//Glossary of Terms & Acronyms
Glossary of Terms & Acronyms 2017-10-16T13:19:18+00:00


  • ADD/H
    Attention Deficit Disorder with hyperactivity
  • ADD/WO
    Attention Deficit Disorder without hyperactivity
  • ADHD
    Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
  • ASD
    Autism Spectrum Disorder
  • CAS
    Childhood Apraxia of Speech
  • CAS
    Children’s Aid Society
  • CBD
    Childhood Bipolar Disorder
  • CCAS
    Catholic Children’s Aid Society
  • CDD
    Childhood Disintegrative Disorder
  • CEBV
    Chronic Epstein-Barr Virus
    Chronic Fatigue Immune Dysfunction Syndrome
  • CFS
    Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
  • CMI
    Chronic Multi-symptom Illness
  • DSM-V
    Diagnostic & Statistical Manual of Mental Illness, 5th Edition
  • GDD
    Global Development Delay
  • GMOs
    Genetically Modified Organisms
  • GWS
    Gulf War Syndrome
  • HBOT
    Hyperbaric oxygen therapy
    Hamilton Neuro Immune Treatment Centre of Excellence
  • ME
    Myalgic Encephalomyelitis
  • OCD
    Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
  • ODD
    Oppositional Defiant Disorder
    Pervasive Developmental Disorder-Not Otherwise Specified
  • QEEG
    Quantitative electroencephalography


Antipsychotic medications
Also known as Psychotropic medications, antipsychotic medications are frequently used to treat challenging behaviour in children with intellectual disabilities, despite a lack of evidence for their efficacy.  Side effects include headaches, nausea, vomiting, excessive weight gain and seizures.

Asperger Syndrome
Asperger Syndrome is one of several previously separate subtypes of autism that were folded into the single diagnosis Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) with the publication of the DSM-5 in 2013.  It was generally considered to be a “higher functioning” type of autism.

Attention Deficit Disorder with Hyperactivity (ADD/H)
ADHD where hyperactivity and impulsivity are the predominant symptoms.

Attention Deficit Disorder without Hyperactivity (ADD/WO)
ADHD of the predominantly inattentive type.

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)
A collection of symptoms that, in most cases, have been mistakenly viewed and treated as a neurodevelopmental disorder. Genetic analyisis has attributed a small number of autism cases to mutations in genes involved in epigenetic regulation but research now shows that most cases of autism are the result of immune dysfunction, which is caused by environmental insults to genetically sensitive individuals during a critical period of development.

Autoimmune Encephalitis (AE)
Autoimmune Encephalitis is a diverse group of neuro-psychiatric disorders recognized recently, presenting acutely or subacutely with alteration of consciousness, cognitive decline, seizure and abnormal movements.

Childhood Bipolar Disorder (CBD)
CBD Is also known as pediatric bipolar disorder, manic-depressive illness or manic depression.  In the latest version of the Diagnostic & Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), it is referred to as Disruptive Mood Dysregulation Disorder.  CBD is characterized by abrupt mood swings, periods of hyperactivity followed by lethargy, intense temper tantrums, frustration and defiant behavior. Mood swings are extreme and are accompanied by changes in sleep, energy level, and the ability to think clearly.

Childhood Disintegrative Disorder (CDD)
also known as Heller’s syndrome and disintegrative psychosis, is a rare condition characterized by late onset of developmental delays or stunning reversals in languagesocial function, and motor skills. In 2013 CDD, along with other types of autism, was fused into a single diagnostic term called “autism spectrum disorder” under the new DSM-5 manual. A period of fairly normal development is often noted before a regression in skills or a series of regressions in skills. The age at which this regression can occur varies, but typically after 3 years of normal development. The regression can be so dramatic that the child may be aware of it, and may in its beginning even ask, vocally, what is happening to them.

Chronic Epstein-Barr Virus (CEBV)
A ubiquitous virus that infects at least 95% of the population. Most people are infected during infancy and early childhood and are asymptomatic or have nonspecific symptoms.  Infection of adolescents and young adults with EBV often results in infectious mononucleosis with fever, lymphadenopathy, sore throat, and splenomegaly. Additional signs and symptoms can include fatigue, headache, hepatomegaly, and rash. CEBV is also associated with a number of malignancies including Hodgkin’s disease, B cell lymphomas, and nasopharyngeal carcinoma.

Chronic Fatigue Immune Dysfunction Syndrome (CFIDS)
CFIDS, also known as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) and Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME), is a disabling condition often affecting the central nervous system, brain, blood, muscles, joints, GI tract and lymph system. Symptoms include disabling fatigue which is not significantly helped by rest, orthostatic intolerance (inability to stand for periods of time), muscle weakness and pain, joint pain, sleep disturbances and un-refreshing sleep, cognitive problems including memory loss and difficulty concentrating, gastro-intestinal problems, headache, fevers and swollen lymph nodes.

