Abnormal - Not normal
ACTH -Adrenocorticotropic hormone
Acanthosis nigricans - Asymptomatic, brown to black skin, with a velvety texture. Pedunculated skin tags often are present.
Acromegaly -A disease that causes excessive growth caused by the overproduction of growth hormone. It is characterized by gradual, enlargement of the bones in the face, jaw and extremities.
Acuity- Refers to clarity or distinctness of hearing or sight.
ADH - Antidiuretic hormone, vasopressin
Addison's Disease (Adrenal insufficiency): Caused by low levels of cortisone-like hormones produced by the adrenal glands.
Adenoma – An adenoma is a benign tumor that has a glandular origin
Adrenal glands - Small glands located above the kidneys that produce cortisol, aldosterone, epinephrine, and small amounts of sex hormones. The adrenal glands are part of the endocrine system.
Alopecia - Loss of hair; baldness in areas where hair usually grows
Amenorrhea - Absence of menstrual cycles
Angiogram - A diagnostic procedure to visualize blood vessels
Anorexia - Loss of appetite
Articulation - Speech
Benign - Not malignant, not cancerous
Bilateral Adrenalectomy (BLA) – Removal of both adrenal glands.
Biopsy - A small amount of tissue taken from the patient’s body to be examination by a Pathologist in order to make a diagnosis.
Blood Pressure (BP) Blood pressure is the force of the blood pushing against the walls of the arteries. Your blood pressure is at its highest when the heart beats, pumping the blood. This is called systolic pressure. When the heart is at rest, between beats, your blood pressure falls. This is the diastolic pressure.
BMI - Body mass index. A measure of obesity calculated from weight / height ratio.
Bone Density Measurement - Used to assess the strength and rate in which bone is aging
Buffalo hump – An accumulation of fat on the back of the neck and or upper back area. A symptom known to Cushing’s Syndrome.
Calcification - The strengthening and hardening of a bone in areas where calcium has been deposited.
Cancer - Malignant tissue, tends to spread destroying healthy tissue
Carcinoma - Cancer that begins in the skin or in tissues that line or cover internal organs.
Catheter - A flexible, hollow tube. Used for removal or insertion of fluids into the body.
Cell - The basic living unit of body tissue. It contains a nucleus surrounded by cytoplasm and is enclosed by a membrane.
Central Nervous System (CNS) - Pertaining to the brain, cranial nerves and spinal cord. It does not include muscles or peripheral nerves.
Cerebral - Referring to the cerebrum.
Cerebrospinal Fluid - The clear fluid made in the ventricular cavities of the brain that bathes the brain and spinal cord.
Cerebrum - The largest area of the brain, the cerebrum occupies the uppermost part of the skull. It consists of two halves called hemispheres. Each half of the cerebrum is further divided into four lobes: frontal, temporal, parietal and occipital.
Chemotherapy - Chemical agents usually used to treat cancer.
Chronic- Term used to describe long lasting diseases, illness or symptom
Colonoscopy - Visualization of the inside of the colon.
Congenital - Existing before or at birth
Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia (CAH) - Inherited condition of the adrenal glands, characterized by a deficiency in the hormones cortisol and aldosterone and an overproduction of androgen.
Cortisol – A hormone produced by the adrenal glands. (glucocorticoid)
Cranial Cavity - The skull.
Craniotomy - Surgical procedure on the skull where a portion of bone is removed to gain access to the brain.
CRH - Corticotropin releasing hormone.
CSF - Cerebrospinal fluid.
CT or CAT scan - An x-ray device linked to a computer that produces an image of a predetermined cross-section of the brain. A special dye material may be injected into the patient’s vein prior to the scan to help make any abnormal tissue more evident.
Cushing’s Disease / Syndrome - Cushing's Syndrome is caused by an excess of cortisol production or by excessive use of cortisol or other similar steroid (glucocorticoid) hormones. Cushing's disease is the name given to a type of Cushing's Syndrome caused by too much ACTH production in the pituitary.
Decompressive - Refers to a surgical procedure during which bone, tissue, or tumor is removed to lessen intracranial pressure.
Density - The amount of darkness or light in an area of a scan reflects the compactness and density of tissue. Differences in tissue density are the basis for CT and MR scans.
DHEA - male hormone (androgen) which is converted into estrogen and testosterone. It is mainly produced by the adrenal gland.
Diabetes Insipidus (DI) – Imbalance of water in the body causing excess urine production and great thirst, due to pituitary-hypothalamic damage.
Diplopia - Double vision.
Duramater - The outermost, toughest, and most fibrous of the three membranes that cover the brain and spinal cord.
Dysphagia - Difficulty in swallowing or inability to swallow.
Edema - Swelling due to an excess body fluid.
