Medical Dictionary

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An alphabetical listing of General terms and items.

A   Dico Tools
A (adenine): In genetics, A stands for adenine, one member of the A-T (adenine-thymine) base pair in DNA. The other base pair in DNA is G-C (guanine-cytosine). Each base pair forms a "rung of the DNA ladder." A DNA nucleotide is made of a molecule of sugar, a molecule of phosphoric acid, and a molecule called a base. The bases are the "letters" that spell out the genetic code. In DNA, the code letters are A, T, G, and C, which stand for the chemicals adenine, thymine, guanine, and cytosine, respectively. In DNA base pairing, adenine always pairs with thymine, and guanine always pairs with cytosine. Adenine is also one of the bases in RNA. There it always pairs with uracil (U). The base pairs in RNA are therefore A-U and G-C.

A And E Medicine   Dico Tools
accident and emergency medicine: an important specialty dealing with the immediate problems of the acutely ill and injured.

A-   Dico Tools
bsence of; lacking; not. Examples: amastia (absence of breasts); amorphic (lacking definite form); atoxic (not poisonous).

A. Baumannii   Dico Tools
A. baumannii: Acinetobacter baumannii

A/P   Dico Tools
assessment / plan

A1C   Dico Tools
A1C: A test that measures how much glucose has been sticking during the past 3-4 months to hemoglobin, the substance in the red blood cells that carries oxygen to the cells of the body. The A1C test is important in diabetes as a long-term measure of control over blood glucose. Even outside of diabetes, an elevated A1C level may be a cardiovascular risk factor.

A33   Dico Tools
A type of monoclonal antibody used in cancer detection or therapy. Monoclonal antibodies are laboratory-produced substances that can locate and bind to cancer cells.

A33 Monoclonal Antibody   Dico Tools
A type of monoclonal antibody used in cancer detection or therapy. Monoclonal antibodies are laboratory-produced substances that can locate and bind to cancer cells.

AA   Dico Tools
anaplastic astrocytoma

AAA   Dico Tools
AAA: Abdominal aortic aneurysm.

AAAS   Dico Tools
AAAS: Spoken of as the "triple-AS", the American Association for the Advancement of Science is an organization concerned not only with the biomedical sciences but with all of the sciences. The AAAS publishes the weekly journal "Science", one of the great scientific periodicals. "Science" carries a remarkable range of new scientific information including, for example, findings from the Apollo mission to Mars as well as reports from the project to map the human genome.

AAD   Dico Tools
AAD: American Association of Dermatology, one of many important professional societies in the health arena. The AMA (the American Medical Association) is a better known example in the US. Only a small selection of the many health-related organizations is given as a sampler in this DICTIONARY.

AAFP   Dico Tools
AAFP (American Academy of Family Physicians): Originally, most physicians in the U.S. (and elsewhere) were family doctors. Then there was a strong move away from family medicine toward the medical specialties in the U.S. The pendulum now has swung back to a more equitable balance between family practice and the medical (and surgical) specialties. The AAFP is a professional society for American family doctors. The AAFP states that: "The American Academy of Family Physicians is the national association of family doctors. It is one of the largest national medical organizations, with more than 85,000 members in 50 states, D.C., Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, and Guam. Until October 3, 1971, it was known as the American Academy of General Practice. The name was changed in order to reflect more accurately the changing nature of primary health care. "The Academy was founded in 1947 to promote and maintain high quality standards for family doctors who are providing continuing comprehensive health care to the public. Other major purposes of the Academy include: To provide responsible advocacy for and education of patients and the public in all health-related matters; To preserve and promote quality cost-effective health care; To promote the science and art of family medicine and to ensure an optimal supply of well-trained family physicians; To promote and maintain high standards among physicians who practice family medicine; To preserve the right of family physicians to engage in medical and surgical procedures for which they are qualified by training and experience; To provide advocacy, representation and leadership for the specialty of family practice; To maintain and provide an organization with high standards to fulfill the above purposes and to represent the needs of its members. "The Academy was instrumental in the establishment of family practice, a derivative of classical general practice, as medicine's twentieth primary specialty. The AMA's Council on Medical Education and the independent American Board of Medical Specialties granted approval to a certifying board in family practice, the basic structural requisite of a medical specialty, on February 8, 1969. Examinations have been given annually since 1970, and recertification examinations annually since 1976. "The Academy maintains a national headquarters in Kansas City, Missouri. It publishes a clinical journal for physicians in primary care entitled American Family Physician, with a circulation of 156,000; a monthly all-member news and features publication entitled FP Report and a publication on practice management and socioeconomic issues entitled Family Practice Management."

AAMC   Dico Tools
AAMC (Ass Am Medical Colleges): The American Association of Medical Colleges, a nonprofit association of the 125 accredited U.S. medical schools; the 16 accredited Canadian medical schools; more than 400 major teaching hospitals and health systems; some 90 academic and professional societies representing 75,000 faculty members; and the nation's medical students and residents. The purpose of the AAMC is to improve health through the advancement of academic medicine. In pursuing this purpose, the AAMC works "to strengthen the quality of medical education and training, to enhance the search for biomedical knowledge, to advance research in health services, and to integrate education into the provisions of effective health care." The AAMC is responsible for the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT) required of everyone applying to medical school in the U.S. and Canada.

AANAT   Dico Tools
AANAT: The synbol for the enzyme arylalkylamine N-acetyltransferase and for the gene that encodes it. AANAT is present in animals, bacteria and yeast but in no other living organisms. AANAT belongs to the large superfamily of acetyltransferase enzymes. AANAT is used to make melatonin, a hormone that regulates the body's cycles of sleeping and waking.

AAO   Dico Tools
AAO: 1. Alert and oriented. 2. American Association of Ophthalmology, a professional organization. 3. American Academy of Otolaryngology, a professional organization. 4. American Association of Orthodontists, a professional organization. 5. Amino acid oxidase, an enzyme.

AAOS   Dico Tools
AAOS (American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons): The professional organization of American orthopaedists. Literally, the practice of child straightening, orthopaedics is the branch of surgery that is broadly concerned with the skeletal system (bones).

