Terminology for Brain-Related Disorders

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  • 0:01 Brain Disorders
  • 0:26 Disorders Affecting Memory
  • 1:18 Other Brain Disorders
  • 3:26 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Artem Cheprasov
This lesson defines some important and famous disorders related to the brain. We will look at Parkinson's, multiple sclerosis, encephalitis, dementia, Alzheimer's, and Reye's syndrome.

Brain Disorders

Much like even the most powerful computers eventually suffer from breakdown or malfunction, our all-knowing and all-powerful brains are sort of the same. These powerful organic machines are susceptible to some terrible disorders. Let's take a look at some of these. We can't cover all of them because, unfortunately, there are so many, but we will cover enough to paint a picture of the many different problems that can affect the brain.

Disorders Affecting Memory

Computers have something called memory. They can also suffer from memory problems. And while you may replace a computer's memory to make things all better, things aren't so simple for the brain.

The term cognition refers to the mental faculty that relates to knowing, perception, thinking, learning, and memory. Mild cognitive impairment may be a sign of an increased risk of developing dementia later in life. Dementia is the gradual loss of mental abilities, such as memory and thinking, severe enough to interfere with day-to-day life.

Dementia isn't a disease, but it is a description of a group of symptoms that may be part of a broader problem. Alzheimer's disease is the most common form of dementia, one that affects a person's memory, reasoning, and other mental functions as a result of brain cell degeneration and death.

Other Brain Disorders

Sadly, just like computers suffer from plenty of problems not solely related to their memory, the brain is, unfortunately, susceptible to being afflicted by a whole host of other diseases and disorders, as well. One of these is known as encephalitis, inflammation of the brain, sometimes caused by a viral infection. Encephalitis comes from the prefix 'encephal/o-,' which means brain, and the suffix of '-itis,' which means inflammation of something.

Another disorder associated with the brain is called Parkinson's disease, a progressive disorder affecting the nervous system that is characterized by fine muscle tremors, slowed movement, and rigid muscles. It is associated with the destruction of brain cells that produce a biochemical messenger called dopamine.

While the loss of a chemical is implicated in one disease, the addition of a chemical into the body is implicated in another disorder, Reye's syndrome, a very rare condition that commonly affects children recovering from a viral infection and causes the swelling of the liver and brain. What chemical is involved here? Aspirin. Children and teens who have a viral infection and take aspirin, a type of non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory drug, may be more likely to be afflicted with Reye's syndrome.

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