Fracture: is a shattering of the vertebra within the spinal column, usually the ventral round body of the vertebra (side of the column pointing towards the stomach). The bone shards may compress the spinal cord and there my be a risk of a fragment piercing the spinal cord. Surgeons will often undertake an operation to remove bone fragments and stabilize the spinal column with various rods and screws. The surgery is similar to the procedures performed to fuse (join) to vertebral segments together when a herniated disk is removed.
  • Calcium Channel Blockers: a chemical that disrupts the movement of calcium (Ca 2+ ) through calcium channels. CCB drugs devised to target neurons are used as antiepileptics. However, the most widespread clinical usage of calcium channel blockers is to decrease blood pressure in patients with hypertension.
  • Capabilities of Upper Extremity Instrument: measures functional limitation and assesses the amount of difficulty experienced in performing specific actions with one or both arms and hands in individuals with tetraplegia.
  • Captopril: an angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor used in the treatment of hypertension, congestive heart failure, and post–myocardial infarction left ventricular dysfunction.
  • Carbohydrate: a compound containing carbon, hydrogen and oxygen atoms. Most are known as sugar, starches and fibers, yield 4 kcal per gram.
  • Caregiver: caregiver is a term used to refer to relatives, friends or other people who provide assistance to people with disabilities in completing their activities of daily living. Caregivers may be paid or unpaid individuals who provide this services to a person aitha physical disability.
  • Catabolism: any destructive process by which complex substances are converted by living cells into more simple compounds; destructive metabolism
  • Cauda Equina Syndrome: a progressive neurologic syndrome characterized by lumbar pain, fecal and urinary incontinence, and possible progressive neurological deficits caused by soft and hard tissue proliferation at the lumbosacral level of the cord, often associated with lumbosacral vertebral or disc damage (also see: Conus Medullaris)
  • Central Cord Syndrome: a form of incomplete spinal cord injury characterised by impairment in the arms and hands and, to a lesser extent, in the legs.
  • Central Nervous System :  comprises of brain and spinal cord
  • Centre of Gravity : the point through which the resultant of the gravitational forces on a body always acts
  • Centre of Gravity: the point in the body at which the acceleration caused by gravity is located.
  • Charcot’s Spine: a destructive arthropathy that occurs in joints with normal mobility that have lost normal sensation and proprioception as a result of impairment of these protective neurologic functions by diabetes, spinal cord injury, or other neurologic diseases.
  • Chemodenervation: a technique in which a pharmacologic compound (e.g. atropine, botulinum toxin) is used to paralyse a muscle or group of muscles.
  • Chest Wall Compliance: pulmonary compliance (or lung compliance) can refer to either dynamic or static lung compliance. Static lung compliance is the change in volume for any given applied pressure. Dynamic lung compliance is the compliance of the lung at any given time during actual movement of air. Low compliance is equivalent to stiff and high compliance is equivalent to floppy.
  • Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease: it is the occurrence of chronic bronchitis or emphysema, a pair of commonly co-existing diseases of the lungs in which the airways become narrowed. This leads to a limitation of the flow of air to and from the lungs, causing shortness of breath (dyspnea).
  • Circuit Training: circuit training is a form of body conditioning training resistance training and high-intensity aerobics. It is designed to be easy to follow and target strength building as well as muscular endurance. When one circuit is complete, one begins the first exercise again for another circuit.
  • Clean Intermittent Catheterisation: periodic catheterization to remove residual urine.
  • Clinical Endpoint: a specified or targeted outcome of a clinical trial, which is based on an evaluation of the feeling, function or survival of a patient (subject). The results of a clinical trial generally evaluate the statistical significance (and hopefully clinically meaning) of differences between the number of people in the experimental treatment group who reached the pre-determined clinical endpoint as compared to the number of people who achieved the same clinical endpoint from the (placebo) control group. The endpoint may involve a measurement, a change in measurement, or the achievement of at least a certain level of change, pre-identified as a meaningful “response” for the treatment.
  • Clinical Trial: a human research program usually involving both experimental and control subjects to examine the effectiveness and/or safety of a therapeutic intervention.
  • Coagulopathy: a pathologic condition that affects the ability of the blood to coagulate.
  • Cognition: a group of mental processes that includes attention,  memory producing and understanding language, solving problems, and making decisions.
  • Colloids: a state or division of matter in which large molecules or aggregates of molecules (1 to 100 nm in size) do not precipitate and are dispersed in another medium. In a suspension colloid the particles are insoluble and the medium may be solid, liquid, or gas.
  • Common Object Test: a standardized test of hand function for people with tetraplegia. It involves lifting and manipulation common objects.
  • Community Participation: is ICF terminology and refers to a person’s involvement in life outside the home. It is a common goal for most individuals with disabilities. To accomplish this goal, young people are encouraged to be interested in, and are taught how to engage in, community-based activities.
  • Complete Spinal Cord Injury: spinal cord injuries where there is an absence of sensory and motor function in the lowest sacral segment.
  • Compressive Garments: compression garments are pieces of clothing such as socks, pantyhose, sleeves, etc., that provide support for people with poor circulation. Compression garments worn on the legs help prevent deep vein thrombosis and reduce swelling
  • Conal Injuries: affect the conus medullaris. These injuries often cause a mixed lesion with a resultant overactive or acontractile picture
  • Consumer/Client: a term typically used to refer to people with SCI once they are discharged from hospital.
  • Contracture: is a loss of joint range of motion due to changes in the length or compliance of soft tissues spanning joints. It is commonly due to spasticity and/or lying or sitting in one position for prolonged periods of time.
  • Control: the comparison group in a clinical trial, which does not receive the experimental treatment being investigated. The control group may receive a placebo (inactive substance), another treatment, or no treatment other than the current available standard of care and treatment for SCI. The outcomes of the experimental treatment group are compared to the outcomes of the control group. The use of a control group enables researchers to determine whether the new experimental treatment provides a statistically significant and clinically meaningful (functional) benefit for the treatment of SCI.
  • Conus Medullaris: is the terminal end of the spinal cord. It occurs near the first lumbar vertebrae (L1). After the spinal cord terminates, the lumbar and sacral spinal nerves continue as a "freely moving" bundle of nerves within the vertebral canal and are called the cauda equina (literally, horse tail).
  • Coping Strategies: Coping strategies are methods used by an individual to manage internal or external situations that are stressful and potentially overwhelming. Maladaptive coping strategies might include substance or alcohol abuse, avoidance or aggressive behaviors. Adaptive coping strategies might include talking about the stressful event, getting emotional support from other people or using relaxation techniques.
  • Creatinine: an anhydride of creatine, the end product of phosphocreatine metabolism; measurements of its rate of urinary excretion are used as diagnostic indicators of kidney function and muscle mass
  • Crede ‘s Maneuver :a method for expressing urine by pressing the hand on the bladder, especially a paralyzed bladder.
  • Crystalloids: a substance that in solution can pass through a semipermeable membrane and be crystallised, as distinguished from a colloid eg – Ringer lactate solution
  • Cystourethrogram: the radiographic examination of the urethra and urinary   bladder after introduction of a radiopaque contrast medium.
  • Cystourethroscopy:  is a diagnostic procedure that is used to look at the bladder (lower urinary tract), collect urine samples, and examine the prostate gland. Performed with an optic instrument known as a cystoscope (urethroscope), this instrument uses a lighted tip for guidance to aid in diagnosing urinary tract disease and prostate disease.
  • Debridement: removal of all materials that promote infection, delay granulation, and impede healing, including necrotic tissue, eschar, and slough.
  • Deconditioning: deconditioning is adaptation of an organism to less demanding environment, or, alternatively, the decrease of physiological adaptation to normal conditions. The term is commonly used to refer to a deterioration in general fitness.
  • Deep Vein Thrombosis:  s a blood clot in a major vein that usually develops in the legs and/or pelvis.
  • Deformities: are predominantly due to contractures. They result in unsightly changes in the alignment of joints.
  • Delirium : is a common and severe neuropsychiatric syndrome with core features of acute onset, meaning it has been present from hours to days, but not months or years. Delirium represents an organically caused decline from a previously-attained level of cognitive functioning.