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)
Also known as Chronic Fatigue Immune Dysfunction Syndrome (CFIDS) and Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME), CFS is a disabling condition often affecting the central nervous system, brain, blood, muscles, joints, GI tract and lymph system. Symptoms include disabling fatigue which is not significantly helped by rest, orthostatic intolerance (inability to stand for periods of time), muscle weakness and pain, joint pain, sleep disturbances and un-refreshing sleep, cognitive problems including memory loss and difficulty concentrating, gastro-intestinal problems, headache, fevers and swollen lymph nodes.

Chronic Multi-Symptom Illness (CMI)
CMI is characterized by regional and organ-specific symptoms and syndromes that often accompany fibromyalgia.  Researchers define CMI as the presence, for 6 months or longer, of one or more symptoms from at least two of the following clusters: general fatigue, mood and cognitive abnormalities, and musculoskeletal pain.  CMI is very difficult to diagnose because there is an overlap of different syndromes such as fibromyalgia, exposure Syndromes such as Gulf War Illnesses, Sick Building Syndrome, Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS), Somatoform Disorders (multiple unexplained symptoms with no organic findings), Symptomatic Arthralgias, Dyspepsia and Metabolic Syndromes.

Depression is increasingly recognized as a problem rooted in chronic inflammation. It is a result of the body’s attempts to protect itself from an inflammatory response, and involves hormones and neurotransmitters. During inflammatory states, brain cells called microglia are activated. Recent research now focuses on an errant immune system causing inflammation in the body and altering mood.

A disease in which the functioning of the brain is affected by some agent or condition (such as viral infection or toxins in the blood).

An outbreak of disease that spreads quickly and affects many individuals at the same time.

A  disorder that is characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain accompanied by fatigue, sleep, memory and mood issues.

Genetically Modified Organisms
Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) are organisms whose genome has been engineered in the laboratory in order to favour the expression of desired physiological traits or the production of desired biological products. The World Health Organization (WHO) cannot confirm that genetically modified foods are safe. The WHO states: “Different GM organisms include different genes inserted in different ways. This means that individual GM foods and their safety should be assessed on a case-by-case basis and that it is not possible to make general statements on the safety of all GM foods.” Allergenicity is a major concern with regards to human health.

Global Development Delay (GDD)
A term used to describe a condition that occurs during the developmental period of a child between birth and 18 years. It is usually defined by the child being diagnosed with having a lower intellectual functioning than what is perceived as ‘normal’.  Common signs of global developmental delay include delayed acquisition of milestones (e.g. sitting up, crawling, walking), limited reasoning or conceptual abilities, poor social skills and judgement, aggressive behaviour as a coping skill, and communication difficulties.  Global developmental delay has many causes which affect the functioning of the central nervous system. Causes can be genetic (e.g. Fragile X syndrome), or metabolic (e.g. PKU), prenatal (e.g. rubella or birth trauma) or perinatal (e.g. prematurity or the result of a childhood injury or infection).

Gulf War Syndrome (GWS)
Also known as Gulf War illnesses (GWI) and Chronic Multi-Symptom Illness (CMI), GWS is a chronic and multi-symptomatic disorder affecting returning military veterans and civilian workers of the 1990–91 Gulf War. A wide range of acute and chronic symptoms have been linked to it including fatiguemuscle paincognitive problems, rashes and diarrhea. From 1995 to 2005, the health of combat veterans worsened in comparison with non-deployed veterans, with the onset of more new chronic diseases, functional impairment, chronic fatigue syndrome-like illnessposttraumatic stress disorder, and greater persistence of adverse health incidents.  Suggested causes of GWS include depleted uranium, sarin (nerve gas), smoke from burning oil wells, vaccinations, combat stress and psychological factors.

The Herxheimer Reaction
The Herxheimer Reaction is a short-term (from days to a few weeks) detoxification reaction in the body. The Herxheimer Reaction is an immune system reaction to the toxins (endotoxins) that are released when large amounts of pathogens are being killed off, and the body does not eliminate the toxins quickly enough.

Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT)
HBOT is the medical use of oxygen at an ambient pressure higher than atmospheric pressure, and therapeutic recompression for decompression illness.  A number of hyperbaric treatment schedules have been published over the years for both therapeutic recompression and hyperbaric oxygen therapy for other conditions but evidence is insufficient to support its use in autismcancerdiabetesHIV/AIDSAlzheimer’s diseaseasthma, Bell’s palsy, cerebral palsy, depression, heart disease, migraines, multiple sclerosisParkinson’s disease, spinal cord injury, sports injuries, or stroke.  Possible symptoms or side effects after HBOT can include fatigue and lightheadedness. More severe problems can include lung damage, fluid buildup or bursting (rupture) of the middle ear, sinus damage, changes in vision (causing nearsightedness or myopia) or oxygen poisoning (which can cause lung failure, fluid in the lungs, or seizures).

