Headway Essex

Providing Brain Injury Care & Support

Glossary of Brain Injury Terms

Acceleration/Deceleration injury

A closed head injury often sustained in car accidents. The brain is forced forwards then backwards, rebounding against the walls of the skull. Damage is caused both to the frontal lobe and to the back of the brain.



Partial or total loss of the ability to remember things. May be either retrograde (inability to remember events that happened before the injury) or anterograde (problems remembering things that happened after the injury).



A balloon like deformity in the wall of a blood vessel. This may eventually burst, causing haemorrhage.



Lack of oxygen supply to brain cells (also called hypoxia).



May be either expressive (inability to express oneself in speech) or receptive (inability to understand what is said).



Inability to plan and perform purposeful movements (whilst still having the ability to move and be aware of movements).



Abnormal and unsteady movements due to loss of co-ordination of the muscles.


Blood Clot

(see haematoma)


Cerebrospinal Fluid (CSF)

Clear, colourless fluid in the spaces inside and around the brain and spinal cord.


Closed head injury

Damage to the brain in which there is no penetration through the scalp or skull to the brain tissue. This is the most common type of brain injury and happens when the brain is thrown forwards and/ or backwards, or rotated sharply, e.g. in a car crash.



General term used to cover all areas of intellectual functioning. Includes skills such as thinking, remembering, planning, understanding, concentrating and using language.



State of unconsciousness. Depth of coma is measured by the Glasgow Coma Scale.



Stiffness and resistance to stretching in joints and muscles which are not used regularly.



Bruising of brain tissue on the opposite side to where the blow was struck.



A bruise caused by a blow with a blunt object.



Operation to open the skull.


CT scan/ CAT scan

Computerised Axial Tomography. A series of X-rays taken at different levels of the brain. Used to identify bruising and clots on the brain.


Diffuse axonal injury

Widespread tearing of nerve fibres across the whole of the brain.



Difficulty in controlling urges and impulses to speak, act, or show emotions.



Difficulty speaking, due to weakness and lack of co-ordination of the muscles used for speech.



Difficulty in writing.



Difficulty in swallowing



May be either expressive (difficulty in expressing oneself in speech) or receptive (difficulty in understanding what is said.



Difficulty in planning and performing purposeful movements (whilst still having the ability to move and be aware of movements).



Abnormal muscle tone.



Abnormal electric discharge in the brain. Involves seizures or fits, affecting parts or all of the body.


Executive functions

Planning, organising, problem solving, sequencing, self-monitoring and controlling behaviour.



The collection of blood into pools or clots. This forms a swelling, which compresses the brain around it.



Weakness of one side of the body.



Paralysis of one side of the body.



Build-up of fluid in the spaces inside and around the brain, which can cause injury to the brain.



(see anoxia)



Areas where brain cells have died as a result of loss of blood supply.



Inside the skull


Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanner

A scanning machine that enables highly detailed pictures of the brain to be taken. Uses a strong magnet rather than X-rays.



Excess fluid in tissue, causing swelling.


Open head injury

An injury where the skull is broken open by a blow to the head.



Involuntary prolonged repetition of words or actions.


Post traumatic amnesia (PTA)

The period after being unconscious when there may be confused behaviour and inability to remember continuous events.



Perception of the position and movement of the body, limbs and head.



Device to remove excess fluid or divert blood.


Skull fracture

May be either a compound fracture (a crack in the skull) or a depressed fracture (in which bone fragments are pushed inwards into the skull).



An involuntary increase in muscle tone (tension)



An operation to open up blocked airways by cutting through the neck and inserting a plastic tube into the windpipe.



Also called a respirator. A machine which pumps oxygen-enriched air into the lungs when they are not working efficiently. This encourages quiet breathing and creates best conditions for healing the brain.



A cavity in the brain that makes and contains cerebrospinal fluid.



Exert from “Hospital Treatment and Early Recovery and Brain Injury”.

By Dr Chris Maimaris and Esme Worthington

Booklet available from www.headway.org.uk



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West Essex Support Groups

Please note due to unforeseen circumstances the West Essex Support Group meetings will be held at a new venue. We will update you in due course on the new location, if you have any immediate enquires relating to this please call the Community Support Team on 01206 768797

The Showman's Ball - Friday 9 March 2018

Inspired by PT Barnum and the forthcoming film 'The Greatest Showman'.


Set at the beautiful Stoke-by-Nayland  Hotel, Spa and Golf resort it will be a night to remember.


Auction ~ Raffle ~ Live music ~ Entertainment


Tickets include; Canapes and sparking reception, three course dinner and coffee.  


Standard £70    per person or £650    for a table of 10

Headway Essex joins the Essex Lottery

Headway Essex is delighted to say that we have joined the Essex Lottery, which is expected to be one of the largest Council-run lotteries in the country! For every £1 ticket you purchase, 50p will go directly to your chosen cause, which if you choose Headway Essex, will be us! And, you’ll be in with a chance of winning up to £25,000.  

Not only will we receive half the proceeds, an additional 10p will be donated to a central Essex Lottery fund, which will see small grants given to a wide range of good causes in Essex.

Registering is free and easy to complete, with no administration charge. To register, visit   www.essexlottery.co.uk

For details of our upcoming Support Group meetings please  click here.