Glossary for Units 1, 2, 3, and 4
AIDS: Acquired immune deficiency syndrome. A fatal infectious disease caused by the virus HIV.
Aktion: Nonmilitary campaigns of the Nazis that furthered the Nazi "race betterment" programs. Most were campaigns for deporting Jews to concentration camps and death camps.
Aktion T-4: Code name for the Nazi?s euthanasia program.
Alpha-fetoprotein: Protein produced by the liver of the fetus that sometimes appears in the bloodstream of a pregnant woman. Its presence indicates that the fetus is at increased risk of birth defects.
Allocation of resources: Distribution of available resources?money, medicines, services?when supplies are not limitless. Same as resource allocation.
Anencephaly: "No brain." Condition in which a newborn?s brain has not developed fully. The baby has a brain stem but lacks a cerebrum and cerebellum and thus has no chance for awareness.
Animal welfare: Movement addressing the rights and fair treatment of animals.
Attenuated virus: A virus that has been weakened, such that it is still living but no longer virulent. Such viruses are often used in vaccines, because they can elicit immune responses and protection without causing disease. They continue to divide in host cells and thus continue to trigger immunity for months or years.
Autonomy: "Self ruling." A principle of ethics acknowledging the right of an individual to act as s/he wishes in accord with self-selected values. A corollary of this principle is that others have a duty to respect the choices that are made by autonomous individuals.
Beneficence: A principle of ethics obligating individuals, including those who participate in medical decision making, to do what is good.
Bioethics: Discipline addressing the ethical issues raised by developments in science, the environment, health care, technology, and medicine.
Booster shots: Immunizations that rekindle or boost earlier immune responses. Such shots help keep the immune system primed to fight specific infections.
Case study: Close scrutiny of a specific individual or specific situation?a "case"?that is considered representative. The case study is used to illustrate ethical principles.
Casuisty: Method of ethical analysis that emphasizes practical problem solving through the examinaton of individual cases that are considered representative.
Cacogenic: "Bad origins." Eugenicists? term for individuals who have undesirable genes. Same as dysgenic.
Clinical trial: An experiment in which a new drug or therapy is tested on humans and compared with other treatments.
Cold War: Period between the end of WWII and the dissolution of the Soviet Union that was fueled by propaganda and political tension between Russia and the NATO nations. The term was coined in 1945. In contrast to a Hot War (a term coined in 1768), which includes overt fighting, a Cold War involves rivalry, mistrust, and open hostility between power groups but stops short of violence.
Coma: Prolonged period of unconsciousness.
Commodity: An item for sale or purchase that has value and/or is useful.
Competence: Ability to make reasonable choices and informed decisions.
Complicity: Involvement with others in a questionable act.
Concentration camp: Detention center for non-combatants and political prisoners at which harsh conditions prevail. First used in the South African War of 1899-1902 but associated most strongly with the Nazi regime in Germany in 1939-1945.
Conjoined twins: Twins who developed from one fertilized egg but did not fully separate. They remain attached to each other somewhere along their bodies. Same as Siamese twins.
Consent form: Document signed by patients and subjects in clinical trials indicating that they agree to participate in the trial and understand the purpose, risks, and benefits of the trial.
Controls: Subjects in an experiment who do not receive the experimental drug or treatment. These individuals are matched as closely as possible to the individuals in the experimental group and can, therefore, provide baseline information about what happens to a group that receives no treatment, a placebo, or a treatment that is currently standard-of-care.
Cyclosporin: The first widely used immunosuppressive drug.
Declaration of Helsinki: Recommendations guiding researchers in biomedical research that involves human subjects. Formulated in June 1964. Revisions were made in 1975 and 1983 and were proposed in 1999.
Dialysis: Procedure for clearing the kidneys of toxic substances. Used for those whose kidneys are failing.
Directed donation: A form of giving in which an organ donor designates who will receive the organ.
Donor: Person donating an organ to another.
