Terms for Pathologies of the Meninges & Head

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  • 00:00 Mysterious Terms
  • 00:25 Cephalgia & Headaches
  • 1:35 Other Disorders
  • 2:48 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Artem Cheprasov

Artem has a doctor of veterinary medicine degree.

This lesson will define several different pathologies related to the head and the meninges. These include cephalgia, migraine headaches, cluster headaches, meningitis, hydrocephalus, meningocele, and encephalocele.

Mysterious Terms

What if someone just randomly blurted out at the office you work at or the school you attend: I've got cephalgia! You'd probably think they're off their rockers. Or maybe they really do have one of many different types of cephalgia.

What is cephalgia? This and other terms related to the head and meninges will be discussed in this lesson.

Cephalgia & Headaches

So, what was that person yelling out before? Cephalgia is the technical term for a headache. 'Cephalo-' means 'head' and '-algia' means 'pain.' They were yelling out that they have a headache. It's not so fancy sounding now that you know what it means, is it?

There are many different types of headaches. For example, cluster headaches are headaches, usually occurring in men, which are characterized by cyclical patterns of intense pain affecting one side of the head. Sometimes they are accompanied by tearing of the eyes and nasal congestion.

Unlike men, women are more likely to suffer from another kind of headache - migraines. A migraine headache is a headache characterized by throbbing pain on one side of the head, often accompanied by nausea, vomiting, and sensitivity to light and sounds.

Headaches can be caused by a lot of different things. Exercise can bring about headaches. Alcohol can, too. We all know that stress and bad nutrition can force you to scream that you've got cephalgia. Oh, and even sex can bring about headaches in some people. The list is quite long, and I'll save you the headache of having to go over every possible cause.

Other Disorders

But I do truly hope you don't have a headache right now because we need to keep focusing on other disorders affecting the head and meninges.

A meningocele is the herniation of the meninges through a defect in the skull or spinal column. 'Mening/o' refers to the meninges, the protective layers surrounding the brain and spinal cord and '-cele' means 'hernia' or 'swelling.'

Another common term related to the meninges is meningitis, which is the inflammation of the meninges, where '-itis' is a suffix denoting inflammation. Meningitis can be caused by all sorts of good stuff like a bacterial or viral infection.

The suffix of '-cele' from meningocele is also used in encephalocele, the herniation of part of the brain through a defect in the skull. 'Encephalo-' is a prefix for 'brain.'

Finally, another problem affecting the brain is known as hydrocephalus, the abnormal accumulation of excess cerebrospinal fluid in the brain causing the expansion of the ventricles (or cavities) of the brain and increased pressure on the tissue of the brain.

'Hydr/o' means water and, as you probably know from cephalgia, 'cephalus' refers to the head.

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