Definitions: Brain Injury Legal Glossary "C"

Caregivers Conference: A PRN meeting to do more focused treatment planning and problem solving for individuals with acquired brain injury. Anyone on the treatment team can call for a caregiver conference. Sometimes problems and issues exist in only one therapy. However, that particular problem is not just that therapist's issue; it is a team issue which must be addressed accordingly.

Catheter: A tube which is inserted into any body part to withdraw or introduce fluids.

Cerebellum: A portion of the brain that occupies a position in posterior (i.e. back) of the brainstem. It has a left and right hemisphere as well as median lobe called the vermis. It regulates motor coordination and has been implicated in cognitive functions such as complex attention and procedural learning.

Cerebral Angiogram: An X-ray picture of the blood vessels inside the head. A drug is injected via the groin artery to outline these cerebral vessels.

Cerebral Cortex: The largest part of the brain. It controls thought processes (such as memory and learning) and motor functions (such as walking).

Cerebral: Concerning the brain.

Cerebrum: The largest part of the brain; controls voluntary or willed movement and the ability to create rational thought. Such capabilities are only possessed by human beings. The cerebrum is made up of frontal, temporal, parietal and occipital lobes divided into halves.

Closed Head Injury: An injury that occurs when the head suddenly and violently hits an object, but the object does not break through the skull.

Cognition: The mental process or faculty of knowing; may be simple or complex, and includes psychological (past/present) cognitive and physiological medical/neurological factors.

Cognitive Retraining Rehab: Therapeutic intervention aimed at facilitating the recovery of mental skills disrupted as a result of brain injury.

Coma: Long periods of unconsciousness. The depth may vary from no response to stimulation to a slight awakening. Depth and length often affect the quality of recovery.

Compressive Cranial Neuropathies: Degeneration of nerves in the brain caused by pressure on those nerves.

Computed Tomography (CT): A scan that creates a series of cross-sectional X-rays of the head and brain; may also be called a computerized axial tomography or CAT scan.

Concussion: Injury to the brain caused by a hard blow or violent shaking, causing a sudden and temporary impairment of brain function, such as a short loss of consciousness or disturbance of vision and equilibrium.

Contrecoup: A contusion caused by the shaking of the brain back and forth within the confines of the skull.

Contusion: Distinct area of swollen brain tissue mixed with blood released from broken blood vessels.

Corpus Callosum: The band of commissural fibers which connects the two hemispheres of the brain and allows for rapid and effective inter-hemisphere communication.

Cortex: The outer convoluted surface of the brain that is composed of nerve cell bodies and their synaptic connections. It is the highest and most complexly organized center of the brain. The cortex is typically divided into four main lobes: frontal, temporal, parietal and occipital.

Cortical Dysplasia: An abnormality in the growth, size and/or shape of cells.

Coup-Contrecoup: When the brain is hit with sufficient force, it will "bounce" against the opposite side of the skull causing injury to both the site of impact (coup) and the part of the brain opposite the impact (contrecoup).

Cranial Nerves: 12 pairs of nerves which have their origin in the brain stem.

Craniotomy: Surgical removal of the skull in small pieces.

Cranium: The bony skull which completely engulfs the brain to protect it.

CSF Fistula: A tear between two of the three membranes - the dura and arachnoid membranes - that encase the brain.

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