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Office of Research Compliance - Glossary of Lay Terms

A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z

A -

Abdominal pertaining to body cavity below diaphragm which contains stomach, intestines, liver, and other organs.

Absorb take up fluids, take in.

Acidosis condition when blood contains more acid than normal.

Acuity clearness, keenness, esp of vision - airways.

Acute new, recent, sudden.

Adenopathy swollen lymph nodes (glands).

Adjuvant helpful, assisting, aiding.

Adjuvant Treatment added treatment.

Antibiotic drug that kills bacteria and other germs.

Antimicrobial drug that kills bacteria and other germs.

Antiretroviral drug that inhibits certain viruses.

Adverse Effect negative side effect.

Allergic Reaction rash, trouble breathing.

Ambulate ability to walk.

Ambulation, Ambulatory ability to walk.

Anaphylaxis serious, potentially life threatening allergic reaction.

Anemia decreased red blood cells; low red blood cell count.

Anesthetic (general) a drug or agent used to decrease the feeling of pain or eliminate the feeling of pain by putting you to sleep.

Anesthetic (local) a drug or agent used to decrease the feeling of pain or by numbing an area of your body, without putting you to sleep.

Angina pain resulting from insufficient blood to the heart.

Angina Pectoris same as above.

Anorexia condition in which person will not eat; lack of appetite.

Antecubital area inside the elbow.

Antibody protein made in the body in response to foreign substance; attacks foreign substance and protects against infection.

Anticonvulsant drug used to prevent seizures.

Antilipidemic a drug that decreases the level of fat(s) in the blood.

Antitussive a drug used to relieve coughing.

Arrhythmia any change from the normal heartbeat (abnormal heartbeat).

Aspiration fluid entering lungs.

Assay lab test.

Assess to learn about.

Asthma a lung disease associated with tightening of the air passages.

Asymptomatic without symptoms.

Axilla armpit.

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B -

Benign not malignant, usually without serious consequences, but with some exceptions e g benign brain tumor may have, serious consequences.

BID twice a day.

Binding/Bound carried by, to make stick together, transported.

Bioavailability the extent to which a drug or other substance becomes available to the body.

Blood profile series of blood tests.

Bolus an amount given all at once.

Bone Mass the amount of [calcium in a give amount of] bone.

Bradyarrhythmias slow irregular heart beat.

Bradycardia slow heartbeat.

Bronchospasm breathing distress caused by narrowing of the airways.

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C -

Carcinogenic capable of causing cancer.

Carcinoma type of cancer.

Cardiac pertains to the heart.

Cardioversion restoration of normal heart beat by electric shock.

Catheter a tube for withdrawing or introducing fluids.

Catheter-(indwelling epidural) a tube placed near the spinal cord used for anesthesia during operation.

Central Nervous System (cns) brain and spinal cord.

Cerebral trauma damage to the brain.

Cessation stopping.

CHD coronary heart disease.

Chemotherapy treatment of disease, usually cancer, by chemical agents.

Chronic continuing for a long time.

Cisplatin a drug used to kill cancer cells.

Clinical pertaining to medical care.

Clinically Significant of major importance for treating or evaluating patients.

Clinical trial an experiment in patients.

Coma unconscious state.

Complete response total disappearance of disease.

Congenital occurring prior to birth, due to parent's genetic input.

Conjunctivitis irritation and redness of the thin membrane covering the eye.

Consolidation Phase treatment phase intended to make a remission permanent, follows induction.

Controlled Trial study in which the experimental treatment or procedure is compared to a standard (control) treatment or procedure.

Cooperative Group association of multiple institutions to perform clinical trials.

Coronary pertains to the blood vessels that supply the heart.

Ct (Cat) Scan computerized (axial) tomography; computerized series of x-rays culture test for infection or organisms that could cause infection.

Cumulative total sum (of individual events, experiences, treatments).

Cutaneous relating to the skin.

CVA cerebrovascular accident; stroke.

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D -

Dermatologic pertaining to the skin.

Diastolic lower number in blood pressure reading; pertaining to resting or relaxation phase of heart beat.

Distal toward the end, away from the center of the body.

