Glossary of Research Terms


ABRASION: Area where skin or other tissue is scraped away.

ADVERSE EVENT: An occurrence or side-effect which represents a deviation of the normal condition of the participant.

AMBULATE: Walk, able to walk.

ANEMIA: Decreased number of red blood cells.

ANESTHETIC (local): A drug or agent used to decrease the feeling of pain by numbing an area of your body, without putting you to sleep.

ANTIBIOTIC: Drug used to stop or slow down the growth of germs.

ANTISEPTIC: Substance used to stop or slow down the growth of germs.

APOPTOSIS: The programmed death of some of an organism’s cells as part of its natural growth and development.

ARTERY: Type of blood vessel that carries blood & oxygen from the heart to the rest of the body.

ARTHRITIS: Inflammation of one or more joints.

ASSAY: A written report of the results of an analysis of the composition of some substance.

ATROPHY: Wasting away, or decrease in size, of a body organ or part.


BILATERAL: Having to do with both sides of the body.

BIOPSY: A small amount of tissue removed for laboratory testing.

BONE MASS: The amount of calcium in a given amount of bone.


CAM: Acronym for Cognitive Aging and Memory Program, supported by the University of Florida’s McKnight Brain Resarch Foundation. A primary objective of the CAM is to translate basic science discoveries into clinical applications in order to slow, avert or restore age-related cognitive decline and memory loss.

CLINICAL TRIAL: A medical study involving research volunteers

CONTROL GROUP: A condition or procedure that serves as a standard by which experimental observations are compared and evaluated.

CONTROLLED TRIAL: Study in which the experimental procedures are compared to a standard (accepted) treatment or procedure.



DEMOGRAPHIC: Information about your lifestyle and general characteristics.

DNA: The part of all the cells that contains information about what the cell is and what it does.

DIABETES: A disease that occurs when the body is not able to use sugar as it should.

DIASTOLIC: The normal rhythmically occurring relaxation and dilatation of the heart chambers, especially the ventricles, during which they fill with blood. The lower number in blood pressure reading.

DOPPLER: Sound waves.

DYSPLASIA: Abnormal cells.

DYSPNEA: Shortness of breath.


EDEMA: Swelling from fluid collecting in the body at certain places.

ECG: Picture of the electrical action of the heart.

ELECTRODE: A small device that detects electrical activity in your body.

EPIDEMIOLOGY: The study of populations in order to determine the frequency and distribution of disease and measure risks.

EPIDERMIS: Outer layer of skin.

ERYTHEMA: Redness of the skin that is often a sign of infection or inflammation.

ETIOLOGY: The science that deals with the causes or origin of diseases and, the factors which produce or predispose toward a certain disease or disorder.


FDA: U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the branch of federal government that approves new drugs.

FIBRILLATION: Irregular beat of the heart or other muscle.

FRAILTY SYNDROME: is a collection of symptoms, primarily due to the aging-related loss and dysfunction of skeletal muscle and bone, that place (mostly) older adults at increased risk of adverse events such as death, disability, and institutionalization. The components of the fraily syndrome are sarcopenia, osteoporosis and muscle weakness.


GENE: A small part of the information in DNA that is passed on during reproduction of all living things.

GLUCOSE: A monosaccharide sugar, occurring widely in most plant and animal tissue. It is the principal circulating sugar in the blood and the major energy source of the body.


HEMATOMA: A bruise, a black-and-blue mark. Similar to a contusion.

HIPAA: Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. A U.S. law designed to provide privacy standards to protect patients’ medical records and other health information that is provided to health plans, doctors, hospitals and other health care providers.

HYPERTENSION: High blood pressure.


INFORMED CONSENT: The process of learning the key facts about a clinical trial before you decide whether or not to participate.

IOA: acronym for the University of Florida’s Institute on Aging.

IRB: Institutional Review Board. An independent committee of physicians, statisticians, community advocates and others that ensure a clinical trial is ethical and the rights of study participants are protected.

INTRAMUSCULAR: Into the muscle; within the muscle.

INTRAVENOUS (IV): Through the vein.

INVASIVE PROCEDURE: Puncture, opening or cutting of the skin.


KAATSU: Kaatsu training consists of performing low-intensity resistance training while a relatively light and flexible cuff is placed on the proximal part of one’s lower or upper limbs.


LIPID: Lipids are an important part of living cells. Together with carbohydrates and proteins, lipids are the main constituents of plant and animal cells.

LOCAL ANESTHESIA: Creation of insensitivity to pain in a small, local area of the body.


MRI: The use of magnetic waves to obtain pictures of soft tissues of the body.

MALAISE: A vague feeling of bodily discomfort, feeling bad.

METABOLISM: The physical and chemical processes occurring within a living cell or organism that are necessary for the maintenance of life.


NIH: The National Institute of Health.

NIA: The National Institute on Aging


OAIC: Acronym for Older Americans Independence Center. The Claude D. Pepper Older American Independence Centers (OAIC) program was established in honor of the late Representative, to establish centers of excellence in research and training that will increase scientific knowledge leading to better ways to maintain or restore independence in older persons.

OBESITY: Abnormal body weight, usually defined as more than 20% above average for age, height and bone structure.

OHRP: The Office for Human Research Protection. Oversees research with humans to ensure that Federal regulations are followed.

OSTEOPOROSIS: an age-related disease of bone that leads to an increased risk of fracture.


PHASE I: Initial study of a new drug in humans to determine limits of tolerance.

PHASE II: Second phase of study of a new drug intended to obtain information on usefulness and safety.

PHASE III: Large scale trials to confirm and expand information on safety and usefulness of a new drug.

PLACEBO: A substance of no medical value; an inactive substance.

PROTOCOL: Plan of study.


SARCOPENIA: the degenerative loss of skeletal muscle mass (0.5-1% loss per year after the age of 25), quality, and strength associated with aging. Sarcopenia is a component of the frailty syndrome.