Emesis - Vomiting.
Empty Sella - Empty Sella syndrome is a radiological finding where spinal fluid is found within the space created for the pituitary
Encapsulated - Refers to a tumor that is wholly confined to a specific area, surrounded by a capsule. Localized.
Endocrine glands - The glands of the body which produce and secrete hormones.
Endocrinologist - A doctor who specializes in the glands of the endocrine system and its diseases.
Endocrinology - The study of the endocrine system or endocrine glands.
Endometriosis - Endometriosis is a condition where tissue (lining of the uterus) the endometrial stroma and glands, which should only be located inside the uterus is found elsewhere in the body.
Endometrium: The lining of the uterus shed with each menstrual period.
Estrogen - Female hormone produced by the ovaries. Certain reproductive functions are regulated by Estrogen. It is responsible for stabilizing moods and helps with vaginal lubrication. Estrogen is also involved in breast development and may encourage growth in some types of breast cancer.
Etiology - The study of the cause of a disease.
Familial Cushing's Syndrome - Most cases of Cushing's syndrome are not inherited. However, some individuals have Cushing's syndrome due to an inherited tendency to develop tumors of one or more endocrine glands.
Focal - Limited to one specific area.
FSH - The Follicle Stimulating Hormone; a gonadotrophin secreted by the pituitary gland, the hormone promotes fertility in men and helps to regulate the menstrual cycle in women.
Galactorrhea - Breast milk flow, usually clear or milky, not associated with childbirth or breast-feeding. It may be a symptom of a pituitary gland tumor or high prolactin levels.
Gamma Knife - The Gamma Knife is a neurosurgical instrument that allows a surgeon to perform brain surgery without a scalpel or actually entering the skull. The Gamma Knife is not a knife at all, but a radiosurgery device that enables doctors to treat deep-seated intracranial lesions without the risks of open-skull surgery. Hundreds of precisely targeted beams of cobalt gamma radiation converge on a single point to painlessly "cut" through brain tumors, blood vessel malformations, and other brain abnormalities.
GH - Growth Hormone, a pituitary hormone.
GnRH - Gonadotrophin Releasing Hormone, secreted by the hypothalamus; GnRH stimulates the release of LH and FSH from the pituitary gland.
Generic - A drug not protected by a trademark. Also, the scientific name as opposed to the proprietary, brand name.
Genetic Engineering - A laboratory technique sometimes used to identify a defective gene in an unborn child which may cause a particular disease.
Gland - An organized aggregation of cells functioning as a secretory or excretory organ
Glucagon Test - An alternative to the insulin tolerance test; used to test for normal function of the hypothalamus and pituitary gland; glucagon increases blood sugar levels, causing a number of hormones to be released in response.
Glucose - A type of sugar found in the blood; an important source of energy in the body.
Glucocorticosteroids - Medication to duplicate the effects of cortisol.
Gonadotrophin - A hormone which regulates the function of the gonads; the two main gonadotrophins are LH and FSH, both released from the pituitary gland.
Growth Factor - A naturally occurring protein chemical that stimulates cell division and proliferation. It is produced by normal cells during embryonic development, tissue growth, and wound healing. Tumors, however, produce large amounts of growth factors.
GRS - Growth hormone research society.
Gynaecomastia - Abnormal enlargement of the breasts, usually due to an imbalance between testosterone and estrogen
HCG - The Human Chorionic Gonadotrophin; a hormone which behaves like LH; made by the placenta, hCH may be extracted and used together with hMG to treat hypogonadism.
HDL - High-density lipoproteins
Hemianopsia -Loss of one half of the field of vision (the area that can be seen by each eye when staring straight ahead).
Hereditary - Transferred of genes from parent to child.
Herniation - Bulging of tissue through an opening in a membrane, muscle or bone.
Hirsutism - A hormonal imbalance that causes excessive hair to grow on the face, chest, abdomen, thighs etc.
Homogeneous - Composed of identical cell types.
Hormone - A chemical "messenger" that is made and secreted by an endocrine gland that targets one or more organs of the body and effects the way the organ works.
Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) – Drug treatment for persons missing or deficient in specific hormones that encourages the body to behave as if it were making the hormones naturally.
Human Growth Hormone (HGH) - produced in the pituitary gland of humans, and the hormone is secreted throughout a person's lifetime. It promotes growth in children and plays an important role in adult metabolism.
Hydrocephalus - Excess water in the brain due to blockage of cerebrospinal fluid flow, increased production or decreased absorption.
Hypercortisolemia - Overproduction of cortisol.
Hyperthyroidism – Overproduction of thyroid hormone.Hypoalderostonism - Deficiency of aldosterone.
Hypoglycemia – Low blood sugar.
Hypogonadism -The inability of the gonads to function normally.