Intravenous Immunoglobulin Therapy (IVIG)
Immunoglobulin therapy is especially useful in some acute infection cases such as pediatric HIV infection and is also considered the standard of treatment for some autoimmune disorders such as Guillain–Barré syndrome. The high demand, coupled with the difficulty of producing immunoglobulin in large quantities has resulted in increasing global shortages, usage limitations and rationing of immunoglobulin. Depending on the formulation it can be given by injection into muscle, a vein, or under the skin. The effects last a few weeks. Common side effects include pain at the site of injection, muscle pain, and allergic reactions. Other severe side effects include kidney problems, anaphylaxis, blood clots, and red blood cell breakdown. Use is not recommended in people with some types of IgA deficiency.

Immune System
The immune system is a host defense system comprising many biological structures and processes within an organism that protects against disease. To function properly, an immune system must detect a wide variety of agents, known as pathogens, from viruses to parasitic worms, and distinguish them from the organism’s own healthy tissue. The immune system can be classified into subsystems, such as the innate immune system and the adaptive immune system. In humans, the blood–brain barrierblood–cerebrospinal fluid barrier, and similar fluid–brain barriers separate the peripheral immune system from the neuro-immune system, which protects the brain.

Also known as The Human Microbiome or the Intestinal Microbiota, the Microbiome is comprised of the trillions of bacteria that live in our digestive tract.  The symbiotic relationship between a host and its microbiota shapes the immune system. In many animals, the immune system and microbiota engage in “cross-talk”, exchanging chemical signals. This allows the immune system to recognize the types of bacteria that are harmful to the host and combat them, while allowing the helpful bacteria to carry out their functions. As the infant microbiome becomes established, bacteria populate the gut and “program” the immune system. The bacteria are able to stimulate lymphoid tissue associated with the gut mucosa, which enables the tissue to produce antibodies for pathogens that may enter the gut.

Microglia are a type of neuroglia (glial cell) located throughout the brain and spinal cord. Microglia account for 10–15% of all cells found within the brain. As the resident macrophage cells, they act as the first and main form of active immune defense in the central nervous system (CNS).

Microglial Activation
When a brain insult is detected by microglial cells, they launch a specific program that results in the gradual transformation of resting, ramified microglia into an ameboid form (a form which moves and changes shape). This process is generally referred to as ‘microglial activation’ and proceeds through several steps. During the first stage of microglial activation resting microglia retract their processes, which become fewer and much thicker, increase the size of their cell bodies, change the expression of various enzymes and receptors, and begin to produce immune response molecules.

Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS)
MCS is a chronic, recurring disease caused by a person’s inability to tolerate an environmental chemical or class of foreign chemicals. MCS causes negative health effects in multiple organ systems. Respiratory distress, seizures, cognitive dysfunction, heart arrhythmia, nausea, headache, and fatigue can result from exposure to levels of common chemicals that are normally deemed as safe.

Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME)
Also known as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) and Chronic Fatigue Immune Dysfunction Syndrome (CFIDS), ME is a disabling condition often affecting the central nervous system, brain, blood, muscles, joints, GI tract and lymph system. Symptoms include disabling fatigue which is not significantly helped by rest, orthostatic intolerance (inability to stand for periods of time), muscle weakness and pain, joint pain, sleep disturbances and un-refreshing sleep, cognitive problems including memory loss and difficulty concentrating, gastro-intestinal problems, headache, fevers and swollen lymph nodes.

Neuroglia, also called glial cells, are non-neuronal cells that maintain homeostasis, form myelin, and provide support and protection for neurons in the central and peripheral nervous systems.

Neuro-Immune Dysfunction
The term neuro-immune dysfunction refers to a group of complex multi-symptom diseases characterized by acquired dysregulation of both the immune system and the nervous system. These diseases most often follow an infectious or flu-like illness and may result in lifelong disease and disability. Included in this definition are similarly presenting conditions such as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (CFS/ME), Chronic Fatigue Immune Dysfunction Syndrome (CFIDS), fibromyalgia, post-Lyme disease, Gulf War illness and some cases of Autism Spectrum Disorder.

Neuro-Immune System
The neuro-immune system is a system of structures and processes involving the biochemical and electrophysiological interactions between the nervous system and immune system which protect neurons from pathogens. It serves to protect neurons against disease by maintaining selectively permeable barriers (e.g., the blood–brain barrier and blood–cerebrospinal fluid barrier), mediating neuro-inflammation and wound healing in damaged neurons, and mobilizing host defenses against pathogens.

