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Appendix D: Glossary and Acronym List


Term Definition

conducting toward the center; for neurons, conducting nerve impulses toward the spinal cord and brain



total or partial loss of the ability to use or understand language; usually caused by stroke, brain disease, or injury


apraxia of speech

a speech disorder, also known as verbal apraxia or dyspraxia, in which a person has trouble speaking because of inability to execute a voluntary movement despite normal muscle function


assistive technologies

products, devices, or equipment that help maintain, increase, or improve the functional capabilities of people with disabilities


auditory nerve

eighth cranial nerve that connects the inner ear to the brainstem and is responsible for hearing and balance


auditory system

the outer, middle, and inner ear, along with the neurons and brain regions involved in hearing


autism spectrum disorders

a spectrum of developmental disorders that begin in early childhood and persists throughout adulthood; autism spectrum disorders affect three crucial areas of development: communication, social interaction, and creative or imaginative play



colonies of antibiotic-resistant bacteria that are present in the middle ears of most children with chronic ear infections



a specific physical trait or a measurable biologically produced change in the body connected with a disease or health condition


central auditory system

neural circuitry and brain regions involved in processing sound



the “feel” of a chemical; the term describes chemically provoked irritation


chemical senses

taste and smell; see “gustation” and “olfaction”



see “inner ear”


cochlear implant

a medical device that bypasses damaged structures in the inner ear and directly stimulates the auditory nerve, allowing some people who are deaf or HoH to learn to hear and interpret sounds and speech



the existence of one or more co-occurring disorders in addition to a primary disorder



conducting away from the center; for neurons, conducting outward from the spinal cord and brain


embryonic stem cells

cells that are derived from the inner cell mass of blastocyst stage embryos, are capable of dividing without differentiating for a prolonged period in culture, and are known to develop into cells and tissues of the three primary germ layers



the study of heritable changes caused by the activation and deactivation of genes without any change in the underlying DNA sequence of the organism


eustachian tube

a small passageway that connects the upper part of the throat to the middle ear; its job is to supply fresh air to the middle ear, drain fluid, and keep air pressure at a steady level between the nose and the ear


gene expression

the process by which the information encoded in a gene is used to direct the assembly of a protein molecule; different subsets of genes are expressed in different cell types or under different conditions



the study of particular genes, DNA, and heredity



the study of the genome (the entire genetic makeup) of an organism



tasting; the sensation produced by a stimulus applied to the gustatory nerve endings in the tongue


hair cells

sensory cells of the inner ear, which are topped with hair-like structures (stereocilia) and which transform the mechanical energy of sound waves into nerve impulses


hearing aid

an electronic device that brings amplified sound to the ear; it usually consists of a microphone, amplifier, and receiver



relating to a disease or disorder that arises spontaneously or without a known cause


induced pluripotent stem cells

a type of pluripotent stem cell, similar to an embryonic stem cell, formed by the introduction of certain embryonic genes into a somatic cell



a sub-discipline of biology and computer science concerned with the acquisition, storage, analysis, and dissemination of biological data (most often DNA and amino acid sequences) to determine gene and protein functions, establish evolutionary relationships, and predict the three-dimensional shapes of proteins


inner ear

part of the ear that contains both the organ of hearing (the cochlea) and the organ of balance (the labyrinth)



an organism that has been genetically engineered to lack one or more specific genes; scientists study knockout organisms to determine the impact of the missing gene(s) so as to understand the function of the missing gene(s)



valve structure between the trachea (windpipe) and the pharynx (the upper throat) that is the primary organ of voice production


Ménière’s disease

inner ear disorder that can affect both hearing and balance and causes a sensation of fullness in the ear along with episodes of vertigo, hearing loss, and tinnitus


model organism

animal species used in medical research to mimic aspects of a disease found in humans



a change in a DNA sequence that can result from DNA copying mistakes made during cell division, exposure to ionizing radiation, exposure to chemical mutagens, or infection by viruses


neural prostheses

devices such as the cochlear implant that substitute for an injured or diseased part of the nervous system



smell; to perceive odor or scent through stimuli affecting the olfactory nerves


otitis media

inflammation of the middle ear caused by infection



the development of a disease or condition, particularly the cellular and molecular origins and causes of disease development


