Anti-Aging Words and Definitions

Written by MICANS, MS, PharmB, Philip A

To use an on-line medical dictionary, click here.

Acetylcholine (ACh)
a neurotransmitter which plays an important role in memory. It is used for control of sensory input signals and muscular control. ACh is a stimulatory neurotransmitter. When released by muscle nerves, it makes those muscles contract. It is made from the precursor nutrient choline and there is some evidence that increased dietary choline can increase production and use of acetylcholine. Also, many drugs affect the production and release of this neurotransmitter.

Age pigment
(see lipofuscin)

Alzheimer’s disease
also called SDAT (senile dementia Alzheimer’s type). This disease is characterized by a general loss of intellectual ability and impairment of memory, judgment and abstract thinking, as well as changes in personality. Other symptoms include loss of speech, disorientation and apathy. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia, rarely occurring before the age of 50. The disease takes from a few months to four or five years to progress to complete loss of intellectual function.

Amino acid
an organic acid containing an amine (ammonia-like) chemical group. Amino acids are put together by your body in highly specific ways to manufacture proteins.

a nutrient or chemical that reacts with and neutralizes free radicals or chemicals that release free radicals. Antioxidants are also called free radical scavengers. Vitamins A, C, E and some of the B vitamins, beta-carotene, selenium and some key enzymes in your body are all antioxidants. By intercepting the free radicals, antioxidants prevent them from damaging molecular structures such as your DNA (see free radicals).

is an agent that stimulates or increases the secretion from a gland.

is an agent that prevents or reduces the secretion from a gland.

(Adenosine Triphosphate), the universal energy molecule, created in the mitochondria of your cells using energy derived from the food you eat. All the cellular activities in your body use the energy released by splitting ATP.

means the dying or death, normally referring to a gland or organ.

is a condition of sudden muscular weakness or fatigue.

Central nervous system (CNS)
is the brain, spinal cord and their associated nerves.

Cerebrovascular insufficiency
an inadequate supply of blood to the brain because of a narrowing of the blood vessels which lead to, or are in various areas of the brain.

the parts of the nervous system that use acetylcholine as a neurotransmitter.

double stranded DNA helixes.

Cross linking
an oxidation reaction in which undesirable bonds form between nucleic acids (RNA and DNA) or between proteins (bit into an apple and watch it do yellow over time, this is protein cross linking).

the fine network of branches that extend from the body of a nerve, receiving impulses and carrying them into the center of the cell.

DHT (dihydrotestosterone)
a conversion of testosterone that is considered to be an aging bio-marker. Among its affects are the appearance of body-hair, the loss of scalp hair and the onset of prostate gland problems.

DMAE (demethylaminoethanol)
is found in small amounts in the brain and is known for its brain enhancing affects.

DNA (Deoxyribonucleic acid)
the genetic blueprint that resides in the nucleus of every cell of every living organism ever studied. Many researchers believe that free radicals damage to the DNA is directly involved in aging and cancer.

a neurotransmitter critical to fine motor coordination, immune function, motivation, insulin regulation, physical energy, thinking, short term memory, emotions such as sexual desire and autonomic nervous system balance.

the parts of the nervous system which use dopamine as a neurotransmitter.

Double blind
a type of scientific experiment in which neither the subjects nor the researchers know who is receiving an active substance and who is receiving a placebo. Researchers who do not know which subjects received the active substance then usually evaluate the data generated from the experiment. This type of experiment helps to eliminate personal bias from research.

Double-blind crossover
this is a study where at one point in the experiment all of the subjects switch from an active substance to a placebo or vice versa.

Endocrine System
is a term for a group of glands, specifically the pituitary, thyroid, thymus, pancreas, adrenal, testes and ovaries.

a unique class of drugs that have stimulatory properties.

Free Radical
a highly chemically reactive atom, molecule or molecular fragment with a free or unpaired electron. Free radicals are produced in many different ways such as, normal metabolic processes, ultraviolet radiation from the sun, nuclear radiation and the breakdown in the body of spoiled fats. Free radicals have been implicated in aging, cancer, cardiovascular disease and other kinds of damage to the body, (see antioxidants).