  • Demyelination: a degenerative process that erodes the myelin sheath that normally surrounds large diameter axons. Demyelination exposes axonal fibers and slows action potential conduction.
  • Dependent Mobility: mobility systems that are propelled by an attendant.
  • Depression: is a mental health disorder characterized by low mood and accompanied by low self esteem and loss of interest or pleasure in activities that were typically enjoyable. Causes of depression may include psychological, psychosocial, hereditary and biological factors. Patients are often treated with antidepressant medications as well as psychotherapy. Hospitalization may be necessary for cases where there is significant risk of harm to the self or other people.
  • Dermatome: an area of skin innervated by peripheral sensory fibers which travel along a peripheral nerve that enters the spinal cord at a known level (or segment) of the spinal cord.
  • Dermis: part of the second layer of his skin
  • Descending Motor Pathways : pathways from brain carrying motor commands down to interneurons and motor neurons of the spinal cord.
  • Developed Nations/Developed Country: can be defined through economic growth and security. Most commonly the criteria for evaluating the degree of development is to look at gross domestic product (GDP), the per capita income, level of industrialization, amount of widespread infrastructure and general standard of living.
  • Device: a piece of hardware or software used by an individual to accomplish a task.
  • Dexterity: ability to coordinate muscle activity to suit the demands of the task and environment
  • Diaphragmatic Pacing : also known as phrenic nerve pacing, is the rhythmic application of electrical impulses to the diaphragm, resulting in respiration for patients who would otherwise be dependent on a mechanical ventilator.
  • Dietary Fiber : fiber naturally found in foods.
  • Diffuse Idiopathic Skeletal Hyperostosis: describes a phenomenon characterised by a tendency toward ossification of ligaments. It most characteristically affects the spine
  • Disability: physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more major life activities; a record of such an impairment; or being regarded as having such an impairment
  • Disk: see Herniated Disk
  • Dislocation: a disturbance or disarrangement in the normal (overlapping) relationship of the of the spinal column (for example a facet joint dislocation).
  • Distraction: a term for the act of pulling apart the overlapping of the spinal column.
  • DMSA Renal Scan: diagnostic imaging exam that evaluates the function, size, shape and position of the kidneys and detects scarring caused by frequent infections.
  • Dopamine: is a simple organic chemical in the catecholamine family which functions as a neurotransmitter. It is regarded as playing a major role in the brain system that is responsible for reward driven learning.
  • Dorsal Root Entry Zone Procedure: a modified selective dorsal rhizotomy in which only the afferent sensory fibers are divided as they enter the spinal cord in the dorsal root entry zone.
  • Double Blind Studies: neither the participating trial subject nor the investigators, institutional staff or sponsoring company are aware of the treatment each subject has received during the trial. Ideal blinding procedures would ensure that the treatments cannot be distinguished by subjective experience, appearance, timing, or delivery method by any of the subjects, investigators, research staff, or clinical staff. Information regarding which treatment was assigned to each individual will typically be held securely by responsible independent members of the study center (or the central data center). It will not be matched with the data (trial outcomes) until after the study is completed, other than for the purposes of safety monitoring by an independent safety board.
  • Dual-Energy X-ray Absorptiometry: it is a means of measuring bone mineral density . Dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry is the most widely used and most thoroughly studied bone density measurement technology.The DEXA scan is typically used to diagnose and follow-up of osteoporosis.
  • Dynamometer: a device used to measure the force of a contraction. They can be incorporated into sophisticated testing devices to measure torque.
  • Dysphagia: difficulty in swallowing  
  • Edema: (or oedema)an accumulation of fluid, often occurring as part of the inflammatory process after trauma.
  • Ejaculation: the release of semen externally from the penis
  • Electrophysiological Testing: the process of examining the effects (behavioral or electrical responses) to electrical, magnetic or natural stimulation of peripheral nerves or the CNS. Electrophysiological testing can be very informative for examining nervous system function, particularly the connectivity across the damaged spinal cord.
  • EMG (or Electromyography): the recording of the electrical signals associated with the activity (contraction) of a muscle.
  • Empathy: Empathy is the capacity to understand and recognize feelings that are being experienced by another person.
  • Endotracheal Intubation: insertion of a tube into the trachea for purposes of anesthesia, airway maintenance, aspiration of secretions, lung ventilation, or prevention of entrance of foreign material into the airway; the tube goes through the nose (nasotracheal intubation.) or mouth (orotracheal intubation) .
  • Enteral: directly into the gastrointestinal tract; pertains to tube feedings that may be necessary when a patient cannot ingest food orally.
  • Environmental Adaptations: modifications or changes made to an individual's environment (e.g., home, work, school, community) to assist in living independently. These modifications include ramps, widening of doorways, modifying bathrooms, special furniture, other additions of equipment, etc.
  • Epidermis: outer layer of his skin
  • Equipment Fabrication: the design and construction of a device or piece of equipment that improves an individual's functioning level.
  • Equipment Fitting: the process of installing, adjusting, and testing a device, piece of equipment or other adaptation that an individual with a disability will be trained on.
  • Equipment Modification: changing or altering of the design and construction of an existing device or piece of equipment.
  • Ergometer: exercise machine, equipped with an apparatus for measuring the work performed during exercise.
  • European Union of Medical Specialists and Physical Rehabilitation Medicine section: section and the board of physical and rehabilitation medicine represent specialists in physical and rehabilitation medicine within the European Union of Medical Specialists (UEMS).
  • Evaluation/Technical Assessment: a hands-on, in-person evaluation whereby a individual with a disability is tested, measured, observed, and questioned for the purpose of determining the most appropriate and beneficial technology for his/her individual situation.
  • Evoked Potentials: the electrical signals recorded in response to the non-painful electrical or magnetic stimulation of the brain (via surface electrodes on the scalp) or a peripheral nerve
  • Expiratory Reserve Volume: is the maximal amount of gas that can be exhaled from the resting end-expiratory level.
  • Extrication: the act of removing the individual from the site of injury.
  • Fatigue: is a state of awareness describing a range of afflictions, usually associated with physical and/or mental weakness, though varying from a general state of lethargy to a specific work-induced burning sensation within one's muscles
  • Fatty Acid: major part of most lipids; primarily composed of a chain of carbons flanked by hydrogen.
  • Fear Avoidance Beliefs Questionnaire: is a questionnaire based on the fear-avoidance model of exaggerated pain perception, a model created in attempts to explain why some patients with acute painful conditions can recover while other patients develop chronic pain from such conditions. This questionnaire consists of 16 items, with each item scored from 0-6. Higher scores are indicative of greater fear and avoidance beliefs.
  • Female Genital Arousal: increased genital vasocongestion that usually manifests itself with the presence of clitoral engorgement, vulvar swelling and vaginal lubrication, amongst other signs
  • Female Psychogenic Genital Arousal: increased genital vasocongestion that occurs solely based on arousal in the brain e.g. through hearing, seeing, feeling or imagining erotic thoughts
  • Female Reflex Genital Arousal: increased genital vasocongestion that occurs solely based on genital or sacral area stimulation
  • Fiber: substances in plant foods not digested by the processes that take place in the human stomach or small intestine. These add bulk to feces.
  • Flap: healthy tissue, skin and/or muscle, (re)moved from a place of the body to cover a wound somewhere else. The flap is usually taken from the buttocks or thigh
  • Flexion: flexion is a physical position that decreases the angle between the bones of the limb at a joint. It occurs when muscles contract and bones move the joint into a bent position.
  • Forced Vital Capacity: vital capacity measured when the patient is exhaling with maximal speed and effort.
  • Frankel Scale: an earlier scale for classifying severity of spinal cord injury that was modified in 1992 to create the ASIA Impairment Scale or AIS (see above). 
  • Functional Electrical Stimulation (FES): treatment through the application of electricity to the peripheral nerves that arise from the spinal cord. It is primarily used to restore function in people with disabilities. One application would be FES of specific peripheral nerves to train and enable a weak or paralyzed muscle to now make a functional and purposeful movement (e.g. phrenic nerve FES for breathing).
