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Old Books

Jargon Buster
Some definitions to start you off if you want to delve further into research...


Acute illness – The initial period of rapid-onset illness symptoms, usually lasting days to weeks.

Antibody – A type of protein produced by certain immune cells to bind to an antigen and help eliminate an unwanted substance from the body. Each type of antibody has a different, very specific shape to fit each antigen.

Antigen - Any foreign substance which causes the body to form an immune response. Common antigens include proteins on bacteria and viruses.



Chronic illness – Symptoms of illness which persist for a long time or repeatedly return. This may last many years, even for the whole lifetime. Often this limits a person’s ability to do normal everyday activities.


Dysautonomia – Dysfunction of the autonomic nervous system. The autonomic nervous system is responsible for maintenance of processes that are outside of conscious control such as heart rate, blood pressure and digestion.


Embolism – The blocking of a blood vessel (artery or vein) by an embolus- this is usually a blood clot but can also be fat or an air bubble.

Endemic – An endemic disease is one which is constantly present in a population, with static overall case rates. This means that the number of people catching the disease over time remains constant.

Endothelium – The tissue which lines the inside of blood vessels (arteries and veins). The endothelium is made by a layer of endothelial cells.

Epidemic – An increase in the number of cases of a disease above what would normally be expected in that population.





Incidence – The rate of occurrence of a disease. For example, number of new cases per day.

Ischaemia – An inadequate blood supply to a body part. This means that the body part does not receive enough oxygen or essential nutrients to function.




Leukopenia – A condition where the body has too few neutrophils, a type of white blood cell that forms part of the first line of defence in the immune system.

Lymphocyte – A subtype of white blood cell that forms part of the immune system. There are T and B lymphocytes, both are involved in the later stages of an immune response that can result in immune memory.

Lymphocytopenia – A condition where the body has too few lymphocytes, a types of white blood cell that are part of the later stages of immune response.


Myocardium – The muscle of the heart. This is made of up cells called cardiac myocytes.

Myocarditis – Inflammation of the heart muscle.


Neurons - Cells which form the bulk of the nervous system; neurons make up nerves and are found inside the brain.

Non-pharmaceutical Interventions (NPIs) – Ways to mitigate disease risk that don’t include medication and vaccination. Examples include masks, air filtration, ventilation, and hand hygiene.



Pandemic – An epidemic of a disease that has spread across a large area, usually across multiple countries.

Prevalence – The number of people in a population who have a disease at a particular time.

Pericardium – The sac which surrounds the heart.

Pericarditis – Inflammation of the sac which surrounds the heart.




Statistical significance – A result is statistically significant when the tests used show that it is unlikely just to be due to random chance. For example, a significance level of P<0.05 means that there is a less than 5% chance that the result calculated is due to random chance – there is a 95% chance something else significant is happening.


Thrombophilia – A condition where the blood is more likely to form blood clots.

Thrombosis – When a blood clot forms inside a blood vessel (artery or vein) which may restrict blood flow.

Thrombus – A blood clot; specifically one which remains where it originally formed.



Vasculitis – Inflammation of blood vessels (arteries or veins).

Viral load – The amount of virus a person has inside their body.





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