Free-Radical Scavenger the cascade of chemical reactions that occurs when a free radical reacts with another molecule in order to gain an electron. The molecule that loses an electron to the free radical then becomes a free radical, repeating the process until the energy of the free radical is spent, or the reaction is stopped by an antioxidant. In biological systems, this cascade can damage important molecules like DNA.

GABA (gamma aminobutyric acid)
an amino acid which acts as an inhibitory neurotransmitter.

Growth Hormone (GH)
a hormone secreted by the pituitary gland. GH stimulates growth and repair of the body as well as the activities of the immune system. With age, GH release diminishes (also known as hGH or human growth hormone).

an area of the brain believed responsible for memory and personality.

is Latin for a “chemical messenger,” such as growth hormone, testosterone or insulin.

a condition that means “someone who sleeps too much.”

a condition that means “someone who sleeps very little” (like an insomniac).

an area of the brain that is believed to be the command center for instructions to the endocrine system.

a condition of lowered oxygen levels in the blood. Hypoxia promotes free radical activity in the body.

tissue which has died due to a lack of oxygen resulting from a blood clot or blocking of an artery.

Inhibitory neurotransmitter
a neurotransmitter which decreases the electrochemical activity of neurons. GABA and serotonin are inhibitory neurotransmitters.

a change in neural function as a consequence of experience.

the brown waste material deposited in skin and nerve cells that is commonly called “age spots.” Lipofuscin is made of free radical damaged proteins and fats.

Liver spots
deposits of lipofuscin in the skin.

structures in cells that act as power plants.

Monoamine oxidase (MAO)
an enzyme which, in the brain, breaks down certain neurotransmitters such as serotonin and dopamine

is a condition when someone is often sleeping in the daytime.

a cell which carries information to and from the central nervous system.

Nerve growth factor (NGF)
a naturally occurring hormone that stimulates the growth of neurones.

the tiny projections growing from each nerve cell which carries information between the cells. A nerve cell may have over 100,000 neurites growing out of it; each connected to another nerve cell.

a chemical that naturally occurs in the nervous system and plays a part in its functioning.

a nerve cell.

one of the many chemicals that carry impulses between nerve cells.

is the active part of vitamin B3.

a word coined by Dr. Giurgea to describe a new class of drugs that act as cognitive enhancers with no side effects or toxicity, from the Greek words noos, meaning mind and tropein, meaning toward.

a chemical reaction in which an electron is taken from a molecule of the oxidized substance.

the gland responsible for insulin production.

Parkinson’s disease
a chronic disease of the central nervous system caused by lowered levels of the inhibitory neurotransmitter dopamine. Symptoms include muscular tremors and weakness.

Pituitary gland
a gland at the base of the brain. The pituitary secretes several different hormones involved in key metabolic processes.

an inert compound usually given to a portion of the subjects in a scientific experiment, in order to distinguish the psychological effects of the experiment from the physiological effects of the drug being tested.

a chemical that can be converted by the body into another is a precursor of the latter chemical.

the grandmother steroid hormone produced in the mitochondria that is the base “raw-material” for all the steroids and neuro-steroids.

sites on the outside of cells where particular messenger molecules such as hormones can attach. This attachment to the receptor site causes corresponding changes inside the cell.

the regrowth of cells, tissues, organs or limbs.

ribonucleic acid, which carries instructions from DNA in the nucleus to cell polyribosomes, where proteins are, made according to the RNA instructions.

the aging related loss of mental faculties.

the reduction and decline of a gland’s output over age.

an inhibitory neurotransmitter required for sleep.

a rupture in a blood vessel in the brain, often with disastrous effects depending on where the rupture occurs.

Superoxide dismutase (SOD)
a zinc and copper or manganese containing enzyme which reacts with superoxide radicals to convert them to less dangerous chemical entities.

Superoxide radical
a free radical thought to play a central role in arthritis and cataract formation.

the gap between nerve cells.

when compounds are combined and their effects are more than the sum of their individual effects; the compounds are said to have positive synergy. Many of the nootropic compounds have positive synergy effects with each other, they become synergistic.

throughout the entire body.

poisonous, everything, including water and oxygen is toxic in sufficiently high doses.

the master gland of the immune system located behind the breastbone.

the gland located in the center of the brain responsible (amongst other things) for temperature regulation.

a class of fats found in the bloodstream.