  • Functional Independence Measure (FIM): records the severity of disability in people after a disabling disorder based on 18 items. Thirteen items define disability in motor functions. Five items define disability in cognitive functions. FIM was not specifically designed for any single disability such as spinal injury.
  • Functional Recovery: an improvement in the ability to perform a physical action, activity, or task.
  • Functional Residual Capacity: is the volume of air present in the lungs, specifically the parenchyma tissues, at the end of passive expiration. Functioanl Residual Capacity is the sum of Expiratory Reserve Volume (ERV) and Residual Volume (RV) and measures approximately 2400 ml in a 70 kg, average-sized male.
  • Gait: the manner in which a person walks, characterized by rhythm, cadence, step, stride, and speed.
  • Glasgow Coma Score: a scale for measuring level of consciousness, especially after a head injury, in which scoring is determined by three factors: amount of eye opening, verbal responsiveness, and motor responsiveness.
  • Glia: usually non-impulse (no action potential) conducting cells of the CNS. Glial cells provide physical and metabolic support for neurons. Some regulate the internal environment of the brain, especially the fluid surrounding neurons and their synapses (connections), and provide nutrition to nerve cells. Glia have important developmental roles, guiding migration (movement) of neurons to their correct location in early development, and producing molecules that modify the growth of axons and dendrites. These same functions may be important to repair after spinal cord or brain injury. sustentacular tissue that surrounds and supports neurons in the central nervous system; glial and neural cells together compose the tissue of the central nervous system
  • Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP): set of regulations, codes, and guidelines for the manufacture of drugs (also known as active pharmaceutical ingredients, or APIs) and drug products (known as medicinal products in Europe), cells, medical devices, in vivo and in vitro diagnostic products, and foods. .” GMP is a term that is recognized worldwide for the control and management of manufacturing, as well as quality control testing of pharmaceutical products.
  • Grasp And Release Test: was designed to assess hand neuro-prosthesis in individuals with C5-C6 SCIs, but has also been used to assess hand function prior to and following tendon transfers in people with C6-7 level injuries. It assesses the ability to pick up, move, and release six objects of varying sizes, weights and textures using a palmar or lateral grasp.
  • Haematocrit: a blood test that measures the percentage of the volume of whole blood that is made up of red blood cells. This measurement depends on the number of red blood cells and the size of red blood cells.
  • Hand-held Myometers: are small devices that measure isometric force.
  • Headstick/ Mouthstick: a pointer or extension device that is mounted to a headpiece and extends downward or is held in the mouth between the teeth. It is used in direct selection of keys on a keyboard or a picture symbol or word on a communication board. It is for use by persons with good head control who have very limited use of their upper body (arms and hands).
  • Helsinki Declaration: was developed by the World Medical Association and is a set of ethical principles for the medical community regarding human experimentation. It was originally adopted in June 1964 and has since been amended multiple times. The recommendations concerning the guidance of physicians involved in medical research may be found at www.wma.net/e/policy/b3.htm (also see Belmont Report).
  • Hematuria: the presence of blood in the urine , also called hematuresis.
  • Herniated Disk: the protrusion of one or more of the spinal disks, between the vertebra, into the spinal canal, thereby compressing the spinal cord directly or more often compressing one or more of the incoming or outgoing spinal nerve roots, which can cause numbness, pain, or muscle weakness.
  • Heterotopic Ossification: formation of bone in abnormal locations, secondary to pathology.
  • Heuristic Proxy: refers to experience-based techniques for problem solving, learning, and discovery. Where an exhaustive search is impractical, heuristic methods are used to speed up the process of finding a satisfactory solution
  • Home/Worksite Modifications: structural adaptations and/or fabrications in the home, worksite, or other areas that remove or reduce physical barriers for an individual with a disability such as ramps, lifts, widened doorways, lowered desk, or counter tops.
  • Human Activity Assistive Technology: a framework describing the major elements of an assistive technology system; consists of four parts: 1) activity, 2) context, 3) human skills, and 4) assistive technologies.
  • Human Sexuality: is how people experience the erotic and express themselves as sexual beings; the awareness of themselves as males or females; the capacity they have for erotic experiences and responses.
  • Hydronephrosis: cystic distension of the kidney caused by the accumulation of urine in the renal pelvis as a result of obstruction to outflow and accompanied by atrophy of the kidney structure and cyst formation
  • Hypercapnia: an increased concentration of carbon dioxide in the blood. Also called hypercarbia.
  • Hyperglycemia: hyperglycemia, or high blood sugar, is a condition in which an excessive amount of glucose circulates in the blood plasma. This is generally a glucose level higher than 10 mmol/l (180 mg/dl).
  • Hypersensitivity:  the process of providing an adequate amount of water to body tissues
  • Hyperthermia: abnormally high body temperature, usually resulting from infection, medication, or head injury, and sometimes brought about intentionally to treat diseases, especially certain cancers.
  • Hypogastric Nerves: either of the two nerve trunks designated right and left that lead from the superior hypogastric plexus into the pelvis to join the inferior hypogastric plexuses.
  • Hypokalemia: refers to the condition in which the concentration of potassium in the blood is low. (Normal 3.5 - 5.0 mEq/L, )
  • Hyponatremia : refers to the condition in which the concentration of Sodium in the blood is low. (Normal  135 -145mEq/L)
  • Hypoperfusion: decreased blood flow through an organ, as in hypovolemic shock; if prolonged, it may result in permanent cellular dysfunction and death.
  • Hypovolaemic Shock: shock due to insufficient blood volume, either from hemorrhage or other loss of fluid or from widespread vasodilation so that normal blood volume cannot maintain tissue perfusion
  • ICH: the International Conference on Harmonization of Technical Requirements for Registration of Pharmaceuticals for Human Use. ICH brings together the regulatory authorities of Europe, Japan and North America with experts from the pharmaceutical industry to discuss scientific and technical aspects of product registration. The purpose is to make recommendations on ways to achieve greater harmonization in the interpretation and application of technical guidelines and requirements for pharmaceutical product registration. The objective of such harmonization is a more economical and ethical use of human, animal and material resources, and the elimination of unnecessary delay in the global development and availability of new medicines whilst maintaining safeguards on quality, safety and efficacy, and regulatory obligations to protect public health (www.ich.org).
  • Incidence: the rate of occurrence, the risk of developing a condition within a specified period of time.
  • Incomplete Spinal Cord Injury: spinal cord injuries where partial preservation of sensory and/pr motor functions is found below the neurological level and includes the lowest sacral segment.
  • Independence: the extent to which a person with a disability can exert control and choice over his or her own life.
  • Independent Manual Mobility: systems in which the user has the ability to propel the device using body power only.
  • Independent Power Mobility: motorised wheelchairs that are controlled by the user.
  • Individual with a Disability: any individual who is considered to have a functional limitation in major life activities in which assistive technology devices or services would enable the individual to maintain or achieve a greater level of functioning.
  • Information and Referral: knowledge provided to a consumer, family member, provider, or other advocate to aid the consumer in finding the right technology. Direction or otherwise linking someone to the correct professional program, service, or agency that will supply or play a major part in helping the consumer get assistive technology.
  • Infraconal Injuries: correspond to cauda equina lesions. These generally cause an acontractile or lower motor neuron picture
  • Inotropic Agents: an agent that increases force and velocity of myocardial contractility
  • Insoluble Fiber or Nonfermentable Fiber: a fiber that is not easily metabolised by intestinal bacteria.
  • Interdisciplinary Team: individuals involved in assessment and recommendations for persons with disabilities. The team consists of persons from a wide variety of disciplines which includes medical experts, nurses (!), educators, speech language pathologists, physiotherapists, occupational therapists, rehabilitation engineers, assistive technologists, care providers, psychologists, counsellors, and social workers.
  • Intermittent Positive Pressure Breathing: a short term breathing treatment where increased breathing pressures are delivered via ventilator to help treat atelectasis, clear secretions or deliver aerosolised medications.
  • International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health :  a classification of health and health related domains. These domains are classified by means of three lists: a list of body functions and structure, a list of activity and a list of participation. Since an individual’s functioning and disability occurs in a context, it also includes a list of environmental factors.
