basal ganglia 

large clusters of nervce cells deep in the brain, below the cerebral hemispheres

blink rate 

the number of times per minute that the eyelid automatically closes 

typically a person blinks 10 to 30 times per minute

blood-brain barrier 

the protective membrane that separates circulating blood from brain cells


slowness of thought processes

brain attack 

another term for stroke

brisk reflex 

a condition that describes the weakening of the upper motor neurons

bulbar muscles 

the muscles that control the speech, chewing and swallowing.

bulbar onset 

type of ALS where initial symptoms appear in the face and neck. It begins by affecting speech, swallowing, and facial muscles.

Bilevel Positive Airway Pressure(BiPAP)

A small breathing machine with dual settings which allows for more air to enter in and out of a person's lungs. It is typically provided with a facemask to seal in the pressure level. 


used to diagnose or monitor a disease


central nervous system (CNS)

the brain and the spinal cord


the lower region of the brain that is responsible for coordination of movement and balance

Examinging of a sample of fluid from the spinal cord


Two largest, complex, and developed lobes of the brain. The cerebrum is responsible for initiation and coordination within the voluntary movement


rapid, jerky, dance-like movement of the body

classical ALS 

a progressive neurological disease which breaks down the upper and lower motor nerve neurons

computed tomography (CT or CAT scan)

non-invasive x-ray that takes images of your brain or other internal organs. This procedure can detect more than a normal x--ray


outer lay of the cerebrum that is filled with nerve cells

CAL (caregiver of a person with ALS)

a term heard often in the ALS Community that describes the person taking care of a patient with ALS


the person providing care for a patient's daily living

evaluate the benefits and risks of experimental medicines for diseases. These studies involve testing potential treatments in people according to specifically designed experimental plans known as protocols

Clinical Trial, Phase I

determines whether a treatment is safe and tolerable in people

Clinical Trial, Phase II

determines whether a treatment is safe and tolerable in people, and potentially effective people with ALS. Phase II studies let researchers know about side effects, dosages, and overall how the treatment is working

Clinical Trial, Phase III

determines whether a treatment is safe and tolerable in people, effectiveness, side effects, dosage, and benefits for patients with ALS. Phase III studies are used by the FDA to make a decision on if it should be approved as a treatment

Clinical Trial, Phase IV

This takes place AFTER the treatment has been approved by the FDA

Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP)

a machine that keeps the airways open to ensure you are constantly breathing.


a tightening of muscles that would result in immobility of joints.

Care Plan

a written action plan detailing the strategies for delivering care for the patient.



an extension from a nerve cell that acts like an antenna and receives messages from the axons of other nerve cells 


a chemical substance, a neurotransmitter, found in the brain that regulates movement, balance, and walking


Change in speech, typically slurred or slowed because of weakness it stiffness in the muscles needed for speaking


difficulty in swallowing


slow movement or extended spasm in a group of muscles


healthcare professional that provides care regarding receiving proper nutrition

durable medical equipment (DME)

medical equipment Medicare and most insurance companies consider necessary and cover the cost

do-not-resuscitate order (DNR)

legal order that instructs medical professionals of a person's wishes if they are unable to communicate and would need CPR or other life-saving techniques

a legal document that allows a person to have the authority to make decisions on their behalf. ""Durable is when it remains effective even if the grantor becomes mentally incompetent.