Dementia Glossary of Terms

The glossary provides a list of words that may be seen on medical documentation.

  • Agnosia
    Inability to comprehend or recognize sounds and/or objects.

  • Angiogram
    A series of images taken in rapid succession that can show the blood vessels in the brain, or other areas of the body, after the area has been injected with radiopaque material.

  • Anoxia
    Without oxygen.

  • Aphasia
    Impairment of the ability to comprehend and/or communicate through speech, writing, or signs due to dysfunctions of the brain centers.

  • Ataxia
    Inability to coordinate muscles when voluntary muscular movements are attempted.

  • Central Nervous System (CNS)
    Nerves and end organs in the brain and spinal cord that control voluntary and involuntary acts. This includes parts of the brain controlling consciousness and mental activities.

  • Computerized Axial Tomography Scan (CATR Scan)
    Use of a computer to produce, from x-ray data, a cross sectional view. Used to produce an image of the brain.

  • Complex Visual Acuity
    Visual abilities are functioning but the brain does not allow the person to recognize or comprehend what is seen.

  • Delirium
    A state of mental confusion and excitement characterized by disorientation for time and place, attention wanders, disorganized thinking, and incoherent speech. Delirium can be caused by fever, shock, exhaustion, anxiety, or drug overdose.

  • Electroenceph-alogram (EEG)
    A reading from an electrical recording of brain activity. Very helpful diagnostic tool in locating lesions in the brain. May be useful in diagnosing dementia and epilepsy.

  • Encephalitis
    Inflammation of the brain.

  • Hypoxia
    Deficiency or a decreased levels of oxygen.

  • Lability
    State of being unstable or changeable.

  • Mini Mental State Exam
    A standardized exam to determine a personís mental state. The exam involves a practitioner asking the person questions to evaluate the person's awareness, language, learning, and visuospatial abilities. The exam has a high score of 30. Persons scoring 20 or below should not drive.

  • Magnetic Resonance Images (MRI)
    A method of generating images of the brain.

  • Neuro-degenerative
    Degeneration of the nervous system tissues.

  • Neuro-psychiatric
    Pertaining to nervous and mental diseases.

  • Praxis
    The ability to plan and execute coordinated movement.

  • Pseudo-dementia
    Exaggerated indifference to the environment without impairment of mental capacity. Implies dementia symptoms.

  • Syntex
    Inability to arrange words into sentences.

  • Visuospatial Disturbances
    A disturbance in the ability to comprehend and conceptualize the relationship between an object(s) seen and the space around it.