Glossary beginning with P

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Palliative care

Palliative care can help someone with advanced MS to have the best possible quality of life. It can relieve pain and other symptoms, while providing psychological, social and spiritual support for you, your family and your carers. This is known as taking a 'holistic' approach to care.

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PALS

The Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS) offers confidential advice, support and information on health-related matters. They provide a point of contact for patients, their families and their carers. If you are not happy with any NHS services, or feel you are not getting the treatments you need, you can contact them. Ask your local GP or hospital reception for the contact details of your local service.

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Pathology

Pathology is the study of diseases.

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PEG

A PEG (percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy) allows liquid food to go directly through a tube into the stomach. It can be a relief to those who have severe chewing or swallowing difficulties. People can sometimes continue to eat a little by mouth, so they don't lose the chance to enjoy their favourite foods.

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Peptide

A peptide is a molecule made up of a short chain of amino acids. Peptides are made up of the same components as proteins, but are shorter in length. Peptides have many functions in the body, and are particularly important in cell communication.

See also: Amino acids, Protein

Synonyms: Peptides

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Peripheral nervous system

The peripheral nervous system is the collective name for the parts of the nervous system that are outside of the brain and spinal cord. It includes the nerves relaying information from the senses and the nerves that relay signals from the central nervous system out to the muscles.

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Personal budgets

A personal budget is the amount of money allocated to pay for your social care. The amount you are eligible for is set out in your support plan and you can pay for anything with your personal budget so long as it is helping you to achieve the outcomes agreed in your support plan.

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Personal health budgets

A personal health budget is an amount of money allocated to you to help you meet your identified health and wellbeing goals. The amount you are eligible for and how you will spend it is set out in your care and support plan. At the moment, personal health budgets are only available for people receiving continuing health care.

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Personal Independence Payment

Personal Independence Payment (PIP) is a benefit for people of working age who have a long term health condition or disability.

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Personalisation

Personalisation refers to a new focus in social care services on giving people more of a say in the support they need. It is also sometimes referred to as 'self-directed support'.

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Phase 2 clinical trial

The second phase in clinical trials aims to investigate the safety and effectiveness of a potential therapy. Usually between 100 and 300 people will be enlisted to take part with the aim of determining whether the treatment will be safe and effective to treat a condition.

Synonyms: phase 2, Phase 2 trial, phase II trial

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Phase 3 clinical trial

If previous trials have indicated a treatment is safe and that it also shows promise in being able to treat a condition, phase 3 clinical trials begin. These involve large numbers of participants, typically more than 1,000, and are often spread between different hospitals and countries. If these trials show that a drug is safe and effective, the manufacturers can apply for a drug license.

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Phase I clinical trial

Phase I is the first stage of a clinical trial. It is to ensure a treatment is safe for people to take, rather than to try to treat a condition. These trials are very small, (typically around 30 people), and usually involve volunteers or sometimes patients.

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Physiotherapist

Physiotherapists use techniques such as exercise and movement of the body to improve health. Some physiotherapists train in neurology and are known as ‘neuro-physiotherapists’. If you experience a relapse or have new symptoms that affect day-to-day tasks, you might benefit from physiotherapy.

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Physiotherapy

Physiotherapy is the use of physical exercise or massage to treat a condition. A physiotherapist works with you to assess your physical difficulties, and suggest exercises that concentrate on a particular area of your body or help you manage a specific effect of MS.

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PIP

PIP (Personal Independence Payment) is a benefit for people of working age who have a long term health condition or disability.

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Placebo

A placebo is a dummy treatment used in clinical trials. It has no effect and is given to people to compare their response to those taking the 'real' treatment. It allows researchers to test for the 'placebo effect'. This is a psychological response where people feel better even though what they are taking has no effect. By comparing people's responses to the placebo and to the drug being tested, researchers can tell whether the drug is having any real benefit.

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Plaque

Plaques are areas of damage in the brain or spinal cord caused by MS. They can be detected by MRI scanners.

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PML

PML (Progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy) is a viral brain infection. It is a rare but very serious side effect of natalizumab (Tysabri), which is used to treat highly active relapsing remitting MS.

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Prescription pre-payment certificate

If you pay for your prescriptions, a prescription prepayment certificate (PPC) may make them cheaper, especially if you’re likely to need several throughout the year. You can only buy a PPC for your own prescriptions and they are only available if you live in England. Your GP or pharmacy will have information on how to apply.

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Primary Care Trusts

Replaced by clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) in 2012, primary care trusts (PCTs) were a type of NHS trust in England. PCTs provided some primary and community services or commissioned them from other providers, and were involved in commissioning secondary care.

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Primary progressive MS

People with primary progressive MS don't have any distinct attacks or remissions, but begin with subtle problems that slowly get worse over time. Their MS is progressive from the start.

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Progressive MS

People with progressive MS experience a steady build up of symptoms over time, rather than relapses followed by remission. There are 2 types of progressive MS: primary progressive and secondary progressive.

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Progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy

Progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML) is a serious and often fatal condition caused by a viral infection in the white matter of the brain at multiple locations. It occurs almost exclusively in people with severe immune deficiency, e.g. transplant patients on immunosuppressive medications, or AIDS patients. It is a rare side affect for people taking the MS drug natalizumab/Tysabri. The risk of developing PML is about one in 1,000 for people who taking natalizumab for more than 12 months. The risk increases after 2 years of therapy. Patients with MS should be informed about the risks of natalizumab, including PML, both before treatment and again after 2 years. They will be monitored regularly to identify PML and other potentially serious side effects as early as possible.

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Protein

Proteins are complex molecules made up of amino acids. There are thousands of different types of protein in the body that all have very different roles to play within cells.

See also: Peptide

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Pseudo-relapse

A pseudo-relapse is a flare-up of symptoms caused by a raise in body temperature, for example as a result of exercise, a hot bath or a fever. No permanent harm will come from these pseudo-relapses, and once whatever is causing the raised body temperature has gone away, so will the symptoms.

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PubMed

PubMed is a large database run by the National Institutes of Health in the USA. It contains lists of published research papers that are searchable by author, keyword, date, journal and institute.

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