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A to Z of neurological topics

In this section we feature information on a number of tests, treatments and conditions, with links for more information either within this website or on external sites where possible. If you can't find what you're looking for, you may wish to speak with one of our Helpline team who may be able to answer your questions. Send an email to [email protected] or call free on 0808 808 1000.

  • M


    (also sometimes known as the medulla oblongata)


    The medulla, also called the medulla oblongata, forms the lower part of the brainstem and is involved in regulating involuntary functions within the body, such as heart rate and blood pressure.

    Memory problems


    See our Memory problems article

    Meniere's disease


    An inner ear disorder that typically causes episodes of vertigo, ringing in the ears (tinnitus), hearing loss, and a sense of ‘fullness’ in the ear.


    See our Dizziness and balance booklet



    A layered group of three thin membranes, called the dura mater, the arachnoid mater, and the pia mater, that surround and protect the brain and spinal cord. The meninges keep the cerebrospinal fluid contained around the brain and spine and this helps to offer further protection.



    A type of tumour that occurs in the brain and spinal cord, and develops from the layers of tissue which surround and protect the brain and spinal cord (known as the meninges.)


    Useful links:

    Menigioma UK

    The Acoustic Neuroma and Meningioma Network (AMNET)



    Inflammation of the protective membrane layers, called the meninges, which surround the brain and spinal cord. Meningitis is most often caused by a bacterial or viral infection, but sometimes can occur after surgery due to irritation of the membrane layers (this is known as chemical meningitis).


    See our Meningitis fact sheet


    Useful links:

    Meningitis Now

    Mental health


    Useful links:




    The Priory Group

    Meralgia paraesthetica


    A condition in which a nerve on the outside of the hip is compressed and causes tingling, numbness, and sometimes a burning pain in the upper leg on the same side.

    Mesial temporal sclerosis


    A medical term for scarring and a loss of nerve cells in a region of the brain called the temporal lobe. It has been associated with some types of epilepsy.



    A recurrent type of headache that tends to cause moderate to severe throbbing pain at the front or on one side of the head. Some people experience ‘warning signs,’ including symptoms such as visual disturbances, dizziness, or weakness, before the migraine attack and these early symptoms are called an ‘aura.’


    See our Migraine fact sheet

    See our Headache booklet



    A way of paying attention to the present moment, and to your own thoughts, feelings, and the world around you, often using techniques such as meditation, breathing, and yoga.

    Motor neurone disease


    A group of conditions that affect the nerves within the brain and spine that transmit signals sent from the brain, to the muscles of the body. Muscles can eventually weaken, stiffen and waste if they do not receive the signals sent by the brain, leading to weakness and paralysis.


    See our Motor neurone disease fact sheet

    Moyamoya disease


    A progressive cerebrovascular disorder caused by blocked arteries at the base of the brain in an area called the basal ganglia, and that results in networks of small blood vessels developing to bypass these blockages.


    See our Vascular malformations of the brain booklet

    MRA scan


    An MRA scan is a Magnetic Resonance Angiography scan. It uses strong magnetic fields and radio waves to give a view of specific blood vessels (arteries and veins). MRA may be included with an MRI scan.

    MRI scan


    An MRI scan is a Magnetic Resonance Imaging scan. It uses strong magnetic fields and radio waves to take detailed pictures of the brain or spine.


    See our Brain and spine scans fact sheet

    Multifocal motor neuropathy


    A progressive disorder that causes muscle weakness and muscle wasting, most often in the hands and forearms.

    Multiple sclerosis (MS)


    A demyelinating condition that affects the lining of cells in the brain, spinal cord, and nerves, and can cause problems with muscle control, vision, balance, sensation, and also cause pain and fatigue.


    See our Multiple sclerosis fact sheet

    Muscular dystrophy

    A group of progressive inherited genetic conditions that cause muscle weakness and muscle wasting.


    Useful links:

    Muscular Dystrophy Campaign

    Myasthenia gravis


    An autoimmune condition that affects the transmission of signals from nerves to muscles. It typically causes painless weakness of specific muscles, including those in the eyes, face, and the muscles used for swallowing.


    Useful links:

    Myasthenia Gravis Association


    (also known as multiple myeloma)


    A type of cancer that affects blood cells found inside the bone marrow. It can damage the bones it is present in, and affect the production of healthy blood cells in the body.


    See our Spinal tumours booklet