Glossary try the best to avoid the use of medical terms that could make it more difficult to understand the information on this website. Still, there are a number of terms that can't be avoided and that are useful to know because they are so often used by the doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals with whom you might speak. The list below includes the terms used on for which we have provided definitions.

Search for glossary terms (regular expression allowed)
Term Definition

A large molecule consisting of multiple identical or similar chemical units that are linked together


Gene having many different possible forms (alleles)

See also: Polymorphism


Inherited person-to-person variation in the genetic code sequence within a specified DNA segment or gene

See also: Polymorphic

Polymyalgia Rheumatica

A disease that causes pain and weakness in the neck, shoulder muscles and pelvis, and morning stiffness. It commonly affects people over 50 years of age, especially women.


A growth, such as on the lining of the mouth or intestines, that is usually benign; examples include uterine polyps and colorectal polyps


At or toward the back


1. one that comes before or gives rise to another
2. in chemistry, one substance that comes before or gives rise to another often more stable substance


Based on reasonable evidence or assumption; based on early, preliminary or partial results


The number of people with a particular disease at any given time in a population

Preventive Medicine

That branch of medicine concerned primarily with the prevention of disease

Prion Protein

An infectious agent (not bacteria or virus) that is an irregular form of a normal protein; prion proteins cause a variety of infections, including Mad Cow Disease and Creutzfeld-Jacob disease. Prion proteins are thought to induce normal brain proteins to assume an irregular shape, rendering them dysfunctional.


1) prediction about the course or outcome of a disease or illness
2) the likelihood of recovery from a disease or illness


(adj. Prophylactic)
1. Measure taken to prevent or protect against disease
2. Antibiotic prescribed to prevent infection


inflammation of the prostate


Proteins are large molecules that form the structural part of most organs and make up enzymes and hormones that regulate body functions.