AAP   Dico Tools
Alanine aminopeptidase. An enzyme that is used as a biomarker to detect damage to the kidneys, and that may be used to help diagnose certain kidney disorders. It is found at high levels in the urine when there are kidney problems.

Ab-   Dico Tools
away from. Example: abembryonic (away from or opposite the embryo).

ABA   Dico Tools
American Board of Anesthesiology

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ABAI   Dico Tools
American Board of Allergy & Immunology

Abasia   Dico Tools
an inability to walk for which no physical cause can be identified.

Abbreviated Injury Scale   Dico Tools
a quick method for determining the severity of a case of serious trauma. It can be used for purposes of triage and medical audit.

ABCRS   Dico Tools
American Board of Colon and Rectal Surgery

ABD   Dico Tools
American Board of Dermatology

Abdomen   Dico Tools
Latin abdomen = the belly, the part of the trunk between thorax and the perineum, adjective - abdominal.

ABDOMEN (adjective ABDOMINAL)   Dico Tools
The area of the body between the chest and pelvis.

Abdominal Aneurysm   Dico Tools
An aneurysm situated within the abdomen (belly). An aneurysm is a localized widening (dilatation) of an artery, vein, or the heart. At the area of an aneurysm, there is typically a bulge and the wall is weakened and may rupture. The word "aneurysm" comes from the Greek "aneurysma" meaning "a widening." An aneurysm may involve the aorta, the largest artery in the body, as it courses down through the abdomen. Because of the great volume of blood flowing under high pressure in the aorta, rupture of an abdominal aortic aneurysm is a surefire catastrophe.

Abdominal Aorta   Dico Tools
  The abdominal aorta is the final section of the aorta, the largest artery in the body. It is a continuation of the thoracic aorta. It begins at the diaphragm, and runs down to the point where it ends (by splitting in two to form the common iliac arteries). The abdominal aorta supplies oxygenated blood to all of the abdominal and pelvic organs and the legs. Like the other sections of the aorta (the ascending aorta, aortic arch and thoracic aorta), the abdominal aorta is an arbitrary anatomic entity. The aorta is one continuous conduit that arises out of the left ventricle of the heart to carry blood to the body. Nonetheless, the abdominal aorta is a hallowed and convenient subdivision of the aorta. The abdominal aorta is also known in medical Latin as the aorta abdominalis or the pars abdominalis aortae (under which it is often hidden in standard print medical dictionaries).

Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm   Dico Tools
A ballooning or widening of the main artery (the aorta) as it courses down through the abdomen. At the point of the aneurysm, the aneurysm usually measures 3 cm or more in diameter. The aneurysm weakens the wall of the aorta and can end in the aorta rupturing with catastrophic consequences. As the diameter of the aorta increases, the chances of an abdominal aortic aneurysm rupturing rise. A measurement of 5 cm is often used to recommend surgery. Persons with AAA tend to be 60 or over. Men are 5 times more likely than women to have an AAA.

Abdominal Cavity   Dico Tools
  The cavity within the abdomen, the space between the abdominal wall and the spine. The abdominal cavity is hardly an empty space. It contains a number of crucial organs including the lower part of the esophagus, the stomach, small intestine, colon, rectum, liver, gallbladder, pancreas, spleen, kidneys, and bladder.

Abdominal Guarding   Dico Tools
  Tensing of the abdominal wall muscles to guard inflamed organs within the abdomen from the pain of pressure upon them. The tensing is detected when the abdomen wall is pressed. Guarding is a characteristic finding in the physical examination for an abruptly painful abdomen (an acute abdomen) with inflammation of the inner abdominal (peritoneal) surface due, for example, to appendicitis or diverticulitis. The tensed muscles of the abdominal wall automatically go into spasm to keep the tender underlying tissues from being touched.

Abdominal Hysterectomy   Dico Tools
Surgical removal of the uterus (a hysterectomy) done through an incision made in the abdominal wall. As opposed to a vaginal hysterectomy in which the incision is made within the vagina.

Abdominal Muscle Deficiency Syndrome   Dico Tools
  Partial or complete absence of the abdominal muscles so that the outlines of the intestines are visible through the thin, lax, protruding abdominal wall. Also called the "prune belly syndrome." The full syndrome probably occurs only in males. In addition to the abdominal muscle deficiency, there are genital and urinary abnormalities including dilation (widening) of the urinary tract and cryptorchidism (failure for the testes to descend into the scrotum). There is also a form of abdominal muscle deficiency that is associated with narrowing (stenosis) of the pulmonary artery, mental retardation and deafness. It occurs in both boys and girls. Abdominal muscle deficiency syndrome was first recognized in the 19th century. The renowned physician William Osler wrote: "In the summer of 1897 a case of remarkable distension of the abdomen was admitted to the wards, with greatly distended bladder, and on my return in September, Dr. Futcher, knowing that I would be interested in it, sent for the child."

Abdominal Muscles   Dico Tools
A large group of muscles in the front of the abdomen that assists in the regular breathing movement and supports the muscles of the spine while lifting and keeping abdominal organs such as the intestines in place. Abdominal muscles play a key role in exercises such as "sit-ups." They are informally called the "abs".

Abducent   Dico Tools
Latin ab = from, and ducens = led, hence, moving from, or effecting separation.

Abducent Nerve   Dico Tools
  A small motor nerve that has one task: to supply a muscle called the lateral rectus muscle that moves the eye outward. Paralysis of the abducent nerve causes inward turning of the eye (internal strabismus) leading to double vision. The abducent nerve is the sixth cranial nerve. All 12 cranial nerves, the abducent nerve included, emerge from or enter the skull (the cranium), as opposed to the spinal nerves which emerge from the vertebral column. The word "abducent" comes from the Latin "ab-", away from + "ducere", to draw = to draw away. The abducent (or abducens) operates the lateral rectus muscle that draws the eye toward the side of the head. The abducent nerve is also called the abducens nerve.

