Glossary of terms used on this site

Reference: Wikipedia (www.wikipedia.com

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Term Definition
Executive function

examines semantic fluency, drawing lines to connect a sequence of letters and numbers).

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Flavonoids

represent a structurally diverse group of polyphenolic, bioactive compounds found in many commonly consumed foods. Particularly fruits and vegetables, such as blueberries, apples, spinach and onions are considered rich sources of flavonoids but also beverages such as red wine and tea (see polyphenols).

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Frailty

is a clinical syndrome characterized by an age-related decline of multiple physiological functions leading to a higher vulnerability to even minimal stressors.

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Global cognition

assesses orientation, attention, language and memory of individuals.

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Glomerular filtration rate

Glomerular filtration rate (GFR) is a test used to check how well the kidneys are working. Specifically, it estimates how much blood passes through the glomeruli each minute. Glomeruli are the tiny filters in the kidneys that filter waste from the blood.

Source: https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/007305.htm

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Gut microbiota

is the name for the microbe population living in the human intestine.

The human gut microbiota contains tens of trillions of microorganisms, including at least 1000 different species of known bacteria with more than 3 million genes. Microbiota can, in total, weigh up to 2 kg. One third of the gut microbiota is common to most individuals, while two thirds are specific to each person. The microbiota in each intestine can therefore be considered as an individual’s identity card.

The gut microbiota:

  • helps the body to digest certain foods that the stomach and small intestine have not been able to digest;
  • helps with the production of some vitamins (B and K);
  • helps to combat aggressions from other microorganisms, maintaining the wholeness of the intestinal mucosa;
  • plays an important role in the immune system, performing a barrier effect;
  • is key to ensuring proper digestive functioning when healthy and balanced
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Heart rate variability

variation in the time interval between heart beats.

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Hemostasis

is the stoppage of bleeding or hemorrhage. It refers also to the stoppage of blood flow through a blood vessel or organ of the body.

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Hyperoxia

refers to an excess of oxygen in tissues and organs, it causes blood vessels to constrict and acutely increases arterial stiffness.

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Inflammation

is a type of nonspecific immune response that defends the body against the constant threat of microorganisms and chemical substances from the environment. All components of the gut participate in the intestinal immune response. The exchange of regulatory signals via the production of immune mediators (such as cytokines, growth factors, etc.) facilitates and amplifies cell interactions and/or activates inflammation. These mediators play an important role in the modulation of the intestinal immune system. Chronic intestinal inflammation primarily involves a dysfunction of the intestinal mucosa and an overproduction of the pro-inflammatory mediators.

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Insulin resistance

is a condition in which the body produces insulin but does not use it properly.Insulin, a hormone made by the pancreas, helps the body use glucose for energy. Glucose is a form of sugar that is the body’s main source of energy. The body’s digestive system breaks food down into glucose, which then travels in the bloodstream to cells throughout the body. Glucose in the blood is called blood glucose, also known as blood sugar. As the blood glucose level rises after a meal, the pancreas releases insulin to help cells take in and use the glucose. When individuals are insulin resistant, their muscle, fat, and liver cells do not respond properly to insulin. As a result, their bodies need more insulin to help glucose enter cells. The pancreas tries to keep up with this increased demand for insulin by producing more. Eventually, the pancreas fails to keep up with the body’s need for insulin. Excess glucose builds up in the bloodstream, setting the stage for diabetes. Many people with insulin resistance have high levels of both glucose and insulin circulating in their blood at the same time. Insulin resistance increases the chance of developing type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

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Intervention studies

are considered to provide the most reliable evidence in epidemiological research.  Intervention studies are conducted to evaluate whether an agent (i.e. moderate consumption of alcoholic beverages in the meta-analysis above) or procedure reduces the risk of developing a particular disease among individuals free from that disease at the beginning of the trial. In intervention trials, investigators apply treatments to individuals and then proceed to observe the effect of the treatments on the individuals (see observational studies).

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interventional studies

or clinical studies. Those studies designed to analyse the cause-effect relation examining the effect of the introduction or modification of certain elements (either medical or behavioural) in a group.

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Lay epidemiology

compromises knowledge and beliefs about health and causation of disease which are constructed primarily from subjective experience, observation of family and social networks and media sources. This contrasts with standard epidemiology which claims an objective understanding of the causes of diseases based on statistical evidence. 

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Liver fibrosis

is the scarring process that represents the liver’s response to injury. In the same way as skin and other organs heal wounds through deposition of collagen and other matrix constituents, repairs the liver injury by depositing new collagen. Over time, this process can result in liver cirrhosis, where the blood flow through the liver and liver function become disrupted. 

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