Glossary


A glossary of terms related to Optic Nerve Hypoplasia


ACTH
- A pituitary hormone that tells the adrenal gland to make cortisol.

ADH (Anti-Diuretic Hormone) - A pituitary hormone which keeps water in the body by controlling the amount of urine (pee) that is made.

Adolescence - The teenage years, when the child is becoming an adult physically and mentally.

Adrenal Glands - Two glands that sit on top of the kidneys and make several hormones, including cortisol.

Axon - Another name for nerve fibers.

Blood Sugar Meter - A machine that is used to test blood sugar levels.

Bone Age X-Ray - Bone age refers to the stage of development or maturity of the bones. In most children, bone age will be about the same as actual (chronological) age, but in some children it may be advanced (ahead) or delayed (behind). Bone age is measured by taking an X-ray, usually of the hand and wrist (or half of the body if a child is less than 2 years old) and then the bones are
compared to standards for boys and girls of different ages.

Computerized Tomography (CT Scan) - A type of X-ray picture. The patient lies on a table that moves. There are clicking sounds while the pictures are being taken.

Convulsion - A strong spasm or series of twitches of the face, body, arms or legs.

Corpus Callosum - The connection between the two halves of the brain.

Cortisol - A hormone made by the adrenal glands after activation by the pituitary hormone, ACTH; Cortisol is needed to survive physical stress; maintain normal fluid, electrolyte, and blood sugar levels; and to maintain an energy supply.

Cortisol Stimulating Test - A test that measures how much cortisol is made by the adrenal glands in response to ACTH.

Cyst - An abnormal sac containing liquid.

DDAVP - A medicine that is used when a child does not make enough Anti-Diuretic Hormone; it is given in the nose, by mouth, and by injection.

Dehydration - Not enough water in the body.

De Morsier's Syndrome - A syndrome in children with Optic Nerve Hypoplasia who have problems with the formation of the septum pellucidum.

Developmental Assessment - A test of how a child is developing in the areas of thinking, speaking, deciding things, using big and small muscles, learning, performing in school, and functioning at home and in the community.

Early Intervention Program - A program geared for children under the age of 5 to provide help in the development of language, motor skills and socialization.

Endocrinologist (Pediatric) - A doctor who specializes in treating children's hormones and growth problems involving the endocrine system (glands).

Estrogen - Hormones that are made by ovaries in women and cause female sexual characteristics and control the menstrual (period) cycle and the ability to have a baby.

Fine Motor - Involving hand movements, such as writing and drawing.

FSH (Follocle Stimulating Hormone) - A hormone made by the pituitary gland. In women, it causes the development of eggs and the release of estrogen. In men, it helps produce sperm.

Gonadotropins - A hormone which causes gonadal growth (testes in males and ovaries in females).

Gross Motor - Movement of arms, legs and larger muscles (e.g., crawling, walking, and running).

Growth Hormone - A pituitary hormone which causes physical growth.

Growth Hormone Stimulation Test - This test measures the ability of the pituitary gland to make growth hormone.

Hemispheres - The two halves of the brain.

Hormones - A chemical substance made in a gland and carried in the blood to cause an organ to work; hormones act as "messengers" to control growth, reproduction, and body metabolism.

Hypoglycemia - An abnormally small amount of glucose (sugar) in the blood.

Hypopituitarism - A condition in which the pituitary gland does not make needed hormones.

Hypothyroid - Not enough thyroid hormone.

IGF-1 (Somatomedin C) and IGBPs - Growth factors that can measure in the blood to screen for growth hormone deficiency.

LH (Leutinizing Hormone) - A hormone that causes the release of sex hormones.

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) - Special pictures of the inside of the body. Like the CT Scan, the patient needs to lie still on a table. The table moves so that the patient's entire body is in the tunnel of the magnet. The machine makes grinding noises while the pictures are taken.

Menstrual Cycle - Female reproductive cycle starting at puberty; involve the build-up of the lining of the uterus (womb) for conception, followed by shedding of this lining (menstrual period) if conception does not occur.

Metabolism - The process by which substances needed for life are made and are broken down.

Nerve Fibers - Pathways for impulses between nerve centers and body parts.

Neurologic Tests - Tests used to reveal problems in the workings of the nervous system.

Neurologist - A specialist in the diagnosis and treatment of the disorders of the brain and spinal cord.

Nystagmus - Rapid, involuntary to-and-fro shaking movements of the eyes.

Ophthalmologist - A medical doctor specializing in the eye and it's diseases.

Optic Disc - The front surface of the optic nerve that can be seen inside the eye with special instruments.

Optic Nerve Hypoplasia - A disease with poor formation of the optic nerves prior to birth. It can cause poor vision as well as other medical and developmental complications.

Ovaries - Females reproductive organs located in the lower abdomen on either side of the uterus
(womb); they have eggs and make hormones that control sexual development and reproduction.

Pituitary Gland - The "master" gland that sits under the brain and makes hormones, most of which activate other glands to make hormones.

Progesterone - A female hormone that makes the uterus (womb) ready to accept a fertilized egg
(developing baby).

Prolactin - A hormone made by the pituitary gland; children with Optic Nerve Hypoplasia often have abnormal levels of this hormone in their blood.

Psychologist - An expert in assessing overall development (including thinking, speaking, memory, reasoning skills, learning, socialization and school achievement). A psychologist can also help to understand and cope with different feelings related to illnesses, hospitalization, and treatment as well as help a child manage inappropriate behaviors.

Puberty - The stage of growth when the reproductive organs start to work, the person matures and develops adult sexual characteristics.

Radiologist - A physician trained in the use of x-rays and other ways to view into the body (imaging).

Reproduce - To make children.

Septo-Optic Dysplasia - A syndrome in children with Optic Nerve Hypoplasia who have a problem with the formation of the septum pellucidum.

Septum Pellucidum - A thin wall of brain tissue which divides the ventricles.

Sexual Development - When a child begins to form the characteristics of an adult male or female.

Social Worker - A professional who works with children and their families to help them understand and adjust to hospitalizations and long-term illness. The social worker provides counseling, help in getting financial assistance when needed as well as information about community resources.

Supplemental Security Insurance (SSI) - Federal program which gives
money to families to help care for children with disabilities who have low incomes.


This glossary of terms related to Optic Nerve Hypoplasia was taken from the general information pamphlet for parents available from Focus Families, the only support group specifically for families of children with Optic Nerve Hypoplasia with the kind and gracious permission of Cindy Rose, Listserv Moderator.