Mad Cow Disease and Variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease Glossary of Terms

The following are health and medical definitions of terms that appear in the Mad Cow Disease and Variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease article.

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

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

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

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Ataxia: Poor coordination and unsteadiness due to the brain's failure to regulate the body...

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

Autopsy: A postmortem examination. Also known as necropsy.

Bacteria: Single-celled microorganisms that can exist either as independent (free-living) ...

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

Biopsy: The removal of a sample of tissue for examination under a microscope to check for ...

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Blood count: The calculated number of white or red blood cells (WBCs or RBCs) in a cubic m...

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Blood transfusion: The transfer of blood or blood components from one person (the donor) i...

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Bone marrow: The soft blood-forming tissue that fills the cavities of bones and contains f...

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Bovine: Having to do with cows and cattle, as in bovine spongiform encephalopathy (mad cow...

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

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Brain biopsy: Biopsy of the brain. Removal of a small piece of tissue from the brain for d...

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CDC: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the US agency charged with tracking a...

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Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: The US agency charged with tracking and invest...

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Chronic: In medicine, lasting a long time. A chronic condition is one that lasts 3 months ...

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Chronic wasting disease: A transmissible spongiform encephalopathy (TSE) of North American...

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Complete blood count: A set values of the cellular (formed elements) of blood. These meas...

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Dementia: Significant loss of intellectual abilities, such as memory capacity, that is sev...

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

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

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Dorsal: Relating to the back or posterior of a structure. As opposed to the ventral, or fr...

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Dysfunction: Difficult function or abnormal function.

EEG: Electroencephalogram.

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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Epidemic: The occurrence of more cases of a disease than would be expected in a community...

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Familial: A condition that tends to occur more often in family members than is expected by...

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FDA: Food and Drug Administration.

Folate: Folic acid, one of the B vitamins that is a key factor in the synthesis (the makin...

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

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Gait: A manner of walking. Observation of gait can provide early diagnostic clues for a nu...

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

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HIV: Acronym for the Human Immunodeficiency Virus, the cause of AIDS (acquired immunodefi...

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Incubation period: In medicine, the time from the moment of exposure to an infectious agen...

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Incurable: Not amenable to a cure. Incapable of being cured, healed and made well again. ...

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Infection: The invasion and multiplication of microorganisms such as bacteria, viruses, an...

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

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Kuru: A slowly progressive fatal disease of the brain that is due to an infectious agent t...

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Laboratory: A place for doing tests and research procedures, and for preparing chemicals a...

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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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Lymph: The almost colorless fluid that travels through the lymphatic system, carrying cell...

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Marrow: The bone marrow.

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Memory: 1. The ability to recover information about past events or knowledge. ...

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Microscope: An optical instrument that augments the power of the eye to see small objects....

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Microscopic: An object so small it cannot be seen without the aid of microscope (for examp...

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MRI: Magnetic resonance imaging.

Muscle: Muscle is the tissue of the body which primarily functions as a source of power. T...

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Mutation: A permanent change, a structural alteration, in the DNA or RNA. In humans and m...

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Myoclonus: A condition of abnormal contraction of muscles or portions of muscles.

Neurology: The medical specialty concerned with the diagnosis and treatment of disorders o...

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New variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease: Abbreviated nvCJD. A human disease thought due to t...

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NvCJD: New variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.

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

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PET scan: The popular name (and abbreviation) of Positron Emission To...

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Prevalence: The proportion of individuals in a population having a disease or characterist...

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Prion: A small proteinaceous infectious disease-causing agent that is believed to be the s...

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Prion disease: A disease due to a prion, a proteinaceous infectious particle that lacks nu...

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

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Progressive: Increasing in scope or severity, advancing, or going forward. For example, a ...

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Protein: One of the three nutrients used as energy sources (calories) by the body. Protein...

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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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Radiation: 1. Rays of energy. Gamma rays and X-rays are two of the types of energy ...

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Random: Determined solely by chance.

Retina: The retina is the nerve layer that lines the back of the eye, senses light, and cr...

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

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Scan: As a noun, the data or image obtained from the examination of organs or regions of...

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

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Spinal cord: The major column of nerve tissue that is connected to the brain and lies with...

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Spleen: An organ that is located in the upper-left part of the abdomen, not far from the s...

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Spongiform: Resembling a sponge in being soft and full of cavities, as in as in transmissi...

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Sporadic: Occurring upon occasion or in a scattered, isolated, or seemingly random way.

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Surgery: The branch of medicine that employs operations in the treatment of disease or inj...

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Syphilis: A sexually transmitted disease caused by Treponema pallidum, a microscopic orga...

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Thyroid: 1. The thyroid gland. Also, pertaining to the thyroid gland. 2. A p...

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Transfusion: The transfer of blood or blood products from one person (the donor) into the ...

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Transplant: The grafting of a tissue from one place to another, just as in botany a bu...

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USDA: US Department of Agriculture.

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

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Variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease: Abbreviated vCJD. A human disease thought due to the sa...

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vCJD: Stands for variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, a human disease thought due to the sam...

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Veterinary medicine: The medical science concerned with the diagnosis, treatment and preve...

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Viruses: Small living particles that can infect cells and change how the cells function. I...

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Wasting: 1. Gradual loss (for example, of weight), deterioration, emaciation. As in...

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

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World Health Organization: The subagency of the United Nations (UN) that is concerned with...

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