Brain Tumor Glossary of Terms

Easily explore the meaning of hundreds of medical terms or words, many directly used in brain tumor-related terminology.

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Nerve

A bundle of fibers that receives and sends messages between the body and the brain. The messages are sent by chemical and electrical changes in the cells that make up the nerves.

Nervous System

The organized network of nerve tissue in the body. It includes the central nervous system (the brain and spinal cord), the peripheral nervous system (nerves that extend from the spinal cord to the rest of the body), and other nerve tissue.

Neural

Having to do with nerves or the nervous system, including the brain and the spinal cord.

Neuro-oncologist

A doctor who specializes in diagnosing and treating brain tumors and other tumors of the nervous system.

Neuroblastoma

Cancer that arises in immature nerve cells and affects mostly infants and children.

Neurologic

Having to do with nerves or the nervous system.

Neurological Exam

A series of questions and tests to check brain, spinal cord, and nerve function. The exam checks a person’s mental status, coordination, ability to walk, and how well the muscles, sensory systems, and deep tendon reflexes work.

Neurologist

A doctor who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of disorders of the nervous system.

Neuron

A type of cell that receives and sends messages from the body to the brain and back to the body. The messages are sent by a weak electrical current. Also called nerve cell.

Neuropathologist

A pathologist who specializes in diseases of the nervous system. A pathologist identifies disease by studying cells and tissues under a microscope.

Neurosurgeon

A doctor who specializes in surgery on the brain, spine, and other parts of the nervous system.

Neurotoxicity

The tendency of some treatments to cause damage to the nervous system.

NIH

A federal agency in the U.S. that conducts biomedical research in its own laboratories; supports the research of non-Federal scientists in universities, medical schools, hospitals, and research institutions throughout the country and abroad; helps in the training of research investigators; and fosters communication of medical information. Also called National Institutes of Health.

NMRI

A procedure in which radio waves and a powerful magnet linked to a computer are used to create detailed pictures of areas inside the body. These pictures can show the difference between normal and diseased tissue. NMRI makes better images of organs and soft tissue than other scanning techniques, such as computed tomography (CT) or x-ray. NMRI is especially useful for imaging the brain, the spine, the soft tissue of joints, and the inside of bones. Also called nuclear magnetic resonance imaging.

Nodule

A growth or lump that may be malignant (cancer) or benign (not cancer).

Nonblinded

Describes a clinical trial or other experiment in which the researchers know what treatments are being given to each study subject or experimental group. If human subjects are involved, they know what treatments they are receiving.