anoxia A cellular environment that is absent of oxygen.

brain herniation A movement of brain tissue from one compartment of high pressure to another compartment of decreased pressure.

coma A state of unresponsiveness in which the patient remains with eyes closed and is unarousable.

persistent vegetative state A condition following diffuse brain injury that results in the absence of cognitive function but the persistence of sleep-wake cycles.

programmed cell death An active process by an individual cell that requires energy and sometimes new protein synthesis which eventually leads to the directed destruction of the cell.

Organic brain disease is the result of neuronal and vascular injury that can occur as a consequence of several injury paradigms that include anoxia, vascular disease, and metabolic insults. Such insults can then subsequently precipitate both anatomic and cellular neuronal disease. However, it is the downstream cellular and molecular pathways that are increasingly being recognized as vital mechanisms that can both prevent and reverse neuronal injury. This article provides a patho-physiologic approach to the diagnosis and treatment

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