Diuretic water pill or drug that causes increase in urination.

Doppler sound waves.

Double blind study in which neither investigators nor subjects know what drug the subject is receiving.

Dysfunction state of improper function.

Dysplasia abnormal cells.

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E -

Echocardiogram sound wave test of the heart.

Edema increased fluid.

EEG electroencephalogram; electric brainwave tracing.

Efficacy effectiveness.

Electrocardiogram electrical tracing of the heartbeat or heart rhythm (ECG or EKG).

Electrolyte Imbalance imbalance of salts or chemicals in the blood.

Elevation of Liver Function Tests evidence of liver or kidney damage.

Emesis vomiting.

Empiric based on experience.

Endoscopic Examination examination of an internal part of the body with a lighted tube; looking at a part of the body with a lighted tube.

Enteral by way of the intestines.

Epidural outside the spinal cord.

Eradicating getting rid of (such as a disease).

Evaluated assessed; examined for medical condition.

Expedited Review rapid review of a protocol by human subjects committee chair without full committee approval, permitted with certain low-risk research.

External outside the body.

Extravasate to leak outside of a blood vessel.

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F -

Fibrillation irregular beat of the heart or other muscle.

Fibrous having many fibers, such as scar tissue.

FDA U S food and drug administration, the branch of federal government which approves new drugs.

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G -

General Anesthesia pain prevention by induction of drugged sleep, as in surgery.

Gestational pertaining to pregnancy.

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H -

Hematocrit amount of red blood cells in the blood.

Hematoma a bruise, a black and blue mark.

Hemodynamic related to blood flow.

Hemolysis breakdown in red blood cells.

Heparin Lock needle placed in the arm with blood thinner to keep the blood from clotting inside the needle or tubing.

Hepatoma cancer or tumor of the liver.

Heritable Disease a disease which can be transmitted to one's offspring resulting in damage to future children.

Histopathologic pertaining to the disease status of body tissues or cells.

Holter Monitor a portable machine for recording heart beats.

Hypercalcemia high blood calcium level.

Hyperkalemia high blood potassium level.

Hypernatremia high blood sodium level.

Hypertension high blood pressure.

Hypocalcemia low blood calcium level.

Hypokalemia low blood potassium level.

Hyponatrenia low blood sodium level.

Hypotension low blood pressure.

Hypoxia low oxygen level in the blood.

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I -

Iatrogenic caused by a physician or by treatment.

IDE investigational device exemption, the license to test an unapproved new medical device.

Idiopathic of unknown cause.

Immunoglobulin a combination of antibodies from proteins in the blood.

Immunosuppressive drug which suppresses the body's immune response used in transplantation and diseases caused by disordered immunity.

Immunotherapy giving of drugs to help the body's immune (protective) system; usually used to destroy cancer cells.

Impaired function abnormal function.

Implanted placed in the body.

IND investigational new drug; the license to test an unapproved new drug.

Induction Phase beginning phase or stage of a treatment.

Induration hardening.

Indwelling remaining in a given location, such as a catheter.

Infarct death of tissue because of lack of blood supply.

Infectious Disease disease which is transmitted from one person to next.

Inflammation swelling which is generally painful, red, and warm.

Infusion introduction of a substance into the body, usually into the blood.

Ingestion eating; taking by mouth.

Interferon agent which acts against viruses; antiviral agent.

Intermittent occurring (regularly or irregularly) between two time points; alternately ceasing and beginning.

Internal within the body.

Interior inside of the body.

Intramuscular into the muscle; within the muscle.

Intraperitoneal into the abdominal cavity.

Intrathecal into the spinal fluid.

Intravenous (IV) into (within) a vein.

Intravesical in the bladder.

Intubate the placement of a tube into the airway.

Invasive Procedure puncture, opening or cutting of the skin.

Investigational New drug (IND) a new drug which has not yet been approved by the FDA.

Investigational Method a treatment method which has not been proven to be beneficial or has not been accepted as standard care.

Ischemia Procedure decreased oxygen in a tissue (usually because of decreased blood flow).

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J -


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L -

Laporatony a procedure in which an incision is made in the abdominal wall to enable a physician to look at the organs.

