NeurOn Glossary of Terms
A, B, C, D,
E, F, G, H, I, J, K,
L, M, N, O, P,
Q, R, S, T, U, V, W,
X, Y, Z
- Afferent is a general term applied to nerves or blood vessels that
means nerve signals or blood are traveling from the peripheral to the
center of the body.
- Relating to the science of plant and animal structures
- A wasting away of the body or an organ
Autonomic Nervous System (ANS)
- The autonomic nervous system is the part of the nervous system that
supplies stimulation to the involuntary muscles, like the heartbeat
and the glands. The autonomic nervous system is controlled principally
by parts of the brain stem and the hypothalamus (a part of the brain).
- The study of the biological and chemical interactions of living things
- Blood pressure is the pressure exerted by the flow of blood through
the arteries of the body. This pressure is greatest during the contraction
of the ventricles of the heart (systolic pressure), which forces blood
into the arterial system. Pressure falls to its lowest level when the
heart is filling with blood (diastolic pressure).
- Cardiovascular means pertaining to the heart and the blood vessels.
Central Nervous System (CNS)
- The Central Nervous System consists of the brain and the spinal cord;
the CNS is responsible for the integration of all nervous activities.
- Circadian means being, having, characterized by, or occurring in approximately
24 hour periods or cycles; in relation to sleep cycles.
- Relating to perception, judgment, memory and reasoning.
- Dynamics refers to the forces in a system (such as everyday life on
Earth) that drive the system (such as gravity).
Efferent means conducting (fluid or a nerve impulse) outward from a
given organ or part thereof, e.g. the efferent connections of a group
of nerve cells, efferent blood vessels, or the excretory duct of an organ.
A state of rest or balance.
- Homeostatic means relating to homeostasis, which is the physiological
process by which the internal systems of the body (e.g. blood pressure,
body temperature, acid-base balance) are maintained at equilibrium
despite variations in the external conditions.
- Kinematics refers to the study of pure motion without thinking about
the forces causing the motion.
Melatonin is a substance secreted by the pineal gland that passes by
way of the blood or through the fluid of the third ventricle to the anterior
pituitary gland to control gonadotropic hormone secretion; melatonin can
be manufactured artificially and is showing several possible beneficial
A nerve that carries impulses from the receptor and the brain
Metabolism is the sum of all the chemical and physical changes that
take place within the body and enable its continued growth and functioning.
A metabolite is a substance that takes part in the process of metabolism,
which involves the breakdown of complex organic constituents of the body
with the liberation of energy for use in bodily functioning. The various
compounds that take part in or are formed by these reactions are called
A state where the gravity is reduced to almost negligible levels. illustration
A research program which studies fundamental science, combustion science,
materials science and biotechnology in the space environment in order
to better understand gravity dependent physical phenomena.
Motor plasticity refers to the capability of that which imparts movement,
i.e., the muscles, to be formed or molded, i.e. the quality of being plastic.
- Neuromuscular means of or relating to nerves and the muscles they
- A neuron is a nerve cell, one of the basic functional units of the
nervous system; it is specialized to transmit electrical nerve impulses
and so carry information from one part of the body to another.
- Neuroscience is any one of the various branches of science concerned
with growth, development and function of the nervous system.
- A chemical that communicates information between neurons by movement
across the synapse. illustration
- Optokinetic refers to the occurrence of intermittent rotation of
the eye when the subject looks at moving objects. In other words,
when the visual scene continually moves before the eyes, such as when
a person is riding in a car or turning around, the eyes fix on one
highlight after another in the visual field, jumping from one to the
next at a rate of two to three jumps per second. The jumps are called
saccades and the movements a are called optokinetic movements.
- When astronauts come back to Earth after they become adapted to
space and weightlessness, they tend to faint when they stand because
their blood pressure falls.
- An otolith (or otoconium) is one of the small particles of calcium
carbonate in the saccule or utricle of the inner ear. Pressure of
the otoliths on the hair cells of the macula provide sensory inputs
about acceleration and gravity.
- Physiological means of or relating to physiology, the science that
studies the function of the body and the vital processes of living
things, whether animal or plant.
- A placebo is a substance, made to look like medicine, that actually
does nothing. Its purpose is to control a study of a real medicine.
- Plasma volume is the measure of the volume of plasma in the blood.
Plasma is the liquid portion of blood; the solid portion of blood
is composed of cells. Plasma consists of a solution of various inorganic
salts, such as sodium, potassium, calcium, protein, and other blood
volume is about 5 liters.
- The receptor is the ending of a nerve where an impulse starts.
This ending is usually on the skin or near the surface and is the
cause of "pain" as we know it.
- Spacelab is a reusable laboratory that contains space flight hardware
carried in the Space Shuttle's payload bay. Most life sciences experiments
are conducted in the Spacelab. Equipment is mounted along the walls
and floor of the pressurized cylindrical Spacelab module. Crewmembers
float into the Spacelab through a tunnel adapter that transits from
the airlock in the Shuttle middeck to the Spacelab.
- Spatial orientation refers to the process of aligning or positioning
in a three-dimensional space with respect to a specific direction
or reference system.
- Stimuli (plural form of stimulus) are things that cause an organism
to perform an activity or start a reaction.
- Sympathetic means relating to the actions of the sympathetic nervous
system, one of the two divisions of the autonomic nervous system.
Its nerves are distributed to the blood vessels, sweat glands, salivary
- A place where nerve signals are sent across a gap.
Growing and/or living on land
A hollow part of the body connected to another hollow part, an example
is the area leading to the cochlea, found in the inner ear.