C-reactive protein (CRP)
a protein that is produced in the liver in response to inflammation. CRP is a biomarker of inflammation that is strongly associated with the risk of cardiovascular events, such as myocardial infarction and stroke.
the process of deposition of calcium salts. In the formation of bone this is a normal condition. In other organs, this could be an abnormal condition; for example, calcification of the aortic valve causes narrowing of the passage (aortic stenosis).
refers to abnormal cells, which have a tendency to grow uncontrollably and metastasize or spread to other areas of the body. Cancer can involve any tissue of the body and can have different forms in one tissue. Cancer is a group of more than 100 different diseases.
considered a macronutrient because carbohydrates provide a significant source of calories (energy) in the diet. Chemically, carbohydrates are neutral compounds composed of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen. Carbohydrates come in simple forms known as sugars and complex forms, such as starches and fiber.
the introduction of a carboxyl group (-COOH) or carbon dioxide into a compound.
a cancer-causing agent; adjective: carcinogenic.
the formation of cancer cells from normal cells.
the pattern of symptoms exhibited by individuals with carcinoid tumors. Carcinoid tumors secrete excessive amounts of the neurotransmitter, serotonin. Symptoms may include flushing, diarrhea, and sometimes wheezing.
volume of blood pumped by the heart in a specified time period.
literally, disease of the heart muscle that often leads to abnormal function.
referring to the heart and blood vessels.
literally, diseases affecting the heart and blood vessels. The term has come to encompass a number of conditions that result from atherosclerosis, including myocardial infarction (heart attack), congestive heart failure, and stroke.
a compound that is required to transport long-chain fatty acids across the inner membrane of the mitochondria, in the form of acyl-carnitine, where they can be metabolized for energy.
the left and right common carotid arteries are the principal blood vessels that supply oxygenated blood to the head and neck. Each has two main branches, the external and internal carotid artery.
a soft, elastic tissue that composes most of the skeleton of vertebrate embryos and except for a small number of structures is replaced by bone during ossification in the higher vertebrates. Cartilage cushions joints, connects muscles with bones, and makes up other parts of the body, such as the larynx (voice box) and the outside portion of the ears.
a study in which exposures of people who have been diagnosed with a disease (cases) are compared to those of people without the disease (controls). The results of case-control studies are more likely to be distorted by bias in the selection of cases and controls (selection bias) and dietary recall (recall bias) than prospective cohort studies.
a report that decribes an individual case of a disease or medical condition. This type of research cannot indicate causality but may indicate areas for further research.
the breakdown of complex molecules into smaller ones, accompanied by the release of energy.
to increase the speed of a chemical reaction without being changed in the overall reaction process. See enzyme.
clouding of the lens of the eye. As cataracts progress, they can impair vision.
a substance with a specific chemical structure (a benzene ring with two adjacent hydroxyl groups and a side chain of ethylamine) that functions as a hormone or neurotransmitter. Examples include epinephrine, norepinephrine, and dopamine.
a positively charged ion.
also known as celiac sprue, celiac disease is an inherited disease in which the intestinal lining is inflamed in response to the ingestion of a protein known as gluten. Treatment of celiac disease involves the avoidance of gluten, which is present in many grains, including wheat, rye, oats, and barley. Inflammation and atrophy of the lining of the small intestine leads to impaired nutrient absorption.
Cell adhesion molecule
a molecule on the outside surface of cells that binds to other cells or to the extracellular matrix (material surrounding cells). Cell adhesion molecules influence many important functions, including the entry of immune cells into the arterial wall.
the orderly sequence of stages that a cell passes through between one cell division (mitosis) and the next. The cell cycle can be divided into four stages: the M (mitosis) phase, in which nuclear and cytoplasmic division occurs; the G1 phase or interphase; the S (synthesis) phase, in which DNA replication occurs; and the G2 phase, a quiescent period prior to the next M phase.
also called a plasma membrane; the barrier that separates the contents of a cell from its outside environment and controls what moves in and out of the cell. A mammalian cell membrane consists of a phospholipid bilayer with embedded proteins and cholesterol.
communication among individual cells so as to coordinate their behavior to benefit the organism as a whole. Cell-signaling systems elucidated in animal cells include cell-surface and intracellular receptor proteins, GTP-binding proteins, as well as protein kinases and protein phosphatases (enzymes that phosphorylate and dephosphorylate proteins).
Central nervous system (CNS)
the brain, spinal cord, and spinal nerves.
a specialized type of lipid comprised of a sphingosine backbone with fatty acid side chains. Ceramides function as signaling molecules and are critical structural components in cell membranes.
relating to the brain.
the fluid that bathes the brain and spinal cord.
disease involving the blood vessels supplying the brain, including cerebrovascular accident (CVA), also known as a stroke.
the upper part of the brain that is involved in conscious mental functions.
a ferroxidase enzyme that has the capacity to oxidize ferrous iron (Fe2+) to ferric iron (Fe3+), which can be loaded onto the iron-transport protein, transferrin.
Cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN)
a term used to describe abnormal growth of cells on the surface of the uterine cervix. CIN1 is also known as low-grade squamous intraepithelial lesion (LSIL). CIN2 and CIN3 are also known as high-grade squamous intraepithelial lesions (HSIL). Although these abnormal cells are not cancerous, they may progress to cervical cancer.
the combination of a metal with an organic molecule to form a ring-like structure known as a chelate. Chelation of a metal may inhibit or enhance its bioavailability.
movement of a cell or organism toward or away from a chemical stimulus.
literally, treatment with drugs. Commonly used to describe the systemic use of drugs to kill cancer cells, as a form of cancer treatment.
Cholestatic liver disease
liver disease resulting in the cessation of bile excretion. Cholestasis may occur in the liver, gallbladder, or bile duct (duct connecting the gall bladder to the small intestine).
a compound that is an integral structural component of cell membranes and a precursor in the synthesis of steroid hormones. Dietary cholesterol is obtained from animal sources, but cholesterol is also synthesized by the liver. Cholesterol is carried in the blood by lipoproteins. In atherosclerosis, cholesterol accumulates in plaques on the walls of some arteries.
resembling acetylcholine in action, a cholinergic drug for example. Cholinergic nerve fibers liberate or are activated by the neurotransmitter, acetylcholine.
Chorionic villus sampling (CVS)
a procedure for obtaining a small sample of tissue from the placenta (chorionic villi) for the purpose of prenatal diagnosis of genetic disorders. CVS can be performed between 9 to 12 weeks of pregnancy.
complex of DNA, RNA, and proteins that comprise chromosomes.
a structure in the nucleus of a cell that contains genes. Chromosomes are composed of DNA and associated proteins. Normal human cells contain 46 chromosomes (22 pairs of autosomes and 2 sex chromosomes).
an illness lasting a long time. By definition of the US Center for Health Statistics, a chronic disease is a disease lasting three months or more.
Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
a term that includes emphysema and chronic bronchitis, two chronic lung diseases that are characterized by airway obstruction.
triglyceride-rich lipoproteins that deliver dietary triglycerides from the intestine to the tissues immediately after a meal. Chylomicrons release their triglycerides to tissue through the activity of lipoprotein lipase enzymes in tissue capillary beds. When they are depleted of most of their triglycerides, chylomicron remnants are taken up by the liver, where the lipids and cholesterol that remain are excreted in bile or incorporated into other lipoproteins.
a condition characterized by irreversible scarring of the liver, leading to abnormal liver function. Cirrhosis has a number of different causes, including chronic alcohol use and viral hepatitis B and C.
Citric acid cycle
the metabolic pathway in the mitochondria that oxidizes acetyl compounds form food to carbon dioxide and water. Also referred to as the Krebs cycle and the tricarboxylic acid (TCA) cycle.
an intervention trial generally used to evaluate the efficacy and/or safety of a treatment or intervention in human participants.
an exact copy of a DNA segment; produced by recombinant DNA technology.
the process involved in blood clot formation.
a molecule that binds to an enzyme and is essential for its activity but is not permanently altered by the reaction. Many coenzymes are derived from vitamins.
a compound that is essential for the activity of an enzyme.
mental process of thought; includes brain functions like attention, memory, planning, developing strategies, and problem solving.
referring to the processes of cognition.
a group of people who are followed over time as part of an epidemiological study.
a study that follows a large group of people over a long period of time, often 10 years or more. In cohort studies, dietary information is gathered before disease occurs, rather than relying on recall after disease develops.
a fibrous protein that is the basis for the structure of skin, tendon, bone, cartilage and all other connective tissue.
Collagenous matrix (of bone)
the organic (nonmineral) structural element of bone. Collagen is a fibrous protein that provides the organic matrix upon which bone mineralize crystallizes.
the portion of the large intestine that extends from the end of the small intestine to the rectum. The colon removes water from digested food after it has passed through the small intestine and stores the remaining stool until it can be evacuated.
a polyp or growth in the lining of the colon or rectum. Although they are not cancerous, colorectal adenomas may develop into colorectal cancer over time.
cancer of the colon (large intestine) or rectum.
the surgical construction of an artificial anus by connecting the colon to an opening in the abdominal wall.
a pilosebaceous unit blocked with sebum and inflammatory cells.
system of serum proteins that function to help destroy invading microorganisms.
accompanying. “Concomitant intake” refers to the intake of two compounds at the same time.
Conditionally essential nutrient
although not strictly considered a nutrient due to endogenous synthesis, certain conditions (e.g., stress, aging) may result in the demand exceeding the body’s capacity for synthesis, rendering a conditionally essential nutrient.
