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

Also known as: Itch

An irritating skin condition that causes a desire to scratch


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


inflammation of the prostate


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


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

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.

Preventive Medicine

That branch of medicine concerned primarily with the prevention of disease


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


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


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


At or toward the back


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

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.


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

See also: Polymorphic


Gene having many different possible forms (alleles)

See also: Polymorphism