Lethargy sleepiness.

Leukopenia low white blood cell count.

Lipid fat.

Lipid profile (panel) fat and cholesterol levels in the blood.

Local Anesthesia creation of insensitivity to pain in a small local area of the body.

Localized restricted to one area; limited to one area (of the body).

Lumen cavity of an organ or tube (e g Inside of blood vessel).

Lymphangiography an x-ray of the lymph nodes or tissues after injection of dye in lymph vessels (e g in feet).

Lymphocyte a type of white blood cell important in the body's defense against infection.

Lymphoma a cancer of the lymph nodes (or tissues).

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M -

Malaise a vague feeling of bodily discomfort, feeling bad.

Malfunction condition in which something is not functioning properly.

Malignancy cancer or other progressively enlarging and spreading tumor, fatal if not successfully treated.

Medulloblastoma type of brain tumor.

Metronidazole a drug used to treat infections caused by parasites or other causes of anaerobic infections.

Metabolize process of breaking down substances in the cells.

Metastasis spread of cancer cells from one part of body to another.

MI myocardial infarction, heart attack.

Minimal slight.

Minimize reduce.

Monitor check on; keep track of; watch carefully.

Mobility ease of movement; ability to move around.

Morbidity undesired result or complication; serious disease.

Mortality death or death rate.

Motility the ability to move.

MRI magnetic resonance imaging, body pictures created using magnetic rather than x-ray energy.

Myalgia muscles aches.

Mucosa, Mucous Membrane moist lining of digestive, respiratory, reproductive, and urinary tracts.

Myocardial pertaining to the (muscle of the) heart.

M. Infarction heart attack; death of heart muscle.

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N -

Nasogastric Tube tube from the nose to the stomach.

NCI National Cancer Institute.

Necrosis death of tissue.

Neoplasia tumor, may be non-cancerous or cancerous.

Neuroblastoma a cancer of nerve tissue.

Neurological pertaining to the nervous system.

Neutropenia decrease in the main part of the white blood cells.

NIH National Institutes of Health.

Non-Invasive not breaking, cutting or entering the skin.

Nosocomial Pneumonia pneumonia acquired in the hospital.

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O -

Occlusion closing; obstruction.

Oncology the study of tumors or cancer.

Ophthalmic pertaining to the eye.

Optimal best, most favorable or desirable.

OPRR Office of Protection from Research Risks of the NIH, oversees IRBs and related matters.

Oral Administration given by mouth.

Orthopedic pertaining to the bones.

Osteopetrosis rare bone disorder characterized by dense bone.

Osteoporosis bone disorder characterized by loss of bone leading to increased risk of fracture.

Ovaries female sex glands; female organs which release eggs.

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P -

Parenteral administration by injection.

Patency condition of being open.

Pathogenesis the initial cause of a disease.

Percutaneous Perforation through the skin puncture, tear or hole.

Peripheral not central.

Per OS (PO) by mouth.

Pharmacokinetics study of the way the body absorbs, distributes and gets rid of a drug.

Phase I initial study of a new drug in humans to determine limits of tolerance.

Phase II second phase of study of a new drug intended to obtain initial information.

Phase III large scale trial to confirm and expand information on safety and usefulness of a new drug.

Phlebitis irritation or inflammation of a vein.

Placebo an inactive substance which may resemble an active agent but has no medical value.

Placebo Effect symptom or change of condition seen when a placebo is given; not attributable to an active drug agent.
Platelets small particles in the blood that help with blood clotting.

Potential possible.

Potentiate increase or multiply the effect of a drug or toxin by administration of another drug or toxin at the same time.

Potentiator an agent that helps another agent work better.

Prenatal before birth.

Prophylaxis a drug given to prevent disease or infection.

Prosthesis artificial limbs, such as arms and legs.

PRN as needed.

Prognosis outlook, probable outcomes.

Prone lying on the stomach.

Prospective Study study following patients forward in time.

Protocol plan of study.

Proximal closer to the center of the body, away from the end.

Pulmonary pertaining to the lungs.

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Q -

QD every day; daily.

QID four times a day.