  • International Standards for Neurological Classification of Spinal Cord Injury (ISNCSCI): a detailed neurological assessment forms the basis for the International Standards for Neurological and Functional Classification of Spinal Cord Injury (the ASIA International Standards). They are conducted on subjects lying on their backs, and involve a qualitative grading of sensory responses to touch and pin-prick at each of 28 dermatomes along each side of the body and a qualitative grading of the strength of contraction within 10 representative (key) muscles, primarily identified with a specific spinal level, 5 for the upper extremity (C5-T1) and 5 for the lower extremity (L2-S1) on each side of the body.
  • Intravenous Pyelography (IVP) : a radiologic study in which intravenous injection of a radiopaque contrast medium that is excreted by the kidneys allows visualization of the renal pelvices and urinary tract.
  • Involuntary Contraction: involuntary muscle contractions are common after spinal cord injury (SCI). Increased sensitivity to Ia muscle afferent input may contribute to the development of these spasms.
  • Jebsen Hand Function Test (JHFT): a standardised and objective evaluation of several major aspects of hand function using simulated activities of daily living.
  • Joystick: a manual device with a moveable control lever that can be tilted in various directions to control  cursor of computer screen or  of motorised wheelchair.
  • Kilocalorie (kcal): unit that describes the energy content of food. Kilocalorie is the heat energy needed to raise the temperature of 1000 grams (1 liter) of water by 1 ° Celsius. Kcal refers to a 1000 calorie unit of measurement, but is commonly referred to as calories.
  • Kyphosis: the forward curve of the spine . It is normally seen in upper back bone (thoracic region)
  • Libido: refers to a person’s sex drive or desire for sex.
  • Lipids : a compound containing much carbon and hydrogen, little oxygen   and sometimes other atoms. Lipids do not dissolve in water and include fats, oils and cholesterol. Lipid yield more calories per gram than do carbohydrates, 9 kcal per gram.
  • Low Molecular Weight Heparin (LMWH): a class of drugs used to prevent potentially fatal blood clots in patients undergoing surgery or patients at risk for blood clots. LMWH has an advantage over regular heparin in that predictable plasma levels are achieved, obviating the need for regular monitoring of prothrombin time and partial thromboplastin time.
  • Macronutrient: a nutrient needed in gram quantities in a diet.
  • Male Genital Arousal: increased genital vasocongestion resulting in penile tumescence and erection and testicular engorgement
  • Malnutrition: failing health that results from long standing dietary practices that do not coincide with nutritional needs.
  • Mammography: the process of using low energy x rays (usually around 30 kVp) to examine the human breast and is used as a diagnostic and a screening tool.
  • Manual Muscle Testing: procedure for evaluating strength of individual muscles and muscle groups, based on effective performance of a movement in relation to the forces of gravity and manual resistance through available range of motion
  • McGill Pain Questionnaire : also known as McGill pain index , developed at McGill University by Melzack and Torgerson in 1971. It consists primarily of 3 major classes of word descriptors -- sensory, affective and evaluative that are used by patients to specify subjective pain experience.
  • Mean Arterial Pressure: used to describe an average blood pressure in an individual. It is the average arterial pressure during a single cardiac cycle.
  • Meissner’s Plexus or Submucosal Plexus: lies in the submucous coat of the intestine; it also contains ganglia from which nerve fibers pass to the muscularis mucosae and to the mucous membrane.
  • Metabolic Syndrome: a condition in which a person has poor blood glucose regulation, hypertension, increased blood triglycerides, and other health problems. This condition is usually accompanied by obesity, lack of physical activity, and a diet high in refined carbohydrates.
  • Metabolism: a chemical process in the body by which energy is provided in useful forms and vital activities are sustained.
  • Microglia: see Glia.are a type of glial cell that are the resident macrophages of the brain and spinal cord, and thus act as the first and main form of active immune defense in the central nervous system. Microglia constitute 20% of the total glial cell population within the brain.[1]
  • Micronutrient: a nutrient needed in milligram or microgram quantities in a diet.
  • Mineral: an element used to promote chemical reactions and to form body structures.
  • Mobility:  (in bed, transfers, indoors and outdoors, wheelchair, walking) max. = 40 points.
  • Mobility and Transportation Aids: include products that help mobility persons  with a disability move within their environment, and give them independence in personal transportation.
  • Mobility Impairment: disability that affects movement ranging from gross motor skills such as walking to fine motor movement involving manipulation of objects by hand.
  • Mobility Scooter: a motorised assist device with a steering 'tiller' or bar instead of the joystick, and fewer medical support options. Mobility scooters  range from large, powerful models to lightweight folding ones intended for travel.
  • Modified Ashworth Scale: a widely used qualitative scale for the assessment of spasticity; measures resistance to passive stretch.
  • Motor Level : the most caudal myotome with intact innervations, below which motor deficits exist. Specifically the most caudal spinal segment with the 'key' muscle having a score of at least 3/5 with all rostral spinal cord segments being normal (5/5).
  • Motor Neurons : a part of peripheral nervous system which carries information from the Central nervous system (CNS) to organs, muscles, and glands.
  • Motor Score: based on the ISNCSCI assessment of muscle strength. The motor score is calculated by assigning to the muscle group, innervated and primarily identified with a specific spinal level, a score between 0 (no detectable contraction) and 5 (active contraction against resistance considered to be normal with a full range of movement about the joint). C5 to T1 and L2 to S1 are tested, giving 10 levels on each side of the body for a possible maximum score of 100.
  • Motor-Evoked Potentials: see Evoked potentials
  • Multidimensional Pain Inventory: a comprehensive instrument for assessing a number of dimensions of the chronic pain experience, including pain intensity, emotional distress, cognitive and functional adaptation, and social support. It is one of the best instruments available for assessing overall adjustment of chronic pain patients and the outcomes of treatment interventions
  • Myelin: see Glia.
  • Myenteric Plexus : auerbach's plexus (or myenteric plexus) provides motor innervation to the gut and has both parasympathetic and sympathetic input. It exists between the longitudinal and circular layers of muscularis externa in the gastrointestinal tract. The myenteric plexus is the major nerve supply to the gastrointestinal tract and controls gut motility.
  • Myometry : objective, quantifiable method of measuring muscle strength. It is superior to manual muscle testing for detection of mild to moderate weakness and changes in muscle strength. It also eliminates potential bias from the evaluator for various age groups and gender.
  • Nifedipine: a calcium channel blocking agent used as a coronary vasodilator in the treatment of coronary insufficiency and angina pectoris; also used in the treatment of hypertension.
  • Nasogastric Tube: a tube that is passed through the nose down through the nasopharynx and esophagus into the stomach.
  • Necrosis: to the death of tissue in response to disease or injury.
  • Needs Identification: the portion of the assessment during which more detailed specification of the consumer`s assistive technology needs is made.
  • Negative Pressure Therapy:  used to treat acute and chronic wounds. A vacuum source creates continuous or intermittent negative pressure inside the wound to remove fluid, exudates, and infectious materials to prepare the wound for healing and closure.  System consist of a vacuum pump, drainage tubing, a foam or gauze wound dressing, and an adhesive film dressing that covers and seals the wound.
  • Neurogenic Shock: a type of shock that is caused by the sudden loss of signals from the sympathetic nervous system that maintain the normal muscle tone in blood vessel walls. The blood vessels relax and become dilated, resulting in pooling of the blood in the venous system and an overall decrease in blood pressure. Neurogenic shock can be a complication of injury to the brain or spinal cord.
  • Neurological Level of Spinal Cord Injury: generally the lowest segment of the spinal cord with normal sensory and motor function on both sides of the body. However, the spinal level at which normal function is found often differs on each side of the body, as well as in terms of preserved sensory and motor function. Thus, up to four different segments may be identified in determining the motor and sensory level and each of these segments is recorded separately. Note: the level of spinal column (bone) injury may not correlate with the neurological level of spinal cord injury.