Abducent Pain   Dico Tools
  Pain in the belly (the abdomen). Abdominal pain can come from conditions affecting a variety of organs. The abdomen is an anatomical area that is bounded by the lower margin of the ribs above, the pelvic bone (pubic ramus) below, and the flanks on each side. Although abdominal pain can arise from the tissues of the abdominal wall that surround the abdominal cavity (the skin and abdominal wall muscles), the term abdominal pain generally is used to describe pain originating from organs within the abdominal cavity (from beneath the skin and muscles). These organs include the stomach, small intestine, colon, liver, gallbladder, and pancreas. Occasionally, pain may be felt in the abdomen even though it is arising from organs that are close to but not within the abdominal cavity, for example, the lower lungs, the kidneys, and the uterus or ovaries. This latter type of pain is called "referred" pain because the pain, though originating outside the abdomen, is being referred to (felt) in the abdominal area. Abdominal pain can be acute and sudden in onset, or the pain can be chronic and longstanding. Abdominal pain may be minor and of no great significance, or it can reflect a major problem involving one of the organs in the abdomen. The characteristics of the pain--location, timing, duration, etc. are important in diagnosing its cause. Persistent or severe abdominal pain should be evaluated by a physician. Acute abdominal pain may require urgent surgery such as for a twisted ovarian cyst, ectopic pregnancy, intestinal obstruction, appendicitis, peritonitis, perforated peptic ulcer, perforated diverticulitis, or abdominal aortic aneurysm. Patients with gallbladder disease, pancreatitis, or a kidney stone may also need urgent treatment. Acute or chronic abdominal pain may also call for medical (nonsurgical) therapy. The causes of abdominal pain depend on sex and age of the patient. A woman may have a twisted ovarian cyst while a man may have testicular torsion with a twisted testis. Abdominal pain in infants and small children may be due to intestinal obstruction from atresia or stenosis of the intestine, esophageal webs, intussusception, volvulus, imperforate anus, and Hirschsprung disease. These causes of abdominal pain are rarely, if ever, encountered in adults.

Abduction   Dico Tools
In medicine, the movement of a limb away from the midline of the body. Abduction of both legs spreads the legs. The opposite of abduction is adduction. Adduction of the legs brings them together.

Abductor Muscle   Dico Tools
  Any muscle used to pull a body part away from the midline of the body. For example, the abductor muscles of the legs spread the legs away from the midline and away from one another. The word "abductor" comes from the Latin prefix "ab-" meaning "away from" + "ducere" meaning "to draw or lead" = "to draw away from."

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Abductor Spasmodic Dysphonia   Dico Tools
A disorder in which sudden muscle spasms cause the vocal folds (or vocal cords) to stay open

ABEM   Dico Tools
American Board of Emergency Medicine

Aberrant   Dico Tools
Latin ab = from, and errare = to wander, hence, deviating from normal.

Aberration   Dico Tools
Aberration: (1) A deviation or irregularity. For example, a chromosome aberration is a deviation from the normal chromosome number or the normal chromosome structure. In this sense, aberration is also synonymous with deflection, departure, divergence, diversion, turning. (2) A mental aberration is a significant deviation from normal mental activity. In this sense, aberration is synonymous with mental derangement, mental illness, psychopathy.

ABFP   Dico Tools
American Board of Family Practice

ABG   Dico Tools
ABG (arterial blood gas): The sampling of the blood levels of oxygen and carbon dioxide within the arteries, as opposed to the levels of oxygen and carbon dioxide in venous blood. Typically, the acidity, or pH, of the blood is measured simultaneously in ABG sampling.

ABIM   Dico Tools
American Board of Internal Medicine

Abiotic   Dico Tools
Abiotic: 1. Not associated with living organisms. 2. Anything in the environment incapable of life, such as the soil or weather. 3. Incompatible with life or antagonist to it. Also called abiological.

Abiotrophy   Dico Tools
Loss of function or degeneration for reasons unknown. For example, cerebellar abiotrophy may affect coordination while cone-rod abiotrophy may cause blindness at birth.

Ablate   Dico Tools
  To remove. A tumor may be ablated. To ablate the thyroid gland is to remove it. The word "ablation" came from the Latin "ablatum" meaning to carry away. In 1671 the ablation (removal) of a disease was a matter for consideration. But by 1846 "ablation" had taken on a specifically surgical edge and today it applies principally to the surgical removal of any part of the body.

Ablation   Dico Tools
  Removal or excision. Ablation is usually carried out surgically. For example, surgical removal of the thyroid gland (a total thyroidectomy) is ablation of the thyroid. The word ablation comes from the Latin ablatum meaning to carry away. Historically, the word ablation once had mainly a general meaning so that in 1671 the ablation (removal) of a disease was a matter for consideration. But by 1846 "ablation" had taken on a specifically surgical edge and today it applies principally to the surgical removal of any part of the body.

Ablation, Endometrial   Dico Tools
Ablation, endometrial: Removal of the lining of the womb. Removing the uterine lining decreases menstrual flow or stops it completely. Ablation means removal or excision, usually surgically. The word comes from the Latin ablatum meaning to carry away. The endometrium is the inner layer of the uterus (womb), the uterine lining which is normally shed monthly in response to the hormonal changes of the menstrual period.

ABNM   Dico Tools
American Board of Nuclear Medicine

Abnormal   Dico Tools
Not normal. Deviating from the usual structure, position, condition, or behavior. In referring to a growth, abnormal may mean that it is cancerous or premalignant (likely to become cancer).

