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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nephroblastoma syn. Wilms tumour
embryonic, malignant solid tumour of the kidney, most common in children between the ages of 1 and 5 years, especially in the presence of various syndromes or congenital abnormalities; it accounts for about 5% of all malignant diseases in childhood and adolescence.
Main Information Document: Wilms tumour (Nephroblastoma) and other kidney tumours

nerve cells syn. neurons
components of the nervous system of higher organisms that are mainly responsible for transmitting messages in the organism (by transmitting, processing and receiving signals);
Example / Relevance Pediatrics: with their projections and synapses, the nerve cells form a network through which important signals are transmitted and unimportant signals are suppressed.

nerve tissue
tissue of the nervous system; it consists of nerve cells (neurons) and its own special connective tissue, the glial cells.

nervous system
the entirety of the nervous tissue; the most important functions of the nervous system are at the service of perception, the integration of perception, thinking and feeling, and the initiation of appropriate behaviour. The nervous system can be divided into a „central nervous system (CNS)“ and a „peripheral nervous system“ as well as 2) a „somatic nervous system“ and an „autonomic nervous system“.
Example / Relevance Pediatrics: nerve tissue can be the starting point for various tumours in childhood and adolescence, such as CNS tumours and neuroblastoma.
References: central nervous system - peripheral nervous system - CNS tumour - neuroblastoma

malignant solid tumour of the sympathetic nervous system; occurs more frequently before the age of 5, mainly in infants and newborns; neuroblastoma is one of the most common solid tumours in childhood and adolescence (accounting for about 5.5% of all malignant diseases) after CNS and soft tissue tumours.
Main Information Document: Neuroblastoma

The neuroectoderm refers to the tissue parts of the outer of the three embryonic germ layers (ectoderm) from which the nerve tissue develops.
Example / Relevance Pediatrics: malignant tumours can arise from neuroectodermal stem cells, for example the primitive neuroectodermal tumours in the central nervous system (such as medulloblastoma) or the peripheral malignant primitive neuroectodermal tumour (PPNET or pPNET), which belongs to the family of Ewing sarcomas.

hereditary disease that leads to tumours of the nerve sheaths, meninges and glia (the "connective tissue" of the nervous system). Clinically and molecular-genetically, two forms of neurofibromatosis can be distinguished, which are caused by different genetic defects: 1. Peripheral neurofibromatosis (NF1, also known as Recklinghausens disease): this is characterized by so-called café-au-lait spots on the skin and a predisposition to various tumours (including neurofibromas, gliomas of the optic nerve, iris hamartomas as well as astrocytomas and pheochromocytomas). 2. Central neurofibromatosis (NF2): it is characterized by mostly (bilateral) neuromas of the auditory nerve (acusticus), which can lead to deafness, facial paralysis and mental disturbances. There is also an increased risk of tumours (e.g. astrocytomas, spinal ependymomas). Neurofibromatosis is one of the so-called phacomatoses.
Example / Relevance Pediatrics: In the context of malignant diseases in children and adolescents, both NF1 and NF2 are important.

referring to the function of the nervous system / nerve tissue

monitoring/control of the neurophysiological activity of nerves; it is used in the context of a surgical procedure to protect nerve pathways that are endangered by the operation. Neuromonitoring allows the surgeon to determine whether any of the monitored nerves are being irritated. Such irritation leads to the contraction of the muscle supplied by the respective nerve, which in turn can be measured by means of electrodes that are previously inserted into the muscle. The signals can be displayed visually or acoustically.

neuron-specific enolase (Abrev.: NSE)
enzyme of glucose metabolism, which is found in nerve cells in the brain as well as peripheral nerves, among others; elevated levels of NSE in the blood may indicate certain cancers (e.g. neuroblastoma).
Example / Relevance Pediatrics: in paediatric oncology, neuron-specific enolase can be used to diagnose and monitor the course of the disease in some cancers such as neuroblastoma.

a branch of surgery that includes parts of the diagnosis and surgical treatment of diseases of the nervous system
Example / Relevance Pediatrics: neurosurgical interventions are used in particular in the diagnosis and treatment of brain tumours.

reduction of neutrophils in the blood, increasing susceptibility to bacterial infections; the extreme form of neutropenia is agranulocytosis.

Non-Hodgkin lymphoma (Abrev.: NHL)
a large group of malignant diseases of the lymphatic system, which can provoke lymph node swelling as a main feature; like Hodgkin lymphoma, NHL is a malignant lymphoma. It accounts for about 7 % of malignant diseases in childhood and adolescence.

involuntary, rhythmic eye movements; "eye tremors"
Example / Relevance Pediatrics: form of visual disturbance, caused e.g. by a tumour of the cerebellum, diencephalon or within the course of the visual pathway