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R -

Radiation Therapy x-ray or cobalt treatment.

Random by chance.

Randomization assignment of treatment group by chance, similar to tossing a coin (when there are two treatment choices).

RBC red blood cell.

Recombinant formation of new combinations of genes.

Reconstitution putting back together the original parts or elements.

Recur happen again.

Refractory not responding to treatment.

Regeneration regrowth of a structure or of lost tissue.

Regimen pattern of administering treatment.

Relapse the return or reappearance of a disease.

Remission disappearance of evidence of cancer or other disease.

Renal pertaining to the kidneys.

Replicable capable of being duplicated.

Resect remove or cut out (surgically).

Retrospective Study study looking back over past experience.

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S -

Sarcoma a type of cancer.

Sedative a drug to calm or make less anxious.

Seminoma a type of testes cancer.

Sequentially in a row.

Software computer program.

Somnolence sleepiness.

Spirometer an instrument to measure the amount of air taken into and exhaled from the lungs.

Standard of Care treatment plan which the majority of the medical community would accept as appropriate.

Staging a determination of the extent of the disease.

Stenosis narrowing of a duct, tube, or one of the heart valves.

Stomatitis mouth sores; inflammation of the mouth.

Stratify arrange in groups for analysis of results (e g , Stratify by age, sex, etc).

Stupor stunned state in which it is difficult to get a response or the attention of the subject.

Subclavian under the collarbone.

Subcutaneous under the skin.

Supine lying on the back.

Supportive care general medical care aimed at symptoms, not intended to improve or cure underlying disease.

Symptomatic having symptoms.

Syndrome a condition characterized by a set of symptoms.

Systolic top number in blood pressure; pertaining to contraction phase of heart beat.

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T -

Teratogenic capable of causing malformations in unborn fetuses.

Testes male sex glands; male organs which produce sperm.

Thrombosis blood clotting within blood vessels.

TID three times a day.

Titration gradual alteration of drug dose to determine desired effect or most beneficial strength of drug.

T-lymphocytes type of white blood cells involved in immune reactions.

Topical surface; on the skin.

Topical Anesthetic applied to certain area of the skin to reduce pain to specific (limited) area to which applied.

Toxicity side effects or undesirable effects of a drug.

Transdermal through the skin.

Transiently temporarily.

Trauma injury; wound.

Treadmill walking machine often used to determine heart function.

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U -

Uptake absorption and incorporation of a substance by living tissue; absorb and incorporate a substance, taking in of a substance by living tissue.

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V -

Valvuloplasty plastic repair of a valve, especially of the heart.

Varices enlarged veins, usually in legs or lining of tube between mouth and stomach.

Vasospasm narrowing of blood vessels due to spasm of vessel walls.

Vector a carrier, usually an insect, that carries and transmits disease-causing microorganisms.

Venipuncture entering vein with a needle, generally through the skin.

Vertical Transmission spread of disease.

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W -

WBC white blood cell.

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X -


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Y -


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Z -


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acute  new, recent, sudden

adverse effect         side effect

assay  lab test

benign not malignant, usually without serious consequences

bolus  an amount given all at once

carcinogenic  Capable of causing cancer

catheter        a tube for withdrawing or introducing fluids

chronic         continuing for a long time

clinical trial   an experiment with patients

controlled trial         a study in which the experimental procedures are compared to standard (accepted) treatments or procedures

culture test for infection, or organisms that could cause infection

double blind   study in which neither the investigators nor the subjects know which intervention the subject is receiving

dysplasia      abnormal cells

edema increased fluid

efficacy        effectiveness

extravasate   to leak outside of a blood vessel

hematoma     a bruise, a black and blue mark

heparin lock   needle placed in the arm with blood thinner to keep the blood from clotting

monitor         check on, keep track of, watch carefully

morbidity       undesired result or complication

mortality       death or death rate

necrosis        death of tissue

oncology       the study of tumors or cancer

percutaneous through the skin

placebo         a substance of no medical value, an inactive substance

PRN    as needed

protocol        plan of study

random         by chance, like the flip of a coin

relapse         the return of a disease

retrospective  looking back over past experience



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