ABNS   Dico Tools
American Board of Neurological Surgery

ABO Blood Group   Dico Tools
  The major human blood group system. A person's ABO type depends upon the presence of absence of two genes --the A and B genes. These genes are encoded on chromosome 9 (in band 9q34.1). They determine part of the configuration of the red blood cell surface. A person can be A, B, AB, or O. If a person has two A genes, their red blood cells are type A. If a person has two B genes, their red cells are type B. If the person has one A and one B gene, their red cells are type AB. If the person has neither the A nor B gene, they are type O. The situation with antibodies in blood plasma is just the opposite. Someone with type A red cells has anti-B antibodies (antibodies directed against type B red cells) in their blood plasma. Someone with type B red cells has anti-A antibodies in plasma. Someone who is type O has both anti-A and anti-B antibodies in plasma. And someone who is type AB has neither anti-A nor anti-B antibodies in plasma. It is most important to determine the ABO status of both donor and recipient in transplants and transfusions by typing and cross-matching. ABO incompatibility in such procedures can be a disaster. The first recorded blood transfusion may have taken place in 1492 when Pope Innocent VIII, laying in a coma, was given the blood of 3 young men. Blood typing and crossmatching was not done. The pope died, as did the 3 donors. In 1901 a Viennese pathologist named Karl Landsteiner (1868-1943) published an article entitled "On Agglutination Phenomena of Normal Human Blood," in which he observed that, when blood was transfused from one human to another, the body often clumped the transfused blood cells and rejected the transfusion, sometimes going in shock. In 1909 Landsteiner classified red blood cells into types A, B, AB and O and showed that the body rejects transfusions of a different blood type. After moving to the Rockefeller Institute in New York, Landsteiner received the Nobel Prize in 1930 for his pioneering research in immunology and blood grouping.

ABOG   Dico Tools
American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology

ABOP   Dico Tools
American Board of Ophthalmology

Abortifacient   Dico Tools
A substance that causes pregnancy to end prematurely and causes an abortion.

Abortion   Dico Tools
  In medicine, an abortion is the premature exit of the products of conception (the fetus, fetal membranes, and placenta) from the uterus. It is the loss of a pregnancy and does not refer to why that pregnancy was lost. A spontaneous abortion is the same as a miscarriage. The miscarriage of 3 or more consecutive pregnancies is termed habitual abortion.

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Abortion, Artificial   Dico Tools
An abortion that is brought about intentionally. Also called an induced or therapeutic abortion. As opposed to a spontaneous abortion (a miscarriage).

Abortion, Habitual   Dico Tools
  The miscarriage of 3 or more consecutive pregnancies. The abortion of 3 or more miscarriages (spontaneous abortions) with no intervening pregnancies is also termed recurrent abortion. Habitual or recurrent abortion is a form of infertility. It is sometimes due to chromosome abnormalities or other genetic causes.

Abortion, Induced   Dico Tools
An abortion that is brought about intentionally. Also called an artificial or therapeutic abortion. As opposed to a spontaneous abortion (a miscarriage).

Abortion, Recurrent   Dico Tools
  The occurrence of 3 or more miscarriages (which are medically termed "spontaneous abortions") with no intervening pregnancies. Recurrent abortion (or, as it is sometimes called, habitual abortion) is a form of infertility. It may be due to chromosome abnormalities.

Abortion, Spontaneous   Dico Tools
  A miscarriage, that is, any pregnancy that is not viable (the fetus cannot survive) or in which the fetus is born before the 20th week of pregnancy. Spontaneous abortion occurs in at least 15-20% of all recognized pregnancies and usually takes place before the 13th week of pregnancy. A spontaneous abortion is as opposed to an induced abortion. In a spontaneous abortion, it is purely accidental, that is spontaneous.

Abortion, Therapeutic   Dico Tools
An abortion that is brought about intentionally. Also called an artificial or induced abortion. As opposed to a spontaneous abortion (a miscarriage).

Abortive   Dico Tools
  The word "abortive" has a number of meanings including prematurely born; fruitless or unsuccessful; imperfectly formed or developed; tending to cut short. In everyday language, the sense of "abortive" to mean prematurely born, as "an abortive child," is largely obsolete today. The main meaning of "abortive" in ordinary English is fruitless or unsuccessful, as an "abortive enterprise" or an "abortive effort." In biology, "abortive" means imperfectly formed or developed or rudimentary as, an "abortive organ." In medicine, "abortive" has two meanings: one, causing abortion, as an "abortive medicine," is rarely used nowadays; the other meaning, that of tending to cut short is quite commonly used in medicine, as in the "abortive treatment of typhoid fever" or "abortive polio": polio cut short.

Abortive Polio   Dico Tools
  Abortive polio is a minor illness. It accounts for 80-90% of clinically apparent cases of polio infection, chiefly in young children. It does not involve the CNS. The usual symptoms are slight fever, malaise, headache, sore throat and vomiting which hit 3-5 days after exposure to the polio virus. Full recovery occurs in 24-72 hours. There are no permanent disabilities of any kind. Polio as a major illness is in contrast to abortive polio. Symptoms appear usually with no sign of a prior illness 7-14 days after exposure to the virus, particularly in older children and adults, and may include fever, severe headache, stiff neck and back, deep muscle pain, and sometimes areas of hyperesthesia (increased sensation) and paresthesia (altered sensation). There may be no further progression from this picture of viral meningitis (called "aseptic" meningitis) or there be loss of tendon reflexes and weakness or paralysis of muscle groups. Polio can thus take one of two main avenues: that of minor ("abortive") illness or that of major illness. And polio as a major illness can then take one of two branching roads: that of aseptic meningitis without paralysis or that of paralytic polio. In abortive polio, recovery is complete. Recovery is also complete in polio with only aseptic meningitis. In paralytic polio, about 50% of patients recover with no residual paralysis, about 25% are left with mild disabilities, and the remaining patients have severe permanent disability. The word "abortive" here means "tending to cut short" so that abortive polio is polio cut short.

ABOS   Dico Tools
American Board of Orthopedic Surgery

ABOto   Dico Tools
American Board of Otolaryngology

ABP   Dico Tools
American Board of Pathology

ABPM   Dico Tools
American Board of Preventive Medicine

ABPMR   Dico Tools
American Board of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation

ABPN   Dico Tools
American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology

ABPS   Dico Tools
American Board of Plastic Surgery

ABR   Dico Tools
American Board of Radiology

Abraham-man   Dico Tools
Abraham-man: Also abram-man. One of a class of beggars who once wandered over England after the dissolution of the religious houses in the 16th century, pretending lunacy for the sake of obtaining alms. To sham Abraham (or sham Abram) now means to feign sickness, to fake illness.

