Glossary try the best to avoid the use of medical terms that could make it more difficult to understand the information on this website. Still, there are a number of terms that can't be avoided and that are useful to know because they are so often used by the doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals with whom you might speak. The list below includes the terms used on for which we have provided definitions.

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Term Definition
Bite cells

Abnormally-shaped red blood cells with one or more semicircular portions removed from the cell margin, appearing as though the cells have had "bite" or "bites." The "bites" result from the removal of hemoglobin with an altered structure (denatured) by special cells (macrophages) in the spleen. G6PD deficiency is a common disorder that leads to the formation of bite cells, which can be seen in a stained blood smear.


Immature or primitive cell; precursor cell


A basal body especially of a flagellated cell.


Also known as: Vesicle

A small raised area of the outer layer of the skin filled with a watery liquid


Also known as: Furuncle

A painful, inflamed area of skin with a defined border, collection of pus and a hard central core usually caused by a bacterial infection of a hair follicle and surrounding tissue

Bone Marrow

Specialized soft tissue found within bone. Red bone marrow, widespread in the bones of children and found in some adult bones (e.g., pelvis, spine, ribs), is essential for the formation of mature red blood cells. Fat-laden yellow bone marrow, more common in adults, is found primarily at the ends of long bones.


In genetics, the particular sites of disruption when chromosomes break (and recombine)

Brittle diabetes

Describes diabetes that is difficult to control, with frequent swings in blood glucose levels between very high and very low

Broad-spectrum Antibiotic Therapy

Treatment with one or more drugs that is effective against a wide variety of bacteria


A condition in which the airways are stretched and/or widened that can be caused by recurrent inflammation or infection of the airways and results in symptoms such as bluish skin, coughing and wheezing, and shortness of breath


The smaller airway passages/branches of the lower respiratory tract


Also known as: Croup

Inflamed bronchioles, the smaller airway passages/branches of the lower respiratory tract


Also known as: Bronchi (plural)

One of the two main branches of the windpipe (trachea) that lead directly to the lungs


Hardening of tissue resulting from the formation of calcium salts


To adjust the output or reading from a testing device to assure that it gives a correct answer; the adjustment is based on measurement of one or more known substances called standards (or calibrators).