Autism Glossary of Terms

The following are health and medical definitions of terms that appear in the Autism article.

Abnormal: Outside the expected norm, or uncharacteristic of a particular patient.

Absorption: Uptake. For example, intestinal absorption is the uptake of food (or other sub...

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Acquired: Not inherited, or present at birth (congenital), but developing after birth. For...

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ADHD: Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

American Psychiatric Association: A medical specialty society with over 35,000 US and inte...

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Amitriptyline: An antidepressant medication. In some patients with depression, abnormal l...

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Amphetamine: A drug that has a stimulant effect on the central nervous system that can be ...

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Analysis: In psychology, a term for conversation-based therapeutic processes used to gain ...

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Antidepressants: Anything, and especially a drug, used to prevent or treat depression.

Antipsychotic: A medication (or another measure) that is believed to be effective in the t...

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Anxiety: A feeling of apprehension and fear, characterized by physical symptoms such as pa...

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Asperger's syndrome: See Asperger syndrome.

Atypical: Unusual, or not fitting a single diagnostic
category.

Audiology: The study of hearing.

Autism: A spectrum of neuropsychiatric disorders characterized by deficits in social inter...

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Bacterial: Of or pertaining to bacteria, as in a bacterial lung infection.

Brain: The portion of the central nervous system that is located within the skull. It func...

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Cerebral: Of or pertaining to the cerebrum or the brain.

Child health: The care and treatment of children. Child health is the purview of pediatric...

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Cod liver oil: An oil extracted from the liver of the cod. Cod liver oil was once given re...

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Cognitive: Having to do with thought, judgment, or knowledge.

Concordance: 1. The presence of any given condition such as HIV in both members of...

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Congenital: A condition that is present at birth, whether or not it is inherited.

Cure: 1. To heal, to make well, to restore to good health. 2. A time withou...

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Cymbalta: Brand name for duloxetine hydrochloride, a drug approved by the FDA to treat maj...

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Deafness: Partial or complete hearing loss. Levels of hearing impairment vary from a mild ...

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Depression: An illness that involves the body, mood, and thoughts and that affects the way...

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Developmental disorder: One of several disorders that interrupt normal development in chi...

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Diagnosis: 1 The nature of a disease; the identification of an illness. 2 A ...

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Duloxetine: See: Cymbalta.

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Echolalia: The involuntary parrotlike repetition (echoing) of a word or phrase just spoken...

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Elavil: See: Amitriptyline.

Electroencephalogram: A technique for studying the electrical currents within the brain. E...

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Encephalopathy: Disease, damage, or malfunction of the brain. In general, encephalopathy i...

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Endep: See: Amitriptyline.

Essential: In medicine, of unknown cause, as in essential hypertension (high blood pressur...

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Family history: The family structure and relationships within the family, including inform...

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Flu: Flu is a colloquialism for influenza. The flu is an acute respiratory illness caused ...

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Food and Drug Administration: An agency within the US Public Health Service that provides ...

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Fragile X syndrome: The most common heritable form of mental retardation. Fragile X syndro...

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Gene: The basic biological unit of heredity. A segment of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) need...

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Genes: The basic biological units of heredity. Segments of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) nee...

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Genetic: Having to do with genes and genetic
information.

Genetics: The scientific study of heredity. Genetics pertains to humans and all other orga...

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Gluten: A protein found in wheat or related grains and many foods that we eat. Gluten can ...

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Hyperactivity: A higher than normal level of activity. An organ can be described as hyper...

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Impulsivity: Inclined to act on impulse rather than thought. People who are overly impulsi...

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Indicate: In medicine, to make a treatment or procedure advisable because of a particular ...

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Infant: A young baby, from birth to 12 months of age.

Influenza: Influenza is an acute respiratory illness caused by influenza A or B viruses Mo...

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Insomnia: The perception or complaint of inadequate or poor-quality sleep due to a number ...

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Intelligence quotient: An attempt to measure the intelligence of someone. Abbreviated IQ....

