General terms are available that encompass commonly used terms for patients newly diagnosed. ulnar nerve

General Terms

multiple sclerosis

A chronic degenerative disease of the central nervous system in which gradual destruction of myelin occurs in patches throughout the brain or spinal cord (or both), interfering with the nerve pathways and causing muscular weakness, loss of coordination and speech and visual disturbances.

motor neuron disease

A group of disorders in which motor nerve cells (neurons) in the spinal cord and brain stem deteriorate and die. ALS is the most common motor neuron disease.

motor neuron

A neuron that conveys impulses initiating muscle contraction or glandular secretion.

monoamine oxidase

An enzyme that breaks down dopamine. Monoamine (MAO) oxidase comes in two forms: A and B. In Parkinson's disease, it is beneficial to block the activity of MAO B.


The smallest unit of a substance that can exist alone and retain the character of that substance.

mitochondrial dysfunction

For ALS, cellular energy production is low in motor neurons. Excessive free radical activity appears to be caused by deficiencies in cellular energy production which is a function normally carried out by mitochondria.


The mitochondria are the principal energy source of the cell. Mitochondria convert nutrients into energy as well as doing many other specialized tasks. Mitochondria are referred to as the "cellular power plants" of an organism because they create the majority of a cell's supply of adenosine triphosphate, also known as ATP. ATP is used as a source of chemical energy for the rest of the cell.


An inflammation of the meninges, the membranes that cover the brain.

magnetic resonance imaging

A non-invasive procedure that produces a two-dimensional view of an internal organ or structure, especially the brain and spinal cord. Commonly referred to as an MRI.

lumbar puncture

A lumbar puncture or "LP" is a procedure whereby spinal fluid is removed from the spinal canal for the purpose of diagnostic testing. It is particularly helpful in the diagnosis of inflammatory diseases of the central nervous system, especially infections, such as meningitis. It can also provide clues to the diagnosis of stroke, spinal cord tumor and cancer in the central nervous system.