Abrasion   Dico Tools
An abrasion or "excoriation" is a wearing away of the upper layer of skin as a result of applied friction force. In dentistry an "abrasion" is the wearing away of the tooth substance.

Abrin   Dico Tools
  A phytotoxin (plant poison) found in the seeds of a plant called the rosary pea or jequirity pea. These seeds are red with a black spot covering one end. Abrin is similar to ricin, a toxin that is also found in the seeds of a plant (the castor bean plant), although abrin is much more poisonous than ricin. Abrin can be made in the form of a powder, a mist, or a pellet, or it can be dissolved in water. Powdered abrin is yellowish-white in color. Abrin is a stable substance, meaning that it can last for a long time in the environment despite extreme conditions such as very hot or very cold temperatures. The seeds of the rosary pea have been used to make beaded jewelry, which can lead to abrin poisoning if the seeds are swallowed. Abrin is currently of concern as a possible agent of bioterrorism. Abrin works by getting inside the cells of a person's body and preventing the cells from making the proteins they need. Without the proteins, cells die. Eventually this is harmful to the whole body, and death may occur. The major symptoms of abrin poisoning depend on the route of exposure and the dose received, though many organs may be affected in severe cases. Initial symptoms of abrin poisoning by inhalation may occur within 8 hours of exposure. The likely symptoms are respiratory distress (difficulty breathing), fever, cough, nausea, and tightness in the chest. Heavy sweating may follow as well as fluid building up in the lungs (pulmonary edema). This would make breathing even more difficult, and the skin might turn blue. Excess fluid in the lungs would be diagnosed by x-ray or by listening to the chest with a stethoscope. Finally, low blood pressure and respiratory failure may occur, leading to death. Following ingestion of abrin, initial symptoms may occur in less than 6 hours but usually are delayed for 1 to 3 days. Symptoms would include vomiting and diarrhea that may become bloody. Severe dehydration may be the result, followed by low blood pressure. Other signs or symptoms may include hallucinations, seizures, and blood in the urine. Within several days, the person's liver, spleen, and kidneys might stop working, and the person could die. Abrin in the powder or mist form can cause redness and pain of the skin and the eyes. Death from abrin poisoning could take place within 36 to 72 hours of exposure, depending on the route of exposure (inhalation, ingestion, or injection) and the dose received. If death has not occurred in 3 to 5 days, the victim usually recovers. Because no antidote exists for abrin, the most important factor is avoiding abrin exposure in the first place. If exposure cannot be avoided, the most important factor is then getting the abrin off or out of the body as quickly as possible. Abrin poisoning is treated by giving victims supportive medical care to minimize the effects of the poisoning. The types of supportive medical care would depend on several factors, such as the route by which victims were poisoned (that is, whether poisoning was by inhalation, ingestion, or skin or eye exposure). Care could include such measures as helping victims breathe, giving them intravenous fluids (fluids given through a needle inserted into a vein), giving them medications to treat conditions such as seizure and low blood pressure, flushing their stomachs with activated charcoal (if the abrin has been very recently ingested), or washing out their eyes with water if their eyes are irritated.

Abruption   Dico Tools
A sudden breaking off or away. Abruption of the placenta (abruptio placentae) is the premature separation of the placenta from the wall of the uterus, a potentially very serious situation for the mother and baby.

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ABS   Dico Tools
American Board of Surgery

Abscess   Dico Tools
  A local accumulation of pus anywhere in the body. The following are some examples of abscesses: A skin abscess is better known as a common boil; A peritonsillar abscess is a persistent collection of pus behind the tonsils; and A perianal abscess is a pool of pus that forms next to the anus, often causing considerable tenderness and swelling in that area and pain on sitting down and on defecating.

Abscission   Dico Tools
To remove tissue by cutting it away, as in surgery

Absence Of The Breast   Dico Tools
  A rare condition wherein the normal growth of the breast or nipple never takes place. They are congenitally absent. There is no sign whatsoever of the breast tissue, areola or nipple. There is nothing there. Absence of the breast, also called amastia, is frequently not an isolated problem. Unilateral amastia (amastia just on one side) is often associated with absence of the pectoral muscles (the muscles of the front of the chest). Bilateral amastia (with absence of both breasts) is associated in 40% of cases with multiple congenital anomalies (birth defects) involving other parts of the body as well. Amastia is thought to be described in the Bible: "We have a little sister, and she hath no breasts" (Song of Solomon VIII:8). Amastia can be distinguished from amazia -- wherein breast tissue is absent, but the nipple is present -- a condition that typically is a result of radiation or surgery.

Absence Of The Nipple   Dico Tools
  Medically called athelia, this is a rare condition but it is common in certain conditions. Athelia tends to occurs on one side (unilaterally) in children with the Poland sequence and on both sides (bilaterally) in certain types of ectodermal dysplasia. The Poland sequence (named for Alfred Poland, a celebrated 19th-century British surgeon and ophthalmologist) is a unique pattern of one-sided malformations characterized by a defect of the chest (pectoralis) muscle on one side of the body and webbing of the fingers (cutaneous syndactyly) of the ipsilateral hand (the hand on the same side). It is right-sided three times more often than it is left-sided. The disorder is currently considered "a nonspecific developmental field defect" occurring at about the sixth week of fetal development. The cause is uncertain. In Poland syndrome there is aplasia of the sternal head of the pectoralis major: the end of the main chest muscle that normally attaches to the breastbone is missing. On that side of the body, nearby chest muscles (the serratus anterior and latissimus dorsi muscles) may also be absent as may be the armpit (axillary) hair. In girls, the breast on that side is also usually absent (amastia) and there is no nipple. There is athelia. Ectodermal dysplasia is not one but a number of hereditary conditions usually characterized by the abnormal development of skin, absence of sweat glands, dry eyes and abnormal development of teeth -- all structures derived from the ectoderm (the outside layer in early embryonic development). The absence of sweat glands leads to an inability to sweat and heat intolerance. Athelia also occurs in association with the progeria (premature aging) syndrome and the Yunis-Varon syndrome (a multiple congenital malformation first reported in 1980). Athelia is distinguished from amastia, wherein the breast is absent, and from amazia, wherein breast tissue is absent but the nipple is still resent.