  • Neuron: any of the impulse or action potential-conducting cells that constitute the brain, spinal cord, and peripheral nerves (sometimes called nerve cell). The number of neurons within the CNS is estimated to be about 100 billion.). A typical neuron consists of dendrites (fibers that receive stimuli such as synaptic inputs and conduct them toward the cell body), a cell body (a nucleated body that receives input from dendrites), and an axon (a fiber that conducts the nerve impulse from the cell body outward to the axon terminals).
  • Neuropathic Pain: usually perceived (felt) as a steady burning sensation or “pins and needles”, and/or as an “electric shock” sensation. “Ordinary” pain stimulates only pain nerves (nociceptive neurons), while neuropathic pain often results from the activation by innocuous (normally non-painful) stimulation such as light touch, warm, or cool stimuli. . A characteristic of neuropathic pain is the perception of pain in response to a normal, innocuous stimulus such as a light touch; this is called hypersensitivity or allodynia.
  • Neuroplasticity: see Plasticity
  • Neuroprotection: the effect of any chemical, biological molecule or medical practice, which limits the degree of CNS damage resulting from primary mechanical trauma or a degenerative disorder. The majority of spinal cord injuries are the result of mechanical trauma. The neurons directly destroyed by mechanical trauma are probably lost forever, but in most cases the entire cord is not completely damaged by the initial injury. Protecting any surviving cells and neural connections is a high priority target.
  • Neurotransmitters: are endogenous chemicals that transmit signals from a neuron to a target cell across a synapse. Release of neurotransmitters usually follows the arrival of an action potential at the synapse but can also follow graded action potentials.
  • Nitroglycerine: an antianginal, antihypertensive, and vasodilator used for the prophylaxis and treatment of angina pectoris, the treatment of congestive heart failure and myocardial infarction, and blood pressure control or controlled hypotension during surgery.
  • Nociceptive Pain: defined as "the neural processes of encoding and processing noxious stimuli. It is the afferent activity produced in the peripheral and central nervous systems by stimuli that have the potential to damage tissue. This activity is initiated by nociceptors, (also called pain receptors), that can detect mechanical, thermal or chemical changes above a set threshold.
  • Nuclear Renal Scan: a radiographic scan of the kidneys performed after the intravenous injection of a radioactive substance. It is used to assess renal perfusion and function, particularly in renal failure and renovascular hypertension and following kidney transplantation.
  • Nutraceutical: patients have claimed benefits from alternative medical approaches although there is often limited or no documented scientific evidence to support these claims. Nutraceuticals are non-drug (non-prescription) substances (for example, herbal medicines) that are produced in a purified or extracted form and are administered orally to provide compounds, which are intended to improve health and well-being. These substances are not always controlled or approved by a government health regulatory agency prior to or after sale. If properly labeled, they will usually have a disclaimer stating the product does not guarantee an improved health benefit. Nutraceuticals are often associated with naturopathic or alternative medicine, as is acupuncture.
  • Nutrient: chemical substances in food that contribute to health, many of which are essential parts of a diet. Nutrients nourish us by providing calories to fulfill energy needs, materials for building body parts and factors to regulate necessary chemical processes in the body.
  • Nutrition: the science that links foods to health and disease, include the process by which the human organism ingests, digests, absorbs, transports and excretes food substance.
  • Obesity: a BMI greater than or equal to 30 is obesity.
  • Oedema: see Edema
  • Oligodendrocyte: see Glia.
  • Open Label: both the researcher and the trial participant know the treatment that the participant is receiving. See also: Blinded assessments.
  • Orgasm: the perception of sensation of feeling good from sexual stimulation, of reaching a climax after which the person feels satisfied. May be accompanied by an overall increase and then decrease in muscle tone.
  • Orthoses: a device that supports or corrects the function of a limb or the torso. Calipers are a type of orthosis.
  • Orthostatic Hypotension: a form of hypotension in which a person's systolic blood pressure falls more than 20 mm hg and diastolic more than 10 mm hg  when sitting or standing up from the lying down position . The symptom is caused by blood pooling in the lower extremities upon a change in body position. 
  • Orthostatic: a human position in which the body is held in an upright  position and supported only by the feet.
  • Orthotics: a specialty within the medical field concerned with the design, manufacture and application of orthoses.
  • Osteomyelitis: infection of the bone and bone marrow.
  • Osteoporosis: defined by the World Health Organization(WHO) as a bone mineral density that is 2.5 standard deviations or more below the mean peak bone mass (average of young, healthy adults) as measured by DEXA;
  • Overnutrition: a state in which nutritional intake greatly exceeds the body’s needs.
  • Oxybutinine: an anticholinergic having direct antispasmodic effect on smooth muscle; used as the chloride salt in the treatment of uninhibited or reflex neurogenic bladder
  • PaCO2: partial pressure of carbon dioxide in the blood.It is critical in regulating breathing levels and maintaining body pH.
  • Pain Self Efficacy Questionnaire: a 10-item questionnaire, developed in the 1980s by Michael Nicholas to assess the confidence people with ongoing pain have in performing activities while in pain. It is applicable to all persisting pain presentations. It covers a range of functions, including household chores, socializing, work, as well as coping with pain without medication
  • Pain: see Neuropathic Pain
  • Pamidronate: an inhibitor of bone resorption, used to treat malignancy-associated hypercalcemia, Paget's disease of bone, and osteolytic metastasis secondary to breast cancer or myeloma.
  • Pap Smear: a screening test, especially for cervical cancer, in which a smear of cells scraped from the cervix or vagina is treated with a chemical stain and examined under a microscope for pathological changes.
  • Paralysis: loss of muscle function for one or more muscles.
  • Paraphrase: a restatement of the meaning of a text or passage using other words. The act of paraphrasing is also called "paraphrases".
  • Paraplegia: the term used to refer to functional loss below the level of the upper extremities, which may involve loss of motor and/or sensory function within the trunk and/or lower extremities (legs).  This implies damage to the spinal cord below the level of T1 and may include damage to the conus medullaris or cauda equina.
  • Parasympathetic System : one of the two main divisions of the autonomic nervous system. It is responsible for regulation of internal organs and glands, which occurs unconsciously. It is responsible for stimulation of "rest-and-digest" activities that occur when the body is at rest, including sexual arousal, salivation, lacrimation (tears), urination, digestion, and defecation. Its action is described as being complementary to that of one of the other main branches of the ANS, the sympathetic nervous system.
  • Parenteral: taken into the body or administered in a manner other than through the digestive tract, as by intravenous or intramuscular injection.
  • Parkinson's Disease : a degenerative  disorder of the central nervous system.  resulting from the death or dysfunction of dopamine-containing cells in the substantia nigra, a region of the midbrain. Early in the course of the disease, the most obvious symptoms are movement-related which include shaking, rigidity, slowness of movement and difficulty with walking and gait. Later, cognitive and behavioral problems may arise, with dementia commonly occurring in the advanced stages of the disease.
  • Partial Paralysis: incomplete paralysis which occurs due to partial  disruption of the descending motor pathways.
  • Peer Counselor: peer counselor refers to another individual who provides knowledge, social, emotional and practical support to another person who is experiencing a similar situation. In the case of spinal cord injury, it refers to another person who has a spinal cord injury who can relate to another individual with a similar injury and can provide assistance with a variety of matters.
  • Peer-reviewed: a scholarly work such as a manuscript or grant application that is read and assessed by other experts in the same field, to ensure that the author's research and claims have achieved rigorous scientific and statistical standards.
  • Perceived Rate of Exertion: this is a measure of how hard we think we’re working. The American Council on Exercise equates this rate on a scale of 0 to 10. Three to 5 is the recommended workout zone, where lying on the couch is a 0 and sprinting after a runaway dog is a 10.
  • Percussion: an assessment method in which the surface of the body is struck with the fingertips to obtain sounds that can be heard or vibrations that can be felt. It can determine the position, size, and consistency of an internal organ. It is done over the chest to determine the presence of normal air content in the lungs, and over the abdomen to evaluate air in the loops of the intestine.
  • Peristalsis: a coordinated muscular contraction used to propel food down the gastrointestinal tract.
  • Pharmacodynamics: the study of the biochemical and physiological effects of drugs in the body and the mechanisms of drug action, including the relationship between drug concentration and effect (in brief - what the drug does to the body).
