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  • absolute refractory period: brief period immediately after the action potential when the membrane cannot respond to any stimulus, regardless of how strong (Chapter 2).

  • accessory optic tract: projections from the optic tract to the olivary nucleus in the pons (Chapter 8).

  • accommodation: ability to focus on a near object and then a far object (Chapter 9).

  • action potential: temporary reversal of the resting membrane potential in response to a chemical, electrical, or sensory stimulus that is then sufficient enough to be propagated as an electrochemical signal along the length of the axon (Chapter 2).

  • activities of daily living (ADL): includes the self-care tasks of sleeping/resting, eating, grooming, bed mobility, dressing, toileting, functional mobility, bathing, and sexual activity required for independence in everyday living (basic activities of daily living or BADLs); often also includes community mobility, home management, care of others and pets, and communication devices (instrumental activities of daily living or IADLs). ADL requires basic skills whereas instrumental ADL requires more advanced problem-solving and social skills (Chapter 1).

  • activity limitation: denotes that activity performance of the individual is limited due to a functional limitation, dependent not only on the person’s body structure/body function, but also secondary to the way a task is designed or how the environment may support or constrain performance (Chapter 1).

  • adaptability: one of the three major requirements for successful mobility, defined as the ability to adapt the mobility to meet the individual’s goals and the demands of the environment (Chapter 10).

  • adaptation: occurs secondary to stimuli placed upon the system, such as the modeling that occurs within bone secondary to muscle pull (Chapter 4).

  • afferent: a neuron whose function is to respond to or convey a sensory signal (Chapter 2).

  • aging: refers to the changes in physical, sensory, and psychosocial performance that occur to some degree in all elderly persons with the passage of time. Although aging can occur at different rates, the structural and functional consequences are surprisingly consistent across the different physiological systems, with profound behavioral consequences (Chapter 3).

  • agnosia: inability to recognize common objects with the senses (Chapter 2).

  • agraphia: difficulty with writing (Chapter 2).

  • akinesia: slowness in initiating movements, often accompanying basal gangliar damage (Chapter 2). Symptom referring to difficulty initiating movement, creating difficulty for the individual to initiate the weight shift to begin a gait cycle or to shift the trunk forward in order to initiate a sit-to-stand transfer (Chapters 2, 3, and 10).

  • alexia: difficulty with reading (Chapter 2).

  • alpha motor neuron: a specific type of anterior horn cell, named for its large size, that innervates skeletal muscle (Chapter 2).

  • ambient vision: describes the “field of view” function of vision; the “Where is it?” or big picture function, as contrasted with focal vision (Chapter 8).

  • andragogy: the field of study concerned ...

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