Absence Seizure   Dico Tools
A seizure that takes the form of a staring spell. The person suddenly seems to be "absent." An absence seizure involves a brief loss of awareness, which can be accompanied by blinking or mouth twitching. Absence seizures have a very characteristic appearance on an electroencephalogram (EEG).

Absent Eye   Dico Tools
  Also called anophthalmia, a congenital malformation (birth defect) of the globe. Anophthalmia refers, strictly speaking, to absence of the globe and ocular tissue from the orbit. However, in most cases of anophthalmia, CT scans show some remnants of the globe, indicating they represent severe microphthalmia (small eyes). Anophthalmia/microphthalmia may involve one or both eyes. It may occur in isolation with no associated malformations or it may be part of a multiple congenital malformation syndrome as, for example, the congenital rubella syndrome, the triploidy syndrome (due to the presence of 69 chromosomes), the trisomy 13 syndrome (Patau syndrome, due to an extra chromosome 13), and the Wolf-Hirschorn syndrome (which is due to deletion of part of the short arm of chromosome 4). Anophthalmia comes from the Greek an-, absence + ophthalmos, eye + absence of the eye.

Absinthe   Dico Tools
  Once a major medical hazard, absinthe is an emerald-green liqueur flavored with extracts of the wormwood plant, licorice and aromatic flavorings in a alcohol base. Absinthe was manufactured, commercialized and popularized in France in the late 1700s by Henri-Louis Pernod. It became an extremely popular and addictive drink. Among the famous figures who made absinthe a symbol of decadence were the writer Oscar Wilde, the poet Charles Baudelaire, and the artists Edouard Manet, Vincent Van Gogh, Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec and Pablo Picasso. The first important medical research on absinthe was initiated in 1864 by a psychiatrist, Valentin Jacques Joseph Magnan, who exposed a veritable Noah's arkful of animals to wormwood oil (the essence of absinthe) and alcohol (the base of absinthe). He put cats, rabbits, and guinea pigs under an individual glass case next to a saucer of either wormwood oil or alcohol. The animals that breathed the alcohol fumes became drunk while those that inhaled the vapors of wormwood had epileptic seizures, reported Dr. Magnan in the medical journal The Lancet. Prolonged drinking of absinthe causes convulsions, blindness, hallucinations, and mental deterioration. Absinthe has been banned but something of its taste of absinthe is still available in such drinks as ouzo in Greece and in France, pastis, long considered "the mother's milk of Provence."

Absinthism   Dico Tools
The disorder associated with the habitual abuse of absinthe. The symptoms included hallucinations, sleeplessness, tremors, and convulsions. There has been debate over whether absinthism was due to absinthe or the alcohol contained therein. For more information, see: Absinthe.

Absolute CD4 Count   Dico Tools
The number of "helper" CD4 T-lymphocytes in a cubic millimeter of blood. With HIV, the absolute CD4 count declines as the infection progresses. The absolute CD4 count is frequently used to monitor the extent of immune suppression in persons with HIV. Also called a T4 count.

Absolute Neutrophil Count   Dico Tools
  The real number of white blood cells (WBCs) that are neutrophils. The absolute neutrophil count is commonly called the ANC. The ANC is not measured directly. It is derived by multiplying the WBC count times the percent of neutrophils in the differential WBC count. The percent of neutrophils consists of the segmented (fully mature) neutrophils) + the bands (almost mature neutrophils). The normal range for the ANC = 1.5 to 8.0 (1,500 to 8,000/mm3). Sample calculation of the ANC: WBC count: 6,000 cells/mm3 of blood Segs: 30% of the WBCs Bands: 3% of the WBCs Neutrophils (segs + bands): 33% of the WBCs ANC: 33% X 6,000 = 2,000/mm3 ANC of 2,000/mm3, by convention = 2.0 Normal range: 1.5 to 8.0 (1,500 to 8,000/mm3) Interpretation: Normal Neutrophils are key components in the system of defense against infection. An absence or scarcity of neutrophils (a condition called neutropenia) makes a person vulnerable to infection. After chemotherapy, radiation, or a blood or marrow transplant, the ANC is usually depressed and then slowly rises, reflecting the fact that the bone marrow is recovering and new blood cells are beginning to grow and mature. In practical clinical terms, a normal ANC is 1.5 or higher; a "safe" ANC is 500-1500; a low ANC is less than 500. A safe ANC means that the patient's activities do not need to be restricted (on the basis of the ANC).

Absorb   Dico Tools
1. To take something in, as through the skin or the intestine. 2. To react with radiation and reduce it in intensity, as with a dose of radiation or transmitted light.

Absorbed Dose   Dico Tools
In radiology, the amount of energy that is deposited in any material by ionizing radiation. The unit of absorbed dose, the rad, is a measure of energy absorbed per gram of material. An alternative unit of absorbed dose is the gray. One gray equals 100 rads.

Absorption   Dico Tools
  Uptake. In the biomedical sciences, absorption has diverse specific meanings. In the body, absorption is the process whereby a cell, tissue or organ takes up a substance. In the intestinal tract, absorption is the uptake of food (or other substances) from the digestive tract. In radiology, absorption refers to the taking up of energy by matter with which the radiation interacts. In immunology, absorption is the process by which an antibody or antigen is used to remove a corresponding antigen or antibody from a mixture.

Abstemious   Dico Tools
  Marked by restraint, especially in the consumption of food or alcohol. From the Latin prefix "abs-," meaning "from" or "away," and the Latin noun "temetum," meaning "intoxicating drink."

Abstinence   Dico Tools
The voluntary self-denial of food, drink, or sex. Today, abstinence most commonly refers to denial of one's sexual activity.