  • Pharmacokinetics: the study of the fate of drugs in the body, with emphasis on the time required for Absorption, Distribution within body tissues, the mode and extent of Metabolism, or breakdown and the method of Excretion. These 4 outcomes are often noted by the acronym ADME (in brief, what the body does to the drug).
  • Physical/mental Impairment: any physiological disorder or condition, cosmetic disfigurement, or anatomical loss affecting one or more of the following body systems: neurological; musculoskeletal; special sense organs; cardiovascular; reproductive; digestive; genitourinary; hepatic and lymphatic; skin; and endocrine; or any mental or psychological disorder, such as mental retardation, organic brain syndrome, emotional or mental illness, and specific learning disabilities.
  • Phytochemical: a chemical found in plants. Some may contribute to a reduced risk of cancer or cardiovascular disease in people who consume them regularly.
  • Placebo: an inactive substance or treatment that has the same appearance as the experimental treatment, but does not confer a physiological (functional) benefit for the disorder being investigated. A placebo effect is a physical or emotional change that is not the result of any physiological action of the treatment. The change may be beneficial in the short term and more accurately reflects the expectations of the participant and/or the expectations of the investigator providing the treatment (also see bias).
  • Plasticity: refers to behavioral changes that occur in the organization of the CNS. Neuroplasticity can be either positive or negative. For example, the emergence of autonomic dysreflexia or neuropathic pain can be viewed as negative changes that occur after spinal cord injury. Whereas the strengthening of synaptic connections and axonal sprouting after spinal cord injury (SCI) are changes that might lead to the formation of new neural circuits that permit the recovery of some motor function. Experiments have demonstrated improved neuroplasticity with the physical and occupational training found within active rehabilitation programs.
  • Pluripotency: refers to a stem cell that has the potential to differentiate into any of the three germ layers: endoderm (interior stomach lining, gastrointestinal tract, the lungs), mesoderm (muscle, bone, blood, urogenital), or ectoderm (epidermal tissues and nervous system).
  • Pneumothorax: a collection of air or gas in the chest or pleural space that causes part or all of a lung to collapse.
  • Polytrauma: a clinical syndrome with severe injuries involving two or more major organs or physiological systems which will initiate an amplified metabolic and physiological response.
  • Positive Airway Pressure (PAP): is a mode of respiratory ventilation used primarily in the treatment of sleep apnea, for which it was first developed. CPAP is an acronym for "continuous positive airway pressure",
  • Positive Stretch Test: shows a disc interspace separation of 1.7 mm or change in angle between vertebra of more than 7.5 degrees between pre stretch and post stretch.
  • Post Prandial Hypotension: a condition that produces a drop in blood pressure when a person stands or sits up after eating a meal.
  • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder: post traumatic stress disorder is an anxiety disorder that can result from exposure to an event that results in psychological trauma. The individual is often overwhelmed and experiences a threat to oneself or to another person. The threat may be to one’s sense of physical, sexual or psychological integrity. Symptoms may include flashbacks, nightmares, avoidance of stimuli associated with the trauma, anger, hyper vigilance or difficulties with sleep. The symptoms typically interfere with social, occupational or other important areas of functioning.
  • Posterior Cord Syndrome: characterised by loss of proprioception and epicritic sensation(e.g.: stereognosis, graphesthesia) below the level of injury due to damage to the posterior portion of the spinal cord.
  • Postural Drainage: drainage used in bronchiectasis and lung abscess. The patient's body is positioned so that the trachea is inclined downward and below the affected chest area.
  • Preclinical: the term used to describe scientific experiments conducted prior to a human clinical trial and may include in vivo studies of animal models of the disorder (e.g. spinal cord injury) or examination of appropriate target cells in an in vitro culture situation.
  • Pressure Ulcer: are Error! No bookmark name given. caused by unrelieved pressure on soft tissues overlying a Error! No bookmark name given. prominence which reduces or completely obstructs the blood flow to the superficial tissues.
  • Pressure: force per unit area.
  • Prevalence: the total number of cases in the population at a given time.
  • Professional Boundaries: refer to the limits that allow for a safe connection between the professional and the patient. They are based on the needs of the patient and insure that the power imbalance in the relationship will not cause harm to the patient. A boundary violation occurs when the professional places their needs above the needs of the patient and gains personally or professionally at the expense of the patient.
  • Progenitor Cells : see stem cells.
  • Proprioception : a sensation pertaining to stimuli originating from within the body related to spatial position and muscular activity or to the sensory receptors that they activate.
  • Prospective: in terms of a clinical trial, it means to study the effects of an experimental treatment on a “go-forward” basis, which is the opposite of a retrospective study which looks back historically on the outcomes of a human study. A prospective study is where the methods of data collection and analysis are specified in a protocol before the study is begun (prospective). Patients are subsequently recruited and randomly assigned to receive either the experimental or control treatment and the outcomes are collected and analyzed prospectively (in a go-forward manner).
  • Prostate Specific Antigen: a protein produced by the prostate gland that may be found in elevated levels in the blood when a person develops certain diseases of the prostate, notably prostate cancer. PSA is specific, because it is present only in prostate tissue. It is not specific for prostate cancer.
  • Protein: food and body compounds made of amino acids. Proteins contain the form of nitrogen most easily used by the human body; yield 4 kcal/gram.
  • Psychiatrist: a psychiatrist is a physician who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of mental disorders. As part of their treatment of patients, psychiatrists typically prescribe psychotropic medications aimed at reducing symptoms of emotional distress.
  • Psychogenic Erection: occurs solely based on arousal in the brain e.g. through hearing, seeing, feeling or imagining erotic thoughts.
  • Psychologist: a psychologist is a mental health professional who has received a graduate degree from a university affiliated behavioral program and provides assessment and mental health related services in settings such as clinics, hospitals, schools and mental health centers. In addition, psychologists conduct research, teach and consult on a variety of mental health related issues. 
  • Psychomotor Agitation: the term is used to define a series of unintentional movements that are a result of the stress or mental tension of an individual. It is a symptom often seen in major depression, obsessive compulsive disorder, anxiety and generalized anxiety. It can also be a symptom of an excess intake of stimulants. 
  • Psychotherapy: psychotherapy is a term that refers to a therapeutic interaction between a mental health professional and a client or patient. It aims to increase an individual’s sense of well being and self esteem through dialogue, raising of insights and improved communication. Ultimately, most forms of psychotherapy are aimed at behavioral change that improves relationships and the mental health of the patient.
  • Pudendal Nerve: branch of the sacral plexus formed by fibers from the ventral primary rami of the second, third, and fourth sacral spinal nerves.
  • Pulmonary Embolus: blockage of an artery of the lung by foreign matter such as fat, tumor, tissue, or a clot originating from a vein
  • Quad-coughing: also known as assisted coughing in which a caregiver assists the person with SCI to clear his or her airways by applying pressure below the ribs over the diaphragm while pushing upward.
  • Quadriplegia: see Tetraplegia
  • Range of Motion: describes the space, distance, or angle through which a person can move a joint or series of joints in their arms and legs. [p.26]
  • RCT or Randomized Control Trial: a clinical trial in which the subjects enrolled are randomly assigned to either the experimental treatment arm (group) or control study arm of the trial. It is the preferred clinical trial protocol to be used in all pivotal clinical trial phases (e.g. Phase 3 trials). Well-designed RCT’s minimize the influence of variables other than the intervention that might effect trial outcomes. For this reason, they provide the best evidence of efficacy and safety. The most rigorous RCTs utilize a placebo (inactive) control group and blinding (conceal from trial examiners which participants have received active vs. control treatment) to minimize bias in interpretation of results.
  • Reclining Back: systems that allow a change in the seat-to-back angle of the wheelchair.
  • Recto-anal Dyssynergia: loss of normal reflex coordination of sigmoid, rectum and anus during evacuation of the bowel resulting in disordered defecation. Contributes to difficulty with evacuation and constipation.
