Glossary of Terms

Antibody: An antibody is a protein that is made by the immune system to target foreign materials. When a foreign substance such as bacteria or viruses are identifed by the body, antibodies are produced. Antibodies recognize unique parts of the foreign materials, called antigens.

Autoantibody: An autoantibody is a protein made by the immune system that mistakenly targets the body's own tissues or organs. In diabetes studies several autoantibodies may be looked for including antibodies against insulin (mIAA), GAD, ICA-512, islets (ICA), and ZnT8.

Autoimmunity: The immune system protects and defends the body against infection and diseases. It identifies, attacks, and kills germs and other foreign substances in the body. The immune system may sometimes make a mistake and attacks the body’s own organs and tissues. When this is happens it is called autoimmunity. Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease in which the immune system destroys the cells in the pancreas that make insulin.

Hemoglobin A1c test (HbA1c): This test measures the average blood sugars over the prior 2 to 3 months.

Informed consent: Informed consent is a process by which the risks, benefits, and consequences of an action, treatment or activity are reviewed and a decision is made whether to proceed with that action, treatment or activity. In the context of participation in a research study, informed consent is the process of understanding what will happen during the course of the study, what the risks are involved in participating, what if any are the potential benefits of participating so that one can make a decision as to participate or not. This information may be contained in an informed consent document.

Oral Glucose Tolerance Test (OGTT): An oral glucose tolerance test is a tool used to measure how the body responds to a large glucose (sugar) load and can be used to diagnose diabetes or abnormalities in glucose handling that may precede diabetes. The test involves measuring a person’s blood sugar levels before and periodically after drinking a sugary drink after an overnight fast.

Type 1 diabetes: Previously referred to as juvenile diabetes or insulin-dependent diabetes (those terms are no longer used by physicians as they may be mischatergorized individuals based upon etiology), type 1 diabetes is a chronic condition in which the pancreas does not produce sufficient insulin to adequately control blood sugars. Insulin is a hormone in the body that allows sugar (glucose) to enter cells to be used as fuel. Type 1 diabetes is generally an autoimmune disease where the immune system mistakenly attacks the cells that produce insulin.

Type 2 diabetes: Previously referred to as adult-onset or noninsulin-dependent diabetes, type 2 diabetes is a chronic condition that affects the way the body metabolizes sugar (glucose). Persons with type 2 diabetes are resistant to insulin and are unable to make enough insulin to overcome this resistance. This leads to high blood sugars as the sugar is unable to enter the cells of the body to be utilized.