Neurotoxins are toxins that are poisonous or destructive to nerve tissue causing neurotoxicity, or toxicity in the nervous system. Neurotoxins are an extensive class of exogenous chemical neurological insults that can adversely affect function in both developing and mature nervous tissue.   Common examples of neurotoxins include leadethanol (drinking alcohol), manganese, glutamate, nitric oxide, botulinum toxin (e.g. Botox) and tetanus toxin.

Neurofeedback (NFB)
NFB, also called neurotherapy or neurobiofeedback, is a type of biofeedback that measures brain waves to produce a signal that can be used as feedback to teach self-regulation of brain function.  Neurofeedback is commonly provided using video or sound, with positive feedback for desired brain activity and negative feedback for brain activity that is undesirable. It has been argued there is some indication on the effectiveness of biofeedback for ADHD but that it is not conclusive.   Several studies have yielded positive results but the best designed ones have either shown absent or reduced effects.

Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)
OCD is a disorder in which a person has uncontrollable, reoccurring thoughts (obsessions) and behaviors (compulsions) that he or she feels the urge to repeat over and over.

Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD)
ODD is a childhood disorder that is defined by a pattern of hostile, disobedient, and defiant behaviors directed at adults or other authority figures. ODD is also characterized by children displaying angry and irritable moods, as well as argumentative and vindictive behaviors.

PANDAS (Pediatric Autoimmune Neuropsychiatric Disorders Associated with Streptococcus)
PANDAS occurs when the streptococcus bacteria triggers a misdirected immune response and results in inflammation on a child’s brain. In turn, the child quickly begins to develop symptoms such as OCD, anxiety, tics, personality changes, restrictive eating, emotional lability and/or depression, irritability, aggression and/or severely oppositional behaviors, developmental regression, deterioration in school performance, sensory or motor abnormalities, sleep disturbances and more.

PANS (Pediatric Acute-onset Neuropsychiatric Syndrome)
PANS develops when an infectious trigger, environmental factors, and other possible triggers create a misdirected immune response and results in inflammation on a child’s brain. In turn, the child quickly begins to exhibit life changing symptoms such as OCD, severe restrictive eating, anxiety, tics, personality changes, decline in math and handwriting abilities, sensory sensitivities, and more.

An epidemic of infectious disease that has spread through human populations across a large region; for instance, multiple continents, or even worldwide.

Pervasive Developmental Disorder-Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS)
PDD-NOS became the diagnosis applied to children or adults who are on the autism spectrum but do not fully meet the criteria for another ASD, such as autistic disorder or Asperger Syndrome.

A collection of symptoms that reflects how a disease or illness presents but does not tell you the cause of the disease.

Psychosomatic Disorder
Psychosomatic Disorder, also called Psychophysiological Disorder, is a condition in which psychological stresses adversely affect physiological (somatic) functioning to the point of distress. It is caused by or notably influenced by emotional factors.

Quantitative Electroencephalogram (qEEG)
A qEEG is a test that analyzes the electrical activity of the brain to measure and display patterns that may correspond to diagnostic information and/or cognitive deficits. The procedure is also known as brain mapping, brain electrical activity mapping (BEAM), and topographic EEG. It uses more surface electrodes than a standard electroencephalogram (EEG), gathering data from 24 or more areas of the brain. The raw electrical measurements are then “mapped” onto a stylized picture of the head or brain with the values represented as different colors or shades of colors. qEEG has a few medically accepted uses (most notably in some cases of epilepsy) but no current guidelines from leading medical professional organizations recommend the use of qEEG as a screening test for neurological and psychiatric conditions.

Rett Syndrome (RTT)
RTT is a disorder affecting females predominantly due to mutations in the methyl-CpG-binding protein 2 gene (MECP2) located at Xq28 in at least 95% of individuals meeting clinical criteria.  RTT is characterized by 6 to 18 months of apparently normal development before developing severe problems with language and communication, learning, coordination, and other brain functions. Early in childhood, affected girls lose purposeful use of their hands and begin making repeated hand wringing, washing, or clapping motions. They tend to grow more slowly than other children and have a small head size (microcephaly). Other signs and symptoms that can develop include breathing abnormalities, seizures, an abnormal side-to-side curvature of the spine (scoliosis) and sleep disturbances.

Schizophrenia is a chronic brain disorder characterized by abnormal social behavior and failure to understand what is real. Common symptoms include false beliefsunclear or confused thinkinghearing voices that others do not hear, reduced social engagement and emotional expression, and a lack of motivation. Possible environmental factors contributing to its cause include being raised in a city, cannabis use, certain infections, parental age, and poor nutrition during pregnancy.