  • Referral and Intake: a portion of assessment in which the consumer, or someone close to him, has identified a need for which assistive technology intervention may be indicated and contacts assistive technologist; basic information is gathered and a determination of the match between the services is provided and the identified needs of the consumer is made; funding is also identified and secured at this stage.
  • Reflex Erection: occurs solely based on genital or sacral area stimulation.
  • Refractory Depression: the term refers to a form of depression that is resistant to treatment. It is used to describe a depressive disorder that has not responded to adequate courses of at least two antidepressants.
  • Regeneration / Repair: terms used to describe mechanisms underlying restoration of function. In the case of CNS damage such as spinal cord injury, regeneration has been used to describe the regrowth of axons severed during spinal trauma.
  • Repetition Maximum Testing: defined as the weight that can be lifted through an entire range of motion a set number of times.
  • Residual Volume: the volume of air remaining in the lungs after a maximal expiratory effort.
  • Respiration and Sphincter Management (breathing, bladder, bowel, use of toilet) max. = 40 points (clinically weighted)
  • Role Model: the term role model refers to another person who serves as an example to another person. In the field of spinal cord injury rehabilitation, it refers to a person with a spinal cord injury who functions as an example to an individual with a more recent injury.
  • Saturated Fatty Acid : a fatty acid containing no carbon-carbon double bonds.
  • Schwann Cell: see Glia. [p.25]
  • SCI-FAI: a mobility measure focusing on gait abnormalities. It was developed to assess ambulation in SCI patients. The gait parameters consist of three components: gait parameter, assistive devices use, walking mobility.
  • Scoliosis: a medical condition in which a person's spine is curved from side to side. It is a complex three-dimensional deformity.
  • Seating and Positioning Aids: offer modifications to wheelchairs or other seating systems. They provide greater body stability, upright posture or reduction of pressure on the skin surface.
  • Sebum: sebaceous glands secrete the oily, waxy substance called sebum
  • Secondary Cell Death: see neuroprotection
  • Selective Dorsal Rhizotomy: a permanent procedure that addresses the spasticity at its neuromuscular root i.e., in the central nervous system that contains the misfiring nerves that cause the spasticity of those certain muscles in the first place.
  • Self-care: (feeding, bathing, dressing, grooming) max. = 20 points
  • Sensory Level: defined as the most caudal dermatome in which both pinprick and light touch sensation are normal.
  • Sensory Nervous System: a part of the nervous system responsible for processing sensory information. A sensory system consists of sensory receptors, neural pathways, and parts of the brain involved in sensory perception. Commonly recognised sensory systems are those for vision, hearing, somatic sensation (touch), taste and olfaction (smell).
  • Sensory Score: based on the ISNCSCI assessment of the patient's perception of sensation from the skin of the body. The sensory score is calculated by testing a point on the (skin surface) dermatome associated with each spinal level from C2 to S4-5. This is done for both light touch and pinprick sensation and in comparison with sensations perceived from the skin above the level of spinal cord injury, such as the face. Each point is assigned a score from 0 (absent sensation) through 1 (impaired or abnormal sensation) to 2 (normal sensation). This gives a possible maximum score of 56 on each side, for a maximum total of 112 each for light touch and pinprick.
  • Septicaemia: systemic disease associated with the presence and persistence of pathogenic microorganisms or their toxins in the blood.
  • Serotonin: is a monoamine neurotransmitter primarily found in the gastrointestinal tract and in the central nervous system. It is considered to be a contributor to feelings of well being and happiness in humans.
  • Sexual Function: includes sexual interest (desire), the way the genital organs respond to sexual arousal (genital arousal), orgasm and ejaculation.
  • Sham Operative Procedure: a surgical procedure in which the subject is operated on but does not receive the experimental intervention. This is the equivalent of a drug placebo treatment.
  • Single-blind Studies: either the clinical investigator or the subject, but not both, are blinded.
  • Sip and Puff Switch: dual switch that is activated by sipping or puffing on an apparatus resembling a drinking straw.
  • Social Worker: A social worker is a direct service provider who provides assistance to people with problems in their everyday lives. The range of problems may include housing, finances, insurance, finding care givers and transportation. Many social workers also provide mental health related services to individuals, couples and families.
  • Sollerman Hand Function Test: developed to provide an overall measure of hand and grip function when engaging in activities of daily living.  It was designed to measure grips that are needed for certain ADLs such as eating, driving, personal hygiene, and writing. The test includes subtests that represent common handgrips (volar, transverse volar, spherical volar and pinch positions - pulp, lateral, tripod, and the five finger) and activities (using a key; picking up coins from a flat surface; writing with a pen; using a phone; and pouring water from a jug).
  • Soluble Fibre: a fiber that is readily fermented by bacteria.
  • Somatosensory Evoked Potentials: see Evoked potentials
  • Spasticity: an increase in tone due to upper motor neuron disease. It is velocitydependent, has a sudden release after reaching a maximum (the "clasp-knife"phenomenon), and predominantly affects antigravity muscles (i.e., upper limbflexors more than extensors and lower limb extensors more than flexors).
  • Spinalbifida: a developmental anomaly characterised by a defect in the bony encasement of the spinal cord, with or without protusion of the spinal cord and its meniges through the defect, so called myelomeningocele.
  • Spinal Cord Independence Measure: a disability scale developed to specifically address the ability of SCI patients to accomplish ADL. The SCIM assesses three areas:1) self-care (feeding, grooming, bathing, and dressing); 2) respiration and sphincter management and 3) mobility (bed and transfers and indoor/outdoor).
  • Spinal Cord Injury without Radiological Abnormality: defined as the occurrence of acute traumatic myelopathy despite normal plain radiographs and normal computed tomography studies .
  • Spinal Cord Injury: an insult to the spinal cord resulting in a change, either temporary or permanent, in normal motor, sensory, or autonomic function.
  • Spinal Shock: a form of shock associated with acute injury to the spinal cord. Temporary suppression of reflexes controlled by segments below the level of injury. The period of shock may last from hours to months.
  • Spirometry: the most common of the pulmonary function tests (PFTs), measuring lung function, specifically the amount (volume) and/or speed (flow) of air that can be inhaled and exhaled.
  • Splanchnic: meaning organ, usually used to describe visceral organs
  • Splint: a support or brace used to fasten or confine
  • Stakeholder: a person, group, organization, member or system who affects or can be affected by an organization's actions
  • Statutory Body: a body set up by and la which is authorised to enforce legislation on behalf of the relevant country or state. They are typically found in countries which are governed by a British style of parliamentary democracy. They are common in the UK, Australia, New Zealand etc. but are also found elsewhere
  • Stem or Progenitor Cells: ‘True’ stem cells have the potential to self-renew indefinitely and differentiate (develop) into numerous types of cells. In practice most cell transplants do not involve ‘true’ stem cells. In reality, they are progenitor cells, which come from stem cells. Progenitor cells have less plasticity than ‘true’ stem cells and a more limited capacity to differentiate. : a very incomplete understanding of the benefits and risks in preclinical animal studies, poorly defined cell products (some with no GMP protocols or standards), additional damage to cord if cells have to be injected directly into the spinal cord tissue, stimulation of neuropathic pain, and/or causing the formation of cancerous tumors since some stem or progenitor cells can rapidly divide.
  • Sub-maximal Arm Tests : is used to determine peak oxygen uptake rate in upper body exercise
  • Substance Abuse: the term refers to the use of illicit or illegal substances (drugs) and or alcohol in which the individual consumes the substance in a manner that is harmful in a physical or psychological manner. Substance abuse frequently implies that the individual has an addictive relationship with the substance and has difficulties with impulse control and regulation.
  • Succinylcholine: a depolarizing neuromuscular blocking agent used as the chloride salt as an anesthesia adjunct and in convulsive therapy
  • Suicidal Ideation: suicidal ideation is a term that is used to describe thoughts about suicide. The range of suicidal thinking may range from a fleeting thought about harming one’s self to more detailed plans as to how the suicidal act would be carried out.
  • Supplement: dietary or nutrition supplement is a product intended to supplement the diet that bears or contains one or more of the following ingredients: vitamin, mineral, herb, amino acid,
  • Support Surface: special mattresses, mattress overlays, seat cushions, and specialty beds that support your body in bed or in a chair.