Abstinence, Periodic   Dico Tools
Also known as fertility awareness, natural family planning, and the rhythm method, this approach entails not having sexual intercourse on the days of a woman's menstrual cycle when she could become pregnant or using a barrier method (such as a condom, the diaphragm or a cervical cap) for birth control on those days. Because a sperm may live in the female's reproductive tract for up to 7 days and the egg remains fertile for about 24 hours, a woman can get pregnant within a substantial window of time -- from 7 days before ovulation to 3 days after. Methods to approximate when a woman is fertile are usually based on the menstrual cycle, changes in cervical mucus, or changes in body temperature.

ABSTRACT   Dico Tools
A written summary of the important points of a medical article.

ABTS   Dico Tools
American Board of Thoracic Surgery

ABU   Dico Tools
American Board of Urology

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Abuse, Child   Dico Tools
  Child abuse is a very complex and dangerous set of problems that include child neglect and the physical, emotional, and sexual abuse of children. Child neglect is the most frequently reported form of child abuse and the most lethal. This form of abuse is defined as the failure to provide for the shelter, safety, supervision and nutritional needs of the child. Child neglect can be physical, educational, or emotional neglect. Physical neglect includes refusal of or delay in seeking health care, abandonment, expulsion from the home or refusal to allow a runaway to return home, and inadequate supervision. Educational neglect includes the allowance of chronic truancy, failure to enroll a child of mandatory school age in school, and failure to attend to a special educational need. Emotional neglect includes such actions as marked inattention to the child's needs for affection, refusal of or failure to provide needed psychological care, spouse abuse in the child's presence, and permission of drug or alcohol use by the child. Physical abuse is the second most frequently reported form of child abuse and is defined as physical injury inflicted upon the child with cruel and/or malicious intent. Physical abuse can be the result of punching, beating, kicking, biting, burning, shaking, or otherwise harming a child. The parent or caretaker may not have intended to hurt the child, rather the injury may have resulted from over-discipline or physical punishment. Emotional abuse is the third most frequently reported form of child abuse and includes acts or omissions by the parents or other caregivers that could cause serious behavioral, emotional, or mental disorders. For example, the parents/caregivers may use extreme or bizarre forms of punishment, such as confinement of a child in a dark closet. Emotional child abuse is also sometimes termed psychological child abuse, verbal child abuse, or mental injury of a child. Sexual abuse is the least frequently reported form of child abuse and is believed to be the most under-reported type of child maltreatment because of the secrecy or "conspiracy of silence" that so often characterizes these cases. Sexual abuse includes fondling a child's genitals, intercourse, incest, rape, sodomy, exhibitionism, and commercial exploitation through prostitution or the production of pornographic materials. Fatal injuries from maltreatment can result from many different acts including severe head trauma (injury), shaken baby syndrome, trauma to the abdomen or chest, scalding, burns, drowning, suffocation, poisoning, etc. Factors affecting the likelihood of potential abuse and predisposing to child abuse include: The abuser's childhood: child abusers often were abused as children. The abuser's substance abuse: at least half of all child abuse cases involve some degree of substance abuse (alcohol, drugs, etc) by the child's parents. Family stress: the disintegration of the nuclear family and its inherent support systems has been held to be associated with child abuse. Social forces: experts debate whether a postulated reduction in religious/moral values coupled with an increase in the depiction of violence by the entertainment and informational media may increase child abuse. The child: children at higher risk for child abuse include infants who are felt to be "overly fussy", handicapped children, and children with chronic diseases. Specific "trigger" events that occur just before many fatal parental assaults on infants and young children include: an infant's inconsolable crying, feeding difficulties, a toddler's failed toilet training, and exaggerated parental perceptions of acts of "disobedience" by the child. Children can be neglected and abused by parents, other caregivers, or society. Child abuse should be reported, investigated and evaluated. The treatment and prevention of child abuse include a support group structure coupled with visiting nurse home visits to reinforce good parenting skills and monitor the child's well-being. Children's school programs regarding "good touch...bad touch" can provide parents with a forum in which to role-play and learn to avoid potentially harmful scenarios. Parents should make sure that their child's daycare center is licensed and has an open door policy regarding parental visitation. The best strategy is to prevent child abuse. Not until the 19th century were children granted the same legal status as domesticated animals in regard to protection against cruelty and/or neglect. In 1962 the term "battered child syndrome" entered medicine. By 1976 all states in the United States had adopted laws mandating the reporting of suspected instances of child abuse.

Abused Inhalant   Dico Tools
Abused inhalant: A breathable chemical vapor that is abused. All abused inhalants produce psychoactive (mind-altering) effects. Abused inhalants fall into the following categories: Solvents Industrial or household solvents or solvent-containing products, including paint thinners or removers, degreasers, dry-cleaning fluids, gasoline, and glue Art or office supply solvents, including correction fluids, felt-tip-marker fluid, and electronic contact cleaners Gases Gases used in household or commercial products, including butane lighters and propane tanks, whipping cream aerosols or dispensers (whippets), and refrigerant gases Household aerosol propellants and associated solvents in items such as spray paints, hair or deodorant sprays, and fabric protector sprays Medical anesthetic gases, such as ether, chloroform, halothane, and nitrous oxide ("laughing gas") Nitrites Aliphatic nitrites, including cyclohexyl nitrite, an ingredient found in room odorizers; amyl nitrite, which is used for medical purposes; and butyl nitrite (previously used to manufacture perfumes and antifreeze), which is now an illegal substance. Nearly all abused inhalants produce short-term effects similar to anesthetics, which act to slow down the body's functions. When inhaled via the nose or mouth into the lungs in sufficient concentrations, inhalants can cause intoxicating effects. Intoxication usually lasts only a few minutes. However, sometimes users extend this effect for several hours by breathing in inhalants repeatedly. Initially, users may feel slightly stimulated. Successive inhalations make them feel less inhibited and less in control. If use continues, users can lose consciousness. Sniffing highly concentrated amounts of the chemicals in solvents or aerosol sprays can directly induce heart failure and death within minutes. This syndrome, known as "sudden sniffing death," can result from a single session of inhalant use by an otherwise healthy young person. Sudden sniffing death is particularly associated with the abuse of butane, propane, and chemicals in aerosols. High concentrations of inhalants also can cause death from suffocation by displacing oxygen in the lungs and then in the central nervous system so that breathing ceases. Deliberately inhaling from an attached paper or plastic bag or in a closed area greatly increases the chances of suffocation. Even when using aerosols or volatile products for their legitimate purposes (such as painting, cleaning), it is wise to do so in a well-ventilated room or outdoors. Chronic abuse of solvents can cause severe, long-term damage to the brain, the liver, and the kidneys. Other harmful irreversible effects may be caused by abuse of specific solvents.