Confidence interval (CI)
a statistical measure of certainty. A CI defines the range within which we can be certain that a result is not due to chance alone.
an extraneous factor in an observational study that distorts or biases an association between an exposure and the measured outcome. Confounders are associated with the exposure and outcome of interest, but they are not in the causal pathway.
a birth defect, a condition present at birth.
deficiency of thyroid gland activity in newborn infants.
Congestive heart failure (CHF)
a condition, in which the heart loses the ability to pump blood efficiently enough to meet the demands of the body. Symptoms may include edema (swelling), shortness of breath, weakness and exercise intolerance.
the formation of a water-soluble derivative of a chemical by its combination with another compound, such as glutathione, glucuronate, or sulfate.
the transparent covering of the front of the eye that transmits and focuses light into the eye.
a metabolically inactive, flattened cell of the stratum corneum. Corneocytes are formed from keratinocytes in a process termed cornification. Corneocytes are metabolically inactive and will eventually be cast off from the body when new corneocytes are generated underneath them.
the process by which a keratinocyte becomes a corneocyte in the outer, visible layer of the epidermis. This is marked by a loss of intracellular organelles, the production of specialized proteins and lipids, and the generation of a thick protein envelope just inside the cell membrane. Corneocytes are metabolically inactive and will eventually be cast off from the body when new corneocytes are generated underneath them.
a procedure used to open an occluded coronary artery. A flexible hollow catheter is inserted into a large blood vessel in the groin and advanced to the heart. At the site of the occlusion, the balloon tip of the catheter is inflated and the occluded coronary artery is dilated. Coronary angioplasty is also known as percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty or PTCA.
one of the vessels that supply oxygenated blood to the heart muscle itself. They are called coronary arteries because they encircle the heart in the form of a crown.
Coronary artery bypass graft (CABG)
a surgical procedure used to create new routes around obstructions in coronary arteries and restore adequate blood flow to the heart muscle.
Coronary heart disease (CHD)
sometimes called coronary artery disease or coronary disease, coronary heart disease is the result of atherosclerosis of the coronary arteries. Atherosclerosis may result in narrowing or blockage of the coronary arteries and is the underlying cause of myocardial infarction (heart attack).
also known as compact bone, the type of bone that forms the outer surface of all bones. The small bones of the wrists, hands, and feet are entirely cortical bone.
any of the steroid hormones made by the cortex (outer layer) of the adrenal gland. Cortisol is a corticosteroid. A number of medications are analogs of natural corticosteroid hormones.
a chemical bond in which electrons are shared between atoms.
a high-energy compound found in muscle cells, which is used to convert ADP into ATP by donating phosphate molecules to the ADP. ATP is the molecule that is converted into ADP with a release of energy that the body then uses.
a condition that can result from a severe form of congenital hypothyroidism. Cretinism occurs in two forms, although there is considerable overlap. The neurologic form is characterized by mental and physical retardation and deafness. It is the result of maternal iodine deficiency that affects the fetus before its own thyroid is functional. The myxedematous or hypothyroid form is characterized by short stature and mental retardation. In addition to iodine deficiency, the hypothyroid form has been associated with selenium deficiency and the presence of goitrogens in the diet that interfere with thyroid hormone production.
an inflammatory bowel disease that usually affects the lower part of the small intestine or upper part of the colon but may affect any part of the gastrointestinal tract.
a clinical trial where at least two interventions or treatments are applied to the same individuals after an appropriate wash-out period. One of the treatments is often a placebo. In a randomized cross-over design, interventions are applied in a randomized order to ensure that the order of treatments did not contribute to the outcome.
a study of a group of people at one point in time to determine whether an exposure is associated with the occurrence of a disease. Because the disease outcome and the exposure (e.g., nutrient intake) are measured at the same time, a cross-sectional study provides a “snapshot” view of their relationship. Cross-sectional studies cannot provide information about causality.
related to or affecting the skin.
Cystic fibrosis (CF)
a hereditary disease caused by mutations in the cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTCR) gene. Cystic fibrosis is characterized by the production of abnormal secretions, leading to the accumulation of mucus in the lungs, pancreas, and intestine. This build-up of mucus causes difficulty breathing and recurrent lung infections, as well as problems with nutrient absorption due to problems in the pancreas and intestines.
a family of phase I biotransformation enzymes that play an important role in the metabolism and elimination of drugs, toxins, carcinogens, and endogenous compounds, such as steroid hormones.
a protein made by cells that affects the behavior of other cells. Cytokines act on specific cytokine receptors in the cells they affect.
the contents of a cell, excluding the nucleus.
the water-soluble contents of a cell’s cytoplasm, excluding the organelles.