Donor card: Document indicating that a person is willing to be an organ donor at the time of death. Many people also indicate their willingness to be donors on their drivers? licenses.
Double blind experiment: Style of experiment in which neither the researchers nor the subjects of an experiment know who is receiving which treatment.
Dysgenic: Eugenicists? term for those with bad heredity. Same as cacogenic.
Endemic disease: A disease that always is present in a population.
Enhancement: Improvements made to an already healthy or average body. Enhancement contrasts with therapy, which focuses on improvements to a body that is sick or afflicted with some condition. Enhancements can be brought about surgically, genetically, and pharmacologically.
Epidemic disease: A disease that has become rampant in a community.
Ethics: General term referring both to morality and ethical theory.
Eugenics: "Good heredity." Movement to improve the human "race" by making improvements in the hereditary material of individuals and ultimately of populations.
Eugenics Record Office: Early 20th century center at Cold Spring Harbor, N.Y., where genetic and pedigree data were collected from families and individuals and where policies were developed to restrict immigration of those considered unfit and to encourage and assist states to enact sterilization laws.
Euthanasia: "Good death." The painless killing of individuals, but perverted by the Nazis to mean killing in general.
Extermination: Total destruction. The Nazi game plan for wiping out all non-Aryan individuals.
FK506: An immunosuppressive drug that blocks immune responses in individuals who have received transplants.
Futility: In medicine, a situation in which a patient has no chance of a reasonable recovery.
Gene: Hereditary material made of DNA. Genes are situated on chomosomes, which are inside cells.
Gene therapy: Manipulation of genes with the purpose of correcting a medical problem caused by missing, defective, or improperly acting genes.
Genetic screening: Widespread use of gene tests to evaluate populations of individuals considered at risk for specific genetic disorders.
Genetic testing: Use of genetic tests to evaluate whether an individual carries the genes that encode specific hereditary disorders.
Genocide: "Killing of a people." Extermination of a whole population.
Germline cells: Cells that give rise to the reproductive cells?eggs and sperms.
Germline gene therapy: Manipulation of genes in cells involved in reproduction?namely eggs and sperm. Such therapy would affect not just the person receiving the new or altered genes but also the progeny of that individual.
Graft versus host disease: A complication of transplantation, in which cells contained in the transplanted organ or tissue react immunologically against and generally destroy the tissues of the transplant recipient.
Hereditary disease: Disease that is transmitted from individuals in one generation to the next through genes.
Hippocratic Oath: Code of ethics for physicians written in the 4th century B.C. Physicians taking the oath pledge to do all they can to benefit patients and protect them from harm.
HIV: Human immunodeficiency virus. This virus causes AIDS.
Holocaust: Hitler?s program for killing all of the Jews of Europe. The term is an ancient one that referred to burnt sacrifices of people and animals. It then came to mean a large-scale loss of life by fire.
Host: Person or animal who harbors an infectious organism or in whom an organ is transplanted.
Human genome project: International effort to map and identify all of the genes on human chromosomes. The results would then be useful in health care for identifying problematic genes in individuals, correcting defective genes, replacing missing genes, and staving off genetic diseases and conditions before they harm the individual.
Human growth hormones: Secreted molecules made in the pituitary gland that promote growth.
Human rights: Fundamental freedoms and opportunities of humans that are inherent in being human.
Immune response: Reaction of cells and proteins of the immune system against infectious organs, tumors, and transplanted organs and tissues.
Immunosuppressive drugs: Drugs that block immune responses. Such drugs?cyclosporin, FK506?are taken by transplant recipients to prevent their immune systems from rejecting the transplanted organ.
Infanticide: "Killing of children."
Informed consent: Agreement on the part of a patient or subject of an experiment to participate in the experiment or to accept a treatment. An individual signs a consent form only after being adequately informed of the nature of the study and its likely risks and benefits.
IRB: Institutional Review Board. Committee that evaluates clinical trials at hospitals and clinics, assessing problems in the design of the experiment, whether potential benefits outweigh potential risks, and whether subjects are treated respectfully by researchers.