Hypophysis - Pituitary gland.Hypopituitarism - Inadequate pituitary function
Hypothalamus - Thumbnail-sized endocrine gland located in the brain just above and connected to the pituitary gland.
Hypothyroidism -Under production of thyroid hormone.
Hypotonicity – Lack of muscle tone; limp muscles.
ICP - Intracranial pressure
IGFBP-3 - Insulin-like growth factor binding protein-3.
IGF-1 - Insulin-like growth factor-1.
IICP - Increased intracranial pressure.
Idiopathic - No known cause.
Informed consent - The right to have information explained to you so that you fully understand and agree to the nature of the proposed treatment.
Insulin resistance – Insulin is not adequate and does not produce a normal response from fat, muscle and liver cells. Insulin resistance often leads to the metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes.
Interstitial radiation therapy - The implantation of radioactive seeds directly into a tumor.
Intestinal polyps - Small growths in the bowel with the potential for further growth. May transform from a benign to a malignant state.
Intracranial - Within the skull.
Iintramuscular - Into a muscle.
Intratumoral - Into a tumor.
Intravenous - Into a vein.
Intraventricular - Into a ventricle
Invasive - Refers to a tumor that invades healthy tissues. The opposite of encapsulated. Also called diffuse or infiltrating.
Irradiation - Treatment by ionizing radiation, such as x-rays, or radioactive sources such as radioactive iodine seeds. See radiation therapy.
LBM - Lean body mass
LDL - Low-density lipoproteins
LH - The Luteinizing Hormone; a gonadotrophin secreted by the pituitary gland, stimulates the testes to produce Testosterone and promotes masculinity in men. In women LH causes a follicle to rupture and an egg to be released (ovulation); the surge of LH that does this is called the LH surge. It also helps to regulate the menstrual cycle in conjunction with FSH
LHRH - The Luteinizing Hormone Releasing Hormone; another name for GnRH.
LIF - Leukaemia inhibiting factor.
Laser - An acronym of light amplification by stimulated emission of radiation. A surgical tool that creates intense heat and power when focused at close range, destroying cells by vaporizing them.
Lethargy – Sluggishness, tired feeling, low energy.
Local - Confined to one specific area.
Lumbar puncture – (Spinal tap) Needle penetration into the subarachnoid space of the lumbar spine. Used to withdraw a sample of spinal fluid for examination. Also used to inject a dye into the spine prior to a myelogram.
MRI - Magnetic Resonance Imaging. MRI is a scanning device that uses a magnetic field, radio waves, and a computer. Signals emitted by normal and diseased tissue during the scan are assembled into an image.
Malignant - Cancerous or life-threatening, tending to become progressively worse.
Mass Effect - Damage to the brain due to the bulk of a tumor, the blockage of fluid, or excess accumulation of fluid within the skull.
Membrane - Thin layer of tissue covering a surface, lining a body cavity, or dividing a space or organ.
MEN 1 & MEN 2 (Multiple Endocrine Neoplasia) - The MEN syndromes are conditions which cause overactivity and enlargement in certain endocrine glands. MEN syndromes are usually inherited. The endocrine glands most commonly affected are the parathyroid, adrenal, and thyroid glands. MEN 1 and MEN 2 are completely different conditions due to the genetic makeup of each condition. Also, those with MEN 2 will almost certainly develop thyroid cancer. Therefore, it is recommended that patients identified with MEN 2 have their entire thyroid gland completely removed at as early age as possible.
Menopause - The cessation of menstruation, occurring at the average age of 52.
Mutate - Change in the genetic material (DNA) inside the cell.
Myasthenia Gravis – Myasthenia Gravis is a breakdown in the normal communication between nerves and muscles. It is a chronic disorder characterized by weakness and rapid fatigue of any of the muscles under your voluntary control
Nelson’s Syndrome - Clinical results of a patient with an ACTH-producing pituitary adenoma undergoes BLA (adrenalectomy). Some patients with Cushing's disease treated with adrenalectomy will develop Nelson's syndrome within 1 to 4 years. Patients with Nelson’s Syndrome may develop large tumors resulting in visual loss, pituitary failure (hypopituitarism) and headache. These adenomas also secrete melanocyte-stimulating hormone, resulting in characteristic hyperpigmentation of the skin. ACTH blood levels are generally markedly elevated but hypercortisolemia is absent.
Neoplasm - A tumor, either benign or malignant.
Neuron - Nerve cell; conducts electrical signals.
Nervous system - The entire integrated system of nerve tissue in the body: the brain, brain stem, spinal cord, nerves and ganglia.
Nucleus - The center of the cell containing the genetic information (genes and chromosomes, DNA, etc.). The appearance of the nucleus is used as a criterion to determine the malignant potential of a cell or tissue.
