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Our Science Glossary glossary_d

Glossary

DNA

The material inside the nucleus of cells that carries genetic information. The scientific name for DNA is deoxyribonucleic acid.

Daltons

A unit of molecular weight. Proteins and macromolecules are usually measured in Daltons. It is one twelfth of the mass of an atom of carbon 12. It is equivalent to 1.6610-27 kg.

Diabetes mellitus

Insulin is a hormone that regulates many metabolic processes in the body and is the major hormone controlling blood sugar levels. Diabetes is a chronic condition in which the body cannot produce sufficient insulin or effectively respond to it. The long-term effects of this disturbance in metabolism include an increased risk of vascular diseases such as heart attacks, strokes and impaired blood supply to the legs as well as diseases of the eye and kidneys. Diabetes related heart and kidney complications contribute to a two to four-fold increase in the chance of premature death.

Dopamine

A chemical substance, a neurotransmitter (or chemical that transmits signals between nerve cells) found in the brain that regulates motor function; movement, balance and walking.

Dopamine agonist

A drug that acts like dopamine. Dopamine agonists combine with dopamine receptors to mimic dopamine actions. Such medications stimulate dopamine receptors and produce dopamine-like effects. Dopamine agonists are used to treat Parkinson's disease.