Last modification: 2024/01/15

This is a glossary of a number of special words and medical terms used by this information service.

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ultrasound examination of the heart to check its performance (cardiac function); the position or structure of the heart valves and walls, the wall thickness of the heart muscle, the size of the heart and the ejected blood volume (pumping function of the heart) are examined and assessed, among other things.

method of measuring the electrical activity of the heart

method of recording the electrical activity of the brain; the electroencephalogram (also abbreviated EEG) is the graphical representation of this electrical brain activity. Its evaluation can provide evidence of brain dysfunctions.

electromagnetic rays (also known as electromagnetic waves) consist of coupled electric and magnetic fields; examples of electromagnetic radiation are X-rays and gamma rays as well as radio waves, thermal radiation and light.

injection of vascular occlusive substances into blood vessels, e.g. to cut off the blood supply to tumours, to stop life-threatening bleeding, and to close a vascular catheter;
Example / Relevance Pediatrics: the method is used in individual cases for tumours of the blood vessels or for other vascular tumours.

embryonal syn. embryonic
in an early stage of development, immature;
Example / Relevance Pediatrics: numerous tumours of childhood and adolescence are embryonal tumours, i.e. they have arisen from degenerated immature (undifferentiated) tissue / germ tissue.

embryonial development syn. embryonic development
embryonal development refers to the developmental phase of the embryo at the time of organ development (about the third to the end of the eighth week of development). In a broader sense, embryogenesis can represent the entire phase of germ development, from the time of fertilization of the egg cell to the formation of the organs in the embryo. From the ninth week of pregnancy, i.e. after the completion of organ development, the embryo is called the fetus.

"releasing inwards"; endocrine glands release their secretions directly (i.e. without an excretory duct) into the blood. Generally, hormones are secreted via endocrine glands. The terms „endocrine gland“ and „hormone gland“ mean the same.

illumination and observation of body cavities and hollow organs with an endoscope; the specific designation depends on the organ being examined (e.g. gastroscopy = endoscopy of the stomach; laparoscopy = endoscopy of the organs in the abdomen); used as a diagnostic procedure with the opion of taking a tissue sample (biopsy), as a therapeutic procedure, e.g. for performing minor surgical procedures under imaging control

substances, usually proteins, that initiate, accelerate and catalyze biochemical reactions in a desired direction; enzymes are responsible for the metabolism of all organisms. Almost all biochemical processes in the organism are controlled by enzymes (e.g. digestion, protein biosynthesis, cell division). In addition, they also play an important role in stimulus uptake and transmission as well as signal transduction within cells.

specialty in medicine that deals with the study of the occurrence, frequency, causes, and spread of diseases in the population or in specific populations

epigenetics is a branch of biology that deals with molecular mechanisms that lead to stronger or weaker expression of genes without altering the information stored on the gene. Instead, certain biocatalysts (enzymes) mark certain sections on the genetic material (DNA). In contrast to genetic processes, epigenetic processes are reversible and do not influence the sequence of the DNA, but the way the sequence is being read by taking place on top of it, i.e. at a higher level ("epi-" - from Greek: "over"). Epigenetic processes are nevertheless heritable, meaning they are passed on during cell division. Through epigenetics, cells control, for example, which proteins they produce, in what quantities and when.

a condition associated with seizures, which is caused by dysfunction of the brain (leading to recurrent bursts of uncontrolled electrical activities between nerve cells in the brain), which can be triggered by various factors. Treatment is usually with antiepileptic drugs.
Example / Relevance Pediatrics: epileptic seizures can, for example, be caused by a brain tumour (symptomatic epilepsy).

epithelial tissue
a closed group of cells that lines or borders the external or internal surfaces of the body in one or more layers; epithelial tissues include, for example, the skin, mucous membranes of the oral cavity, oesophagus, stomach and intestines, lining of the urinary bladder, renal pelvis, fallopian tubes, uterus and trachea. As covering and glandular tissue, epithelial tissue fulfils the following functions: protection, mass exchange and sensation/signal transmission. The epithelium is one of the four basic tissue types, along with muscle, nerve and connective tissue.

Epstein-Barr virus (Abrev.: EBV)
causative agent of glandular fever;
Example / Relevance Pediatrics: previous infection with EBV is discussed as a possible risk factor for the development of certain malignant lymphomas (e.g. Hodgkin lymphoma, Burkitts lymphoma).

erythrocyte sedimentation rate
determines how quickly the red blood cells (erythrocytes) sink within one hour (sometimes additionally within two hours) in a special measuring tube; for example, the test can indicate inflammation in the body. In certain diseases, erythrocytes settle in the blood either more slowly or faster than usual.

red blood cells, the most abundant cells in the blood, they are mainly used to transport oxygen in the body; erythrocytes are formed in the bone marrow (erythropoiesis). The red blood pigment (haemoglobin) inside the erythrocytes is responsible for binding and transporting the oxygen absorbed in the lungs. If red blood cells are not present in sufficient quantities or, due to a lack of haemoglobin, are not functional, it is referred to as anaemia.

erythropoietin (Abrev.: EPO)
hormone produced in the kidneys which, in collaboration with other growth factors, controls the differentiation of blood cells and promotes the formation of red blood cells (erythrocytes); today, erythropoietin can be genetically engineered and used as a drug to stimulate the formation of erythrocytes.
Example / Relevance Pediatrics: the production of erythropoietin can be reduced in patients with impaired kidney function, thereby leading to anaemia. Also, some tumours are capable of producing erythropoietin, and hence, the erythropoietin levels may be increased in those patients.
References: anaemia - erythrocytes

evoked potentials
examination method that can be used to test the conductivity and thus the functionality of nerve pathways; the principle is based on a controlled stimulation of a sensory organ or peripheral nerve (e.g. eyes, hearing, sense of touch) and the verification of the stimulus response (electrical potential) triggered by this in processing regions of the central nervous system.
Example / Relevance Pediatrics: the method is mainly used in the diagnosis of tumours of the central nervous system (CNS) in order to obtain information about the type and location of a disease in the brain or spinal cord. Evoked potentials are measured using electroencephalography (EEG).

"releasing to the outside"; exocrine glands release their substances via an excretory duct to external or internal surfaces (e.g. to the skin or to the intestine or genitourinary tract)

pathological protrusion of the eyeball from the eye socket on one or both sides;
Example / Relevance Pediatrics: exopthalmus can be a symptom of certain diseases, such as tumours in the area of the eye socket (e.g. retinoblastoma; rhabdomyosarcoma).

external ventricular drainage
a minor neurosurgical procedure in which excess cerebrospinal fluid is drained from the cerebrospinal fluid chambers (cerebral ventricles, spinal canal) to the outside.
Example / Relevance Pediatrics: this measure may be necessary, for example, if a tumour impairs the flow of cerebrospinal fluid in the central nervous system to such an extent that the pressure in the brain rises considerably and hydrocephalus develops.

eyelid ecchymosis
extensive bleeding in the area of the eyelids
Example / Relevance Pediatrics: eyelid ecchymosis can be a sign of disease in patients with neuroblastoma.