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Glossary

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Glossary Term Definition
Aneurysm ballooning of a blood vessel to a size that is twice its normal diameter. Aneurysms develop when weaknesses in the aortic wall succumb to the constant pressure of rushing blood and begin to stretch outward.
Angiogenesis the process involving the formation of new blood vessels from pre-existing vessels. Angiogenesis is a normal process in growth and in wound healing, but it is also involved in the transition of tumors from a dormant state to a malignant state.
Arterial occlusive diseases diseases that involve blockages of the large arteries. Common causes include atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries), inflammation, and stenosis.
Balloon angioplasty A procedure in which a catheter is inserted into a narrowed artery. A tiny balloon at the tip of the catheter is inflated to clear the blockage and widen the artery.
Beta amyloid a protein that is the main component of amyloid plaques in various neurological disorders, most prominently Alzheimer's disease.
Biomarker or Biological marker A physical trait, such as a body chemical or DNA, used to measure the course of a disease.
Cardiac output the volume of blood that the heart pumps each minute.
Carotid endarterectomy a surgical procedure to remove blockages from the inside of the carotid artery.
Carotid stenosis narrowing of the carotid artery caused by fatty deposits. Carotid stenosis can lead to transient ischemic attacks (TIAs, or "mini-strokes") or strokes.
Chromosomes structures in the cells that contain both protein and DNA. Humans have 46 chromosomes, or 23 pairs, containing the blueprint for each cell. Disruptions in the normal chromosomal number of a cell are the cause of disorders such as Down syndrome.
Clinical Relating to the treatment of a patient or to the symptoms or course of a disease.
Congenital refers to disease that is present at birth (as opposed to acquired).
DNA (Deoxyribonucleic acid) a long, double- helix (twisted ladder) shaped molecule containing the instructions for every living cell's activities.
Endothelial cells the inside lining of the blood vessels throughout the circulatory system.
Endovascular referring to a surgical treatment in which a catheter containing miniature instruments is inserted under the skin into a blood vessel.
Enteral referring to the intestine. Enteral nutrition may be delivered to the intestine through a tube into the stomach.
Genes units of heredity as encoded in long strands of DNA. Particular genes can have multiple forms, called alleles, which have different sequences of DNA.
Gene expression The process bywhich a gene's coded information is converted over time into action. In some cases, studying gene expression, rather than studying the genes directly, is used during genetic research.
At NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/ Columbia, Mario Deng,MD, FACC, FESC, studied differences in gene expression during the process of organ rejection after heart transplantation. This led to the development of a new blood test to detect organ rejection far less invasively than the traditional method, heart biopsy, after transplantation.
Gene therapy An experimental procedure aimed at replacing, manipulating, or supplementing nonfunctional normal functioning genes with healthy genes.
Genome an organism's complete set of DNA.
Heart failure inability of the heart to pump enough blood through the body. There are numerous causes and types of heart failure.
Intestinal rehabilitation multidisciplinary therapy including nutrition, medicines, surgery, and possibly transplantation, to treat short bowel syndrome.
Intravenous through a vein. Intravenous nutrition is delivered through a central vein of the body.
Metastatic cancer cancer that has spread from an original site to other sites in the body.
MRI Magnetic resonance imaging, also called magnetic resonance tomography (MRT), is a method of imaging the body using strong magnetic fields and non-ionizing radiation. MRI provides far better contrast resolution (the ability to distinguish the differences between similar tissues) than CT scan.
Neurotransmitter a chemical substance that transmits nerve impulses, or messages, from one cell to another.
PET positron emission tomography—a method of imaging that detects metabolic or chemical activity in the body. In contrast, CT scans (computed tomography, or computed axial tomography—CAT) show anatomical structures. For example, a PET scan would show a tumor's increased sugar uptake, while a CT scan would reveal its size and density.
Pressure sore Also called decubitus ulcer or bedsore, a chronic wound occurring in people confined to bed for long periods of time.
Refractory resistant or unresponsive to treatment.
Resistance ability of a disease to withstand attempted treatment by a therapy.
Restenosis literally means the reoccurrence of stenosis (which is abnormal narrowing of an artery or other blood vessel).
RNA A chemical that plays an important role in many activities in the cell. There are several classes of RNA molecules, including messenger RNA, transfer RNA, ribosomal RNA, and microRNAs, each serving a different purpose. Messenger RNA plays an important role in gene expression.
Serotonin a neurotransmitter that plays an important part in conditions including depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety, migraine headaches, and others.
Short bowel syndrome a serious illness in which the intestine is shortened, either by disease or necessary surgery. Patients with short bowel syndrome are unable to digest food properly.
Thymosin A hormone secreted by the thymus gland that stimulates parts of the immune system.
Vascular related to the blood vessels.

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Columbia University Medical Center NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital Patient Clinician Researcher