Glossary of Terms Neurotransmitter Chemical messengers which transmit signals from one neuron to another across synapses. At least 100 unique chemical variants have been identified. Receptor (brain) Protein molecules which receive and process neurotransmitters. Having identified bonded with the neurotransmitter, receptors acts as catalysts for cellular responses. Glutamate The most abundant neurotransmitter accounting for over 90% of synaptic connections in the human brain. It is involved in key cognitive functions such as learning and memory. AMPA receptor The most common receptor in the nervous system and one of three major glutamate receptors (the others being NMDA receptors and metabotropic glutamate receptors). They produce extremely rapid responses. Full name: ?-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazolepropionic acid receptor. Cholinergic system Organized nerve cells that are activated by, or contain and release, the neurotransmitter acetylcholine during nerve impulses. The cholinergic system has been associated with several cognitive functions, from memory, selective attention, and emotional processing. Cholinergics A class of drugs which affect the neurotransmitter acetylcholine. Commonly used in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease. Lecithin Generic term to designate any group of yellow-brownish fatty substances occurring in animal and plant tissues, which are amphiphilic – attracting both water and fats. It is an excellent emulsifier helping things dissolve. Dementia General term for a loss decline in mental ability. This may include, to varying degrees, memory loss, impaired thinking, reduced problem-solving, and language difficulties. CX-516 A cognitive enhancing drug which acts as a AMPA receptor which was researched as a treatment for Alzheimer’s disease and ADHD. Human trials proved disappointing due to low potency and a short half-life. It is, however, still used as a standard reference for newer drugs. CX-546 A cognitive enhancing drug developed after CX-516 with some advancements. It has problems with limited oral bioavailability but may have application as a treatment for schizophrenia. Rett syndrome Rare and severe neurological and developmental disorder with no known cure. It principally affects girls and is usually identified in the first two years. Can result in microcephaly (unusually small head), poor language acquisition, impaired muscular coordination, and difficulty breathing. Brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) A protein coded by the BDNF gene which aids in the survival, development, and function of neurons. It is found in the brain and peripheral nervous system and is important for long-term memory. Alzheimer's disease A chronic neurodegenerative disease causes 60-70% of dementia cases. Symptoms include language difficulty, disorientation, mood swings, loss of motivation, and other behavioural issues. The principle symptom is short-term memory loss. Lewy body Abnormal aggregates of protein which develop inside nerve cells. Most commonly associated with Parkinson’s disease, Lewy body dementia, and Pick’s disease. Nootropic Drugs or other supplements which enhance cognitive function, especially executive functions and memory. The term was coined in 1972 from the Greek words ???? (nous), or "mind", and ??????? (trepein), meaning to bend or turn. Racetams A class of drugs sharing a pyrrolidine nucleus. There are three major classes: nootropics, stimulants, and anticonvulsants. Sunifiram An experimental drug with antiamnesic effects in animal testing. It has not been subjected to toxicology testing or human trials and has not been approved for human use. Unifiram An experimental drug with antiamnesic effects in animal testing. It is not patented and has not been subjected to toxicology testing or human trials. Studies have shown it to be stronger than Piracetam. It is commonly sold online. Piracetam A nootropic drug available in Europe, Asia, and South America (but not the United States). It has seen varying results for treating dementia, anxiety, and depression: generally helping but occasionally exacerbating symptoms. Phenylpiracetam An analog of Piracetam it was developed in 1983 to help Soviet cosmonauts cope with the stress of working in space. It has shown antidepressant, anticonvulsant, and memory enhancing effects. Aniracetam A racetam sold in Europe but not approved for use in the United States. Trials have shown it to positively modulate the AMPA receptor. Oxiracetam A nootropic racetam which also acts as a mild stimulant. Several studies suggest it is safe, however, it has not proven successful in treating dementia. It is not approved for sale in the United States. Vinpocetine Used in the treatment of cerebrovascular disorders as it enhances blood flow in the brain and has neuroprotective properties. This is often associated with age related memory impairment. It has not been approved for therapeutic use in the United States. Eugeroics A class of drugs that promote wakefulness and alertness. Used in the treatment of sleeping disorders such as narcolepsy. Donepezil Used in the palliative treatment of Alzheimer’s: it improves cognition and behaviour but does not slow the progression of the disease. It acts as an acetylcholinesterase inhibitor increasing acetylcholine concentrations at synapses. Galantamine Used in treating mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease and other memory impairments, particularly those of vascular origin. It is a naturally occurring alkaloid found in several plants. It is commonly synthesized. Rivastigmine Used in treating mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease and dementia related to Parkinson’s disease. Due to severe side effects, the drug associated with oral consumption, it is often administered via a transdermal patch. Spinal angiography Procedure producing extremely detailed image of blood flow in spinal veins and arteries. A catheter is inserted and guided under x-rays into individual arteries which supply the spinal cord and adjacent bone and muscle. Pictures are taken separately under x-ray. Myelography A diagnostic imaging procedure to look for problems in the spinal canal, including the spinal cord, nerve roots, and other tissues. It uses a contrast dye and X-rays or computed tomography (CT) to provide detailed images when traditional x-rays have proven inconclusive. Atherosclerosis of spinal arteries Thickening, hardening, and loss of elasticity of the walls of spinal arteries resulting from an accumulation of white blood cells. This restricts blood flow causing discomfort and additional health risks. Antiphospholipid antibody syndrome (APS) An autoimmune disorder whereby the immune system makes antibodies which damage phospholipids causing blood clots. APS may lead to a stroke, heart attack, kidney damage, deep vein thrombosis, or pulmonary embolism. Cardiogenic emboli An embolus (blood clot) which begins at the heart and travels to another organ, most frequently the brain. This may cause a stroke or several other complications. Vasculitis A group of disorders primarily caused by white blood cell migration which cause inflammation and destroy blood vessels. It is a consequence of an autoimmune disorder thus treatment is usually directed at suppressing the immune system. Spinal cord injury without radiographic abnormality (SCIWORA) A spinal cord injury (SCI) with no evidence of injury present on x-rays. Common causes are spinal degradation, spinal disk hernias or hematomas near the spinal cord, or blood clots which do not show on x-ray. ABCD prioritization scheme A system for establishing a hierarchy of goals to be accomplished. A to-list can be classified from A (urgent / essential) to D (supererogative – nice but not necessary). Establishing priorities assists focus and aids in accomplishing objectives. DREZ lesion therapy Dorsal Root Entry Zone (DREZ) lesioning is a type of surgery used to treat nerve pain when conservative treatments have failed. The surgery destroys the area where the damaged nerve joins the central nervous system.