Iron lung: Machine first used in 1929 to help patients with polio breathe.
Justice: A moral principle holding that people in similar situations should be treated equally. Justice figures strongly in decisions regarding the allocation of scarce resources and in determinations of which individuals should be recruited and accepted for experimental studies.
Koch's postulates: Four criteria for establishing what organism causes a disease. Named for Robert Koch, a German bacteriologist, who lived from 1843 to 1910 and who devised the scheme. The requirements are that (1) the organism must be observed in all cases of the disease, (2) the organism must be isolated from an animal with the disease and then grown in culture, (3) the culture material must cause the disease in test animals when it is injected into them, and (4) the organims must be recoverable from the test animals.
Lymphocytes: Cells in the immune system that participate in immune responses.
Magic bullet: Medicines that find their targets and then attack, change, or kill them in a very precise manner.
Mendelian inheritance: Mathematical rules governing inheritance of simple traits in plants and animals. The traits were encoded by single genes, which were referred to as "unit characters" by Gregor Mendel, who characterized this form of inheritance in 1866 through experimental studies with peas.
Morality: Social conventions about right and wrong human conduct. The conventions are widely shared in a community.
National Socialist Party (Nazi): Founded as the German Workers? Party in 1919 and renamed the National Socialist German Workers? party in 1921 by Adolf Hileter after he ousted the party?s leaders.
Natural history of disease: The standard course run by a disease when no interventions are used.
Nature versus nurture: Debate about whether genes or environmental factors are more influential in determining an individual?s behavior, character, and intelligence.
Negative eugenics: Policies, such as sterilization and restrictions on immigration,
directed at halting the reproduction of individuals considered by the eugenicists to be undesirable.
Nocebo: A dummy treatment given to a control subject in an experiment that should have no effect but actually causes harm to the individual.
Nonmaleficence: A principle of ethics addressing the obligation of people, including those who deliver healthcare, to avoid doing harm.
Nuremberg Code: Ethical code resulting from the Nuremberg Doctors? Trial, formulated in 1947, and providing guidelines for the ethical conduct of human subjects research.
Pacemaker: A device implanted into the heart to regulate its beating. Used when the natural pacemaker of the heart?a group of cells in a section called the sinus node?fails to regulate heart muscle contractions.
Parental consent: Approval by parents for a medical procedure or experiment to be carried out on their child.
Peer review: Evaluation of an experimental design by peers of the person who is proposing the experiment.
Personhood: Having the status of being self aware and capable of rational thought and moral agency. Also, being accorded moral and and legal rights.
Placebo: A dummy treatment that should have no effect on those who take it. Provides a baseline in an experiment, showing what happens when a subject takes no drug or treatment.
Placebo effect: Enigmatic phenomenon in which a dummy treatment works as well as the drug it is compared with.
Polio: Infectious disease, also known as infantile paralysis, that destroys the nerves. Polio leads to paralysis, muscle and nerve degeneration, and often permanent disability.
Positive eugenics: Encouragement of matings between individuals whose genes are considered desirable.
Preemie: An infant born early, having low birth weight and immature tissues. The survival of preemies is sometimes in peril.
Presumed consent: In the absence of dissent, the assumption that the person has given consent to do something, such as donate an organ.
Protocol: The plan for an experiment or clinical trial.
Psychotropic drugs: Medicines that affect the mind.
PVS = persistent vegetative state: Prolonged period of severe disability in which the patient cannot care for self, feed self, etc., is unaware, and may be unconscious. The brainstem remains active.
Quality of life: Measures ranging from subjective to objective for determining how good someone?s life will be in her/his present state being.
Radioactive fallout: Material from a bomb or other radioactive source. Fallout emits dangerous radiation that can harm living organisms.
Rasenhygiene: Hitler?s race hygiene program.
Recipient: Person who receives a new organ or new tissues through transplantation.
Resource allocation: Distribution of available resources?money, medicines, services?when supplies are not limitless. Same as allocation of resources.
