Glossary term:

Cerebrospinal fluid

This clear, water-like fluid forms, for the most part, within the brain, more specifically inside the ventricles of the brain. Blood flows through structures inside the ventricles, called the choroid plexuses, and clear fluid is produced as a result, passing into the ventricle. This process is akin to blood flowing through the kidneys and urine being produced as a result. An important difference is that, unlike urine, the cerebrospinal fluid is not passed out of the body periodically. Instead, the fluid is re-absorbed back into the blood stream, mostly via the arachnoid granulations, into the cerebral venous sinuses. In the course of a 24-hour period, most healthy adults will produce about 500mls (or a pint) of cerebrospinal fluid, although at any one time the average adult will have around 150mls of fluid around the brain and spinal cord. The fluid has both physical and chemical functions, descriptions of which are beyond the scope of this glossary. Read more