Alpha cell, pancreatic: A type of cell found in areas within the pancreas called the islets of Langerhans. Alpha cells make and release glucagon, which raises the level of glucose (sugar) in the blood.
- Alpha error
Alpha error: The statistical error made in testing a hypothesis when it is concluded that a result is positive, but it really is not. Also known as false positive.
- Alpha helix
Alpha helix: The coiled structure of many proteins consisting of a single chain of amino acids stabilized by hydrogen bonds. The alpha helix was first proposed by Linus Pauling and Robert Corey in a brilliant series of paper in the early 1950s. It is also known as the Pauling-Corey helix. See also: Pauling, Linus.
- Alpha interferon
Alpha interferon: A protein produced by the body in response to an infection. There are 3 major classes of interferon — alpha, beta, and gamma.
- Alpha Omega Alpha
Alpha Omega Alpha: An honor society, the medical school equivalent of Phi Beta Kappa of undergraduate school.
- Alpha particle
Alpha particle: A tiny mass of material composed of two protons and two neutrons. Alpha particles do not travel very far from their radioactive source. They cannot pass through a piece of paper, clothes or even the layer of dead cells which normally protects the skin. Because alpha particles cannot penetrate human skin they are […]