Respirator: Device used to help individuals breathe. A tube is inserted into the trachea, air is pumped into the lungs, and is sucked back into the machine. Respirators are used both for short term and for long term therapy. Same as ventilator.
Rights: Freedoms and opportunities that individuals are entitled to simply by being human. Rights have a reciprocal relationship with duties: if one person has a right to something then others have a duty to respect those rights.
Salpingectomy: Surgical removal of the fallopian tube to produce infertility in a woman.
Schizophrenia: Severe psychiatric disorder that includes delusions, retreat from reality, hallucinations, and bizarre behavior.
Serotonin: Chemical present in many tissues of the body, including the central nervous system, where it acts as a transmitter of signals between nerve cells.
Sham surgery: Operation in which surgeons make incisions and then sew up the patient. No actually therapy is done but some sham surgeries cause placebo effects.
Siamese twins: Twins who developed from one fertilized egg but did not fully separate. They remain attached to each other somewhere along their bodies. Named for the most famous set, Chang and Eng, who were born in Thailand in 1874. Same as conjoined twins.
Slippery slope: Ethical argument that asserts that one morally questionable action or policy will set a precedent for or lead to other actions or policies that are even more morally questionable. Also called "wedge argument." The concern is that, by permitting one type of action, the door is then open to more serious and widespread abuses that are similar to the original.
Somatic cells: All cells in the body except sperms and eggs.
Somatic cell gene therapy: Manipulation of the genes in somatic cells. Such therapy would affect only the targeted person and not future generations. Contrasts with germline gene therapy.
Standard of care: Medical term for the most widely accepted prevailing therapy or treatment for a disease or condition.
Study-in-nature: Type of experiment in which patients or subjects are merely observed and no interventions are used.
Subjects: People who participate in clinical research. They are also known as subject-volunteers.
Syphilis: Infectious disease transmitted through sexual intercourse, caused by a spirochete, and causing open sores, disseminated rash, cardiovascular disease, neurologic degeneration, and eventually death.
T cell: One type of cell from the immune system that participates in immune responses.
Technological imperative: Notion that the mere existence of a particular technology means it ought to and must be used.
Thalidomide: Drug used in the 1950s and 1960s, especially by women in Europe, to relieve problems associated with pregnancy. Thalidomide caused severe deformities in the progeny of these women. Today thalidomide is used for treating patients with leprosy and AIDS.
Therapeutic misconception: The notion that an experiment or intervention is a proven treatment when it is not.
Therapy: Treatment for a disease or condition.
Tissue typing: Identification of specific markers on cells in tissues and organs that will be transplanted. Some transplants succeed best if the donor and recipient have identical or closely related tissue types.
Traits: Stable, enduring attributes of individuals, such as eye color and also features of the personality.
Transgene: Gene from one species that was transferred to another and is functioning in the host organism.
Transplantation: Process of moving an organ or tissues from one individual to another.
Universal Declaration of Human Rights: Enumeration of rights to which all humans are entitled. Adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations, December 10, 1948.
UNOS: United Network for Organ Sharing. Organization that is legally responsible for finding and distributing organs for transplantation.
Vaccine: Shot or pill given to protect an individual against a disease that s/he does not yet have.
Vasectomy: Surgical removal of a portion of the vas deferens to produce infertility in a man.
Ventilator: Device used to help individuals breathe. A tube is inserted into the trachea, air is pumped into the lungs, and is sucked back into the machine. Ventilators are used both for short term and for long term therapy. Same as respirator.
Virulence: Capacity of viruses, bacteria, and other pathogens to cause disease.
Waiting list: Registry for those desiring a scarce commodity or service.
Weimar Republic: German government from 1919-1933.
Wild child: Child who grew up in the wild and was cared for by animals or lived on its own.
Xenotransplantation: "Foreign transplant." Organ or tissue transplantation from one species to another.
Zoonosis: Infection that has its origin in an animal species other than human.