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Intervention: The act of intervening, interfering or interceding with the intent of modify...

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Lab test: A test that is done in the laboratory where the appropriate equipment, supplies,...

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Labile: Unstable. For example, labile blood pressure is blood pressure that abnormally inc...

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Liver: The largest solid organ in the body, situated in the upper part of the abdomen on t...

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Macrocephaly: An abnormally large head. The opposite of macrocephaly is microcephaly. Macr...

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Magnesium: A mineral involved in many processes in the body including nerve signaling, the...

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Meningitis: Inflammation of the meninges, the three membranes that envelop the brain and t...

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Mental retardation: The condition of having an IQ measured as below 70 to 75 and significa...

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Metabolic: Relating to metabolism, the whole range of biochemical processes that occur wit...

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Microcephaly: An abnormally small head due to failure of brain growth. Microcephaly is an ...

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Motor: Something that produces or refers to motion. For example, a motor neuron is a nerve...

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MRI: Magnetic resonance imaging.

Music therapy: The use of music in therapy; the therapeutic use of music. There are many d...

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Neurologist: A physician who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of disorders of th...

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Neurotoxic: Poisonous to nerves or nerve tissue.

NICHD: The National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, one of the US Nationa...

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Nutrition: 1: The process of taking in food and using it for growth, metabolism, and repai...

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OCD: 1. Obsessive-compulsive disorder; 2. Osteochondritis dissecans.

Onset: In medicine, the first appearance of the signs or symptoms of an illness as, for ex...

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Pain: An unpleasant sensation that can range from mild, localized discomfort to agony. Pa...

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Pediatric: Pertaining to children.

Phenylketonuria: The inherited inability to metabolize (process) the essential amino acid ...

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Posture: The carriage of the body as a whole, the attitude of the body, or the position of...

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Prognosis: The forecast of the probable outcome or course of a disease; the patient's chan...

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Proteins: Large molecules composed of one or more chains of amino acids in a specific orde...

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Psychiatric: Pertaining to or within the purview of psychiatry, the medical specialty conc...

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Psychiatrist: A physician who specializes in the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of m...

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Quality of life: The patient's ability to enjoy normal life activities. Quality of life is...

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Quotient: The result of mathematical division.

Referral: The recommendation of a medical or paramedical professional. If you get a refer...

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Reuptake: The reabsorption of a secreted substance by the cell that originally produced an...

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Rule out: Term used in medicine, meaning to eliminate or exclude something from considera...

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Sclerosis: Localized hardening of skin. Sclerosis is generally caused by underlying diseas...

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Sensitivity: 1. In psychology, the quality of being sensitive. As, for example, sen...

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Sensory: Relating to sensation, to the perception of a stimulus, to the voyage made by inc...

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Sensory integration: A form of occupational therapy in which special exercises are used ...

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Serotonin: A neurotransmitter that is involved in the transmission of nerve impulses. Sero...

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Stress: In a medical or biological context stress is a physical, mental, or emotional fact...

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Syndrome: A combination of symptoms and signs that together represent a disease process.

Therapy: The treatment of disease. Therapy is synonymous with treatment.

Thimerosal: A mercury-containing preservative used in some vaccines and other products sin...

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Tired: A feeling of a lessened capacity for work and reduced efficiency of accomplishment,...

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Toddler: A young child who is learning to walk with short unsteady steps. The word toddle ...

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Trauma: A physical or emotional injury.

Tuberous sclerosis: A genetic disorder that is characterized by abnormalities of the skin,...

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Vaccines: Microbial preparations of killed or modified microorganisms that can stimulate a...

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Vitamin C: An essential nutrient found mainly in fruits and vegetables. The body requires ...

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Vitamins: The word "vitamin" was coined in 1911 by the Warsaw-born biochemist Casimir Funk...

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Weight loss: Weight loss is a decrease in body weight resulting from either voluntary (die...

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X-ray: High-energy radiation with waves shorter than those of visible light. X-ray is used...

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Medical Dictionary