Jargon buster

A guide to some of the terms used within the NHS

Basic research

Basic research aims to improve general scientific knowledge and understanding. Research is usually in laboratories (for example, studying genes that may contribute to a disorder). Basic research can highlight new and useful avenues to explore for developing new treatments.


A person who works on information technology as applied to the life sciences, especially technology used for the collection, storage, retrieval and analysis of complex biological data.


Bioinformatics uses a range of techniques including mathematics, statistics, computer science, artificial intelligence, chemistry and biochemistry to solve biological problems.


A test that enables doctors to determine whether someone has a condition such as Alzheimer's in order to provide the most appropriate treatment as soon as possible. It is usually based on biological indicator (such as a specific protein or a brain scan) which changes as a consequence of a process, event or condition (e.g. ageing or disease). Biomarkers can be used to detect and chart the progression of an illness or its response to treatment. They are detected and measured using a variety of methods that may include physical examination, biochemical laboratory tests or medical imaging.


Relating to biomedicine, the branch of medical science that applies biological principles to clinical practice.

Biomedical Research Centres (BRC)

Biomedical Research Centres (BRCs) have been established as part of the UK Government's NHS research strategy. The aim of these Centres is to find new ways of using research to prevent, diagnose and treat illness.  BRCs were created by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR). The only specialist mental health BRC in the country is managed by SLaM and the Institute of Psychiatry, King's College London.

Brain imaging

The process of taking pictures of the living brain.  This is done non-invasively, meaning that there is no need for procedures that involve entering the body.

Website Design by ConsultSMB