Glossary

Abscess - A pus-filled area with definite borders.

Arachnoid - One of the membranes that sheathes the spinal cord and brain; the arachnoid is the second-layer membrane.

Cerebrospinal fluid - Fluid that is normally found in the spinal cord and brain. Abnormal levels of certain molecules in this fluid can indicate the presence of infection or damage to the central nervous system.

CT scan (computed tomography) - Cross-sectional x rays of the body are compiled to create a three-dimensional image of the body's internal structures.

Deltoid - a lateral muscle of the shoulder, between the scapula and the humerus that helps flex the shoulder and abducts the arm

Dura mater - One of the membranes that sheathes the spinal cord and brain; the dura mater is the outermost layer.

Empyema - A pus-filled area with indefinite borders.

Enteroviruses -A group of viruses that can cause meningitis. When an enterovirus is identified it is usually either a coxsackie virus or an echovirus.

Immunoglobulin - a protein of animal origin with known antibody activity, synthesized by lymphocytes and plasma cells and found in serum and in other body fluids and tissues; abbreviated Ig.

Inflammation - A response of the body tissues to injury or irritation. The response is characterised by
redness, swelling, heat and pain.

Lumbar puncture — A procedure in which a needle is inserted into the lower spine to collect a sample of cerebrospinal fluid.

Meninges - The protective membranes that surround the brain. These are called the dura mater, arachnoid mater and pia mater.

MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) — An imaging technique that uses a large circular magnet and radio waves to generate signals from atoms in the body. These signals are used to construct images of internal structures.

Vaccine / vaccination - An injection given to encourage the body to produce antibodies which help to fight infectious disease. The injection contains small particles of the disease-causing organism.

Viruses - Microbes that are smaller than bacteria. There are many types, some of which can cause disease in humans, e.g. enteroviruses.

 


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