  • Supraconal Injuries: occur above the conus medullaris. In general these injuries cause an overactive or upper motor neuron pattern
  • Surrogate Endpoints: a measurement of an expected biologic activity from the experimental drug or cell transplant that substitutes for the clinical (functional) endpoint. A surrogate endpoint (outcome) may predict a patient’s final clinical outcome. A surrogate marker (measure) may indicate whether a drug is effective without having to wait for the longer-term functional clinical endpoints being achieved. The identification of an accurate surrogate measure or marker can reduce the time required in an early clinical trial phase to show a possible benefit. Surrogate endpoints can and have been used in Phase 2 clinical trials.
  • Sympathetic System: one of the three parts of the autonomic nervous system, along with the entericand parasympathetic systems. Its general action is to mobilise the body's nervous system fight:or:flight response. It is, however, constantly active at a basic level to maintain homeostasis
  • Synapse: the cell membrane of the signal-passing neuron (presynaptic neuron) comes into close apposition with the membrane of the target (postsynaptic) neuron. Both the presynaptic and postsynaptic sites contain receptors and molecular machinery necessary for synaptic communication between the two neurons. the presynaptic part belongs to an axon terminal, while the postsynaptic element is usually a dendrite or soma of the second neuron. It should be noted that many neurons can receive and integrate inputs from thousands of presynaptic neurons and project to several hundred other neurons. In short, every neuron is presynaptic to some neurons and postsynaptic to other neurons. In a chemical synapse, the presynaptic neuron releases a chemical called a neurotransmitter that binds to receptors located in the postsynaptic cell, usually embedded in the plasma (cell) membrane. The neurotransmitter may activate a receptor-ion channel complex directly or an indirect second messenger pathway that either excites or inhibits the postsynaptic neuron. The number of neurons is estimated to be 100 billion and the number of synaptic connections in the average adult brain is truly astronomical and defies comprehension (approximately 250-500 trillion).
  • Syringomyelia: is a generic term referring to a disorder in which a cyst or cavity forms within the spinal cord. This cyst, called a syrinx, can expand and elongate over time, destroying the spinal cord. The damage may result in pain, paralysis, weakness, and stiffness in the back, shoulders, and extremities.
  • Tardieu Scale: scale quantifying muscle spasticity by assessing the response of the muscle to stretch applied at specified velocities.
  • Tenodesis: wrist is flexed to extend the fingers completely. Again, the wrist is extended to produce flexion of the fingers. Tenodesis Grip refers to a wrist posture that determines the position of the thumb and fingers allowing the finger to come in contact with the thumb.
  • Tetraplegia Hand Activity Questionnaire: a measure of arm and hand function in individuals with tetraplegia. It consists of 9 subclasses: self:care, dressing, continence, mobility, eating and drinking, work/admin/telecom, leisure, household, and miscellaneous the large intestine.
  • Tetraplegia: (also known as quadriplegia) refers to loss of motor and/or sensory function in all four limbs due to spinal cord damage, with impairment of the upper extremities as well as trunk, legs and pelvic organs.  This implies damage to the cervical spinal cord (at or above the T1 level). Technically tetraplegia is the more correct term, because "tetra", like "plegia", has a Greek root, whereas "quadra" has a Latin root and in classic naming terminology you do not mix Latin with Greek words!
  • Tidal Volume: is the lung volume representing the normal volume of air displaced between normal inspiration and expiration when extra effort is not applied. In a healthy, young adult, tidal volume is approximately 500 ml per inspiration or 7 ml/kg of body weight.
  • Tilt-in-space:  a wheelchair systems in which all seating angles (seat:to:back, seat:to:calf, calf:to:foot) are preset to consumer`s need and the entire seating system is tilted back as one piece.
  • Total Lung Capacity: is the maximum volume of air present in the lungs. The average total lung capacity of an adult human male is about 6 litres of air
  • Totipotency: is the ability of a single cell to divide and produce all the differentiated cells in an organism including extraembryonic tissues
  • Trackball: an input device, which contains a visible sphere, mounted in a stationary container. It functions similarly to a mouse, however, the sphere is rotated with the fingers to move the cursor to any position on the screen.
  • Training: a process whereby the individual with a disability, family members, or other personnel are taught how to use a piece of assistive technology, product, or service.
  • Trans Fatty Acid: form of an unsaturated fatty acid, unnatural lipids, commonly found in processed foods, and especially deep:fried foods. Large amounts of trans fats in the diet pose certain health risk.
  • Tricyclic Antidepressants: is a family of anti depressants that are heterocyclic chemical compounds. They were first discovered in the 1950s and were introduced later in the decade. Although they are still in use today, they have largely been replaced by other antidepressants which have more favorable side effect profiles.
  • Triglyceride: major form of lipid in the body and in food. It is composed of three fatty acids bonded to glycerol.
  • UEMS and PRM Section : section and the board of physical and rehabilitation medicine represent specialists in physical and rehabilitation medicine within the European Union of Medical Specialists (UEMS).
  • Undernutrition: Failing health that results from a long-standing intake that is not enough to meet nutritional needs.
  • Universal Design: design of products and environments so that they are usable by a wide range of people. Examples of universally designed environments include buildings with ramps, curb cuts, and automatic doors.
  • Unsaturated Fatty Acid: a fatty acid containing on or more arbon:carbon double bonds
  • Valsalva Maneuver: a forceful attempt at expiration against a  closed glottis; especially - a conscious effort made while holding the nostrils closed and keeping the mouth shut especially for the purpose of testing the patency of the eustachian tubes, adjusting middle ear pressure, or aborting supraventricular tachycardia called also Valsalva. In relation to bowel management Valsalva may be used by individuals with neurogenic bowel dysfunction to raise intra abdominal pressure to help expel stool from the bowel; it is not seen as a beneficial intervention.
  • Vaso-vagal Episode:  a malaise mediated by the vagus nerve. When it leads to syncope or "fainting", it is called a vasovagal syncope, which is the most common type of fainting.
  • Vibration: a manual technique used widely to assist with the removal of pulmonary secretions.
  • Vitamin: a compound needed in very small amounts in the diet to help regulate and support chemical reactions in the body.
  • Walking Index for Spinal Cord Injury (WISCI): a measure of ambulation designed specifically for SCI clinical trials. The WISCI evaluates the amount of physical assistance, braces or devices required to walk 10 metres.
  • Wheelchair User’s Shoulder Pain Index:  designed to measure shoulder pain in individuals who use wheelchairs. There are 15 visual analogue scales consisting of 10cm lines anchored by ‘no pain’ and ‘worst pain ever experienced’. Items assess intensity of shoulder pain during transfers, activities of daily living, and mobility performed from a wheelchair.
  • Wheelchair: a chair with wheels, designed to be a replacement for walking. The device comes in variations where it is propelled by motors or by the seated occupant turning the rear wheels by hand. Wheelchairs are used by people for whom walking is difficult or impossible due to illness (physiological or physical), injury, or disability.
  • Wheelstand (wheelie): a wheelchair maneuver in which the front castors  lift off the ground due to occupants shift of CoG in combination with a small torque being applied to the rear wheel or wheels.
  • Zone of Partial Preservation: This term refers to those dermatomes and Myotomes caudal to the neurological level that remain partially innervated. When some impaired sensory and/or motor function is found below the lowest normal segment, the exact number of segments so affected should be recorded for both sides as the ZPP. The term is used only with complete injuries.

Source

  1. http://www.wikipedia.org/
  2. http://medical-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/ (the free dictionary by farelex)
  3. http://www.online-medical-dictionary.org/ (medical dictionary online)
  4. www.merriam-webster.com/medical
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  6. http://www.fctd.info/uploads//glossary_web-2.pdf, [Internet], 2012
  7. Cook and Hussey, Assistive Technologies: Principles and Practice, 3rd edition, Mosby, October 3, 2007.
  8. Dr. Rory Cooper, Wheelchair Selection and Configuration, Demos Medical Publishing, 1998.
  9. ISNCSCI
  10. Amiram catz et al 2007