peripheral auditory system

the components of the outer, middle, and inner ear involved in hearing



an individual’s physical and behavioral characteristics



one of two or more variants of a particular DNA sequence that can correlate with disease, drug response, and other phenotypes; the most common type of polymorphism involves variation at a single base pair (single nucleotide polymorphism) of DNA



the ability to sense the position, location, orientation, and movement of the body and its parts



the study of the relationship between physical stimulus and perception



inflammation of the mucous membranes of the nose, generally accompanied by discharge (runny nose) and usually caused by a virus infection (e.g., the common cold) or by an allergic reaction (e.g., hay fever)



inflammation or infection of one of the air-filled nasal sinuses


spasmodic dysphonia

momentary disruption of voice caused by involuntary movements of one or more muscles of the larynx


spiral ganglion

the group of nerve cells that serve the sense of hearing by sending a representation of sound from the cochlea to the brain; the cell bodies of the spiral ganglion neurons are found in the spiral structure of the cochlea



see “hair cells”


stria vascularis

specialized epithelium lining the cochlear duct that maintains the ion homeostasis of the fluid within the cochlea



a speech disorder in which sounds, syllables, or words are repeated or prolonged, disrupting the normal flow of speech



sensation of a ringing, roaring, or buzzing sound in the ears or head when no actual sound stimulus is present in the environment



the spatial arrangement of where sounds of different frequency are processed in the brain. For example – the auditory nerves that carry signals from adjacent portions of the cochlea project their information to adjacent portions of the auditory cortex



the process by which stimuli in the environment are converted into electrical (neural) signals by sensory receptors



having one or more DNA sequences from another species introduced by artificial means



illusion of movement; a sensation as if the external world were revolving around an individual (objective vertigo) or as if the individual were revolving in space (subjective vertigo)


vestibular system system in the body that is responsible for maintaining balance, posture, and the body’s orientation in space; this system also regulates locomotion and other movements and keeps objects in visual focus as the body moves


Acronymn List

Acronymn Definition
AAC Augmentative and Alternative Communication
ABI Auditory Brainstem Implant
ACC Autism Coordinating Committee
ARRA American Recovery and Reinvestment Act
ASD Autism Spectrum Disorder
Au.D. Doctor of Audiology
b-BSSR Basic Behavioral and Social Science Research
BCI Brain Computer Interface
BDNF Brain-Derived Neurotrophic Factor
BPPV Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo
CDC Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
DEA Division of Extramural Activities
DIR Division of Intramural Research
DNA Deoxyribonucleic Acid
DSP Division of Scientific Programs
FDA Food and Drug Administration
FOA Funding Opportunity Announcement
FPR Formyl Peptide Receptors
FY Fiscal Year
GENSAT Gene Expression Nervous System Atlas
HHS U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
HoH Hard of Hearing
HPP High Program Priority
IACC Interagency Autism Coordinating Committee
ICO Institutes, Centers, and Offices
iPSC Induced Pluripotent Stem Cell
KOMP NIH Knockout Mouse Project
M.D. Doctor of Medicine
NASA National Aeronautics and Space Administration
NCI National Cancer Institute
NDCD National Deafness and Other Communication Disorders
NHLBI National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute
NF2 Neurofibromatosis 2
NIA National Institute on Aging
NIAID National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases
NICHD Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development
NIDCD National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders
NIDCR National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research
NIDDK National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases
NIF Neuroscience Information Framework
NIH National Institutes of Health
NINDS National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
NINR National Institute of Nursing Research
NITRC Neuroimaging Informatics Tools and Resources Clearinghouse
OppNet Opportunity Network
OM Otitis Media
PPA Primary Progressive Aphasia
Ph.D. Doctor of Philosophy
PKD Polycystic Kidney Disease
Plan NIDCD Strategic Plan
RE Respiratory Epithelium
RFI Request for Information
SLI Specific Language Impairment
SPPB Science Policy and Planning Branch
T2R Type 2 Taste Receptors
TAAR Trace Amine-Associated Receptor
TRIOBP TRIO and F-actin Binding Protein
VA Department of Veterans Affairs

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Last Updated Date: 
June 22, 2016