Octreotide Scan - This is a non-invasive way to evaluate the tissues of the body for the presence of neuroendocrine tumors. Octreotide is a polypeptide which targets somatostatin receptor rich tissues in the body.
Osteopenia - The precursor to osteoporosis
Osteoporosis - A condition characterized by weakened and brittle bones.
Palsy - Loss of function.
Panhypopituitarism - Loss of all pituitary hormones.
Papilledema - Swelling of the optic nerve
Paralysis - Loss of muscle function due to injury or disease of the nervous system.
Paresis - Weakness
Paresthesia - Abnormal sensations, such as burning, prickling.
PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome) - PCOS is a health problem that can affect a woman’s menstrual cycle, fertility, hormones, insulin production, heart, blood vessels, and appearance. There may or may not be cyst present in the ovaries. PCOS has many of the same symptoms as Cushing’s.
PET scan - Positron Emission Tomography. A scanning device which uses low-dose radioactive sugar to measure brain activity.
Pituitary gland - A small oval endocrine gland attached to the brain. This gland plays a central role in the regulation of secretion from many other hormone-secreting glands of the body.
Pituitary stalk - A tiny structure which connects the hypothalamus to the pituitary gland.
Primary Amenorrhoea - The inability to menstruate, caused by a failure of sexual maturation and function.
Primary brain tumor - Original source of tumor in the brain rather than other areas of the body.
Primitive - Undeveloped or in early stages of development, undifferentiated.
Progesterone - A sex hormone which is made in the ovaries and during pregnancy, by the placenta as well; helps to build up the endometrium during the menstrual cycle.
Prognosis - A forecast as to probable outcome.
Protocol - An outline of care, treatment plan.
Quality of life - Refers to the level of comfort, enjoyment, ability to pursue daily activities. Often used in discussions of treatment options.
Radiation therapy - The use of radiation energy to interfere with tumor growth.
Radioresistant - Resistant to radiation therapy
Radiosensitive - Responsive to radiation therapy
Rathke's cleft cyst (RCC) - A remnant of Rathke's pouch in the pituitary often persists as a cleft that lies within the pituitary gland. It is usually present at birth.
Recurrence – To return, symptoms or the tumor itself.
Rehabilitation - The return of function after illness or injury, often with the assistance of specialized medical professionals.
REM - Rapid eye movement.
Remission - The disappearance of symptoms, tumor. Non-active state.
Resection - Surgical removal of a tumor.
Residual - Remaining tumor.
Respiration - Breathing. To inhale and exhale.
RGH - Recombinant growth hormone, somatropin.
RIA - Radioimmunoassay.
Seizure – Convulsions, Epilepsy, Due to temporary disruption in electrical activity of the brain.
Spasticity - Increased involuntary muscle contraction (the opposite of hypotonicity).
Spinal fluid - Cerebrospinal fluid - The clear fluid made in the ventricular cavities of the brain that bathes the brain and spinal cord.
Stalk - Stem, The pituitary stalk connects the pituitary gland to the hypothalamus.
Stereotactic - Precise postioning in three dimensional space. Refers to surgery or radiation therapy directed by various scanning devices.
Stereotactic radiosurgery - A radiation therapy technique that uses a large number of narrow, precisely aimed, highly focused beams of ionizing radiation. The beams are aimed from many directions circling the head, and meet at a specific point.
STH - Somatotropin (growth hormone, GH)
Striae - Stretch marks or stripes that are usually purplish in color with Cushing's Syndrome.
Subcutaneous - Beneath the skin.
Systemic - Circulating throughout the body.
T3 - Triiodothyroninine. The active metabolite of thyroxine.
T4 - Thyroxine
TBW - Total body water.
Testosterone - The main male sex hormone, its production encouraged by LH from the pituitary gland; small amounts also present in women.
TG - Triglycerides
Tissue - A group of similar cells united to perform a specific function.
Transsphenoidal Surgery - A surgical procedure through the sphenoid sinus permitting access to the pituitary gland.
TRH - Thyrotropin releasing hormone.
TSH - Thyroid stimulating hormone, thyrotropin
Tumor - An abnormal growth that can be benign or malignant.
Tumor Marker - Substances found in blood or other fluids that identify the presence of a tumor, and/or the type of tumor.
Ultrasound - Visualization of structures in the body by recording the reflections of sound waves directed into tissues.
Undifferentiated - An immature, embryonic, or primitive cell. It has a nonspecific appearance with multiple nonspecific activities and functions poorly.
Urine Free Cortisol (UFC) - A urine test used in diagnosing Cushing’s Syndrome.
Vascular - Relating to blood vessels.
Vertigo - Dizziness
Vascularity - The blood supply of a tumor.