Abutment   Dico Tools
Tooth or implant to which a fixed prosthesis is anchored. (see Dental Health).

AC   Dico Tools
Abbreviation for a.c. (ante cibum on a prescription); acromioclavicular (shoulder joint); antecubital (crook of elbow).

AC Joint   Dico Tools
Acromioclavicular joint located between the acromion (a projection of the scapula that forms the point of the shoulder) and the clavicle (the collar bone). This is a gliding type of joint. The ligaments that serve to support and strengthen this joint are called the capsular; superior and inferior acromioclavicular; articular disk; and coracoclavicular (trapezoid and conoid) ligaments.

Acalculia   Dico Tools
A form of aphasia characterized by the inability to perform mathematical calculations.

Acampsia   Dico Tools
Stiffening or rigidity of a joint.

Acantha   Dico Tools
A sharp spiny part or structure, such as the spinous process of a vertebra.

Acanthamebiasis   Dico Tools
Infection with amebas of the genus Acanthamoeba that may result in a necrotizing dermal or tissue infection or in meningoencephalitis.

Acanthamoeba   Dico Tools
A free-living ameba found in soil, sewage, and water, several species of which cause acanthamebiasis.

Acanthamoeba   Dico Tools
  A microscopic organism, an amoeba, found in soil, dust and fresh water (lakes, rivers, hot springs and hot tubs). Acanthamoeba also occur in brackish water and sea water as well as in heating, venting, and air conditioner units, humidifiers, and dialysis units. Acanthamoeba can enter the skin through a cut, wound, or through the nostrils and, once inside the body, can travel to the lungs and through the bloodstream to other parts of the body, especially to the central nervous system (the brain and spinal cord). Through improper storage, handling, and disinfection of contact lenses, Acanthamoeba can enter the eye and there cause infection. A particularly dire infection caused by Acanthamoeba called granulomatous amebic encephalitis is characterized by headache, stiff neck, nausea, vomiting, confusion, loss of balance, seizures, and coma that can progress over several weeks and end in death. Acanthamoeba infections occur more frequently in people with compromised immune systems and the chronically ill. Eye and skin infections are generally treatable while infections of the brain are almost always fatal.

Acanthamoeba   Dico Tools
   A microscopic organism, an amoeba, found in soil, dust and fresh water (lakes, rivers, hot springs and hot tubs). Acanthamoeba also occur in brackish water and sea water as well as in heating, venting, and air conditioner units, humidifiers, and dialysis units. Acanthamoeba can enter the skin through a cut, wound, or through the nostrils and, once inside the body, can travel to the lungs and through the bloodstream to other parts of the body, especially to the central nervous system (the brain and spinal cord). Through improper storage, handling, and disinfection of contact lenses, Acanthamoeba can enter the eye and there cause infection. A particularly dire infection caused by Acanthamoeba called granulomatous amebic encephalitis is characterized by headache, stiff neck, nausea, vomiting, confusion, loss of balance, seizures, and coma that can progress over several weeks and end in death. Acanthamoeba infections occur more frequently in people with compromised immune systems and the chronically ill. Eye and skin infections are generally treatable while infections of the brain are almost always fatal.

Acanthamoeba Keratitis   Dico Tools
Infection of the cornea by acanthamoeba, a microscopic water-borne ameba. The disease tends to occur in people who wear contact lens. It can accompany a bacterial infection of the eye. Acanthamoeba keratitis can produce corneal ulceration and result in severe loss of vision and even blindness. Signs and symptoms are persistent redness and pain in the eye. Treatment is with multiple antibiotics, often including antifungal drugs, and sometimes surgery after the infection has subsided

Acanthesthesia   Dico Tools
An abnormal sensation as of a pinprick.

Acanthosis Nigricans   Dico Tools
A skin condition characterized by dark thickened velvety patches, especially in the folds of skin in the axilla (armpit), groin and back of the neck. The condition is complex. It can occur with endocrine diseases such as Cushing disease, tumors of the pituitary, and diabetes mellitus. It is common in people who have insulin resistance -- whose body is not responding correctly to the insulin that they make in their pancreas. Acanthosis nigricans also occurs with underlying malignancies (especially carcinomas of the vicera), administration of certain drugs, and as a genetic disorder inherited in an autosomal dominant manner.

Acapnia   Dico Tools
Less than the normal level of carbon dioxide in the blood. The opposite of hypercapnia. The origin of the word "acapnia" is curious. It comes from the Greek "a-" meaning "without" + "kapnos" meaning "smoke" so acapnia literally means "smokeless" referring to carbon dioxide which is a principal part of smoke.

Acaricide   Dico Tools
An agent, usually a chemical, that kills mites. This class of pesticides is large and includes antibiotic acaricides, carbamate acaricides, formamidine acaricides, mite growth regulators, organophosphate acaricides, and many others. From the Latin acarus, a mite + -cide, to kill.

Speed up.

FDA regulations governing early marketing approval of promising drugs for life-threatening illnesses.

Accelerated Phase Of Leukemia   Dico Tools
Refers to chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML) that is progressing. The number of immature, abnormal white blood cells in the bone marrow and blood is higher than in the chronic phase but not as high as in the blast phase.

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Acceptable Daily Intake   Dico Tools
Estimate of the amount of a substance in food or drinking water, expressed on a body mass basis (usually mg/kg body weight), which can be ingested daily over a lifetime by humans without appreciable health risk. For calculation of the daily intake per person, a standard body mass of 60 kg is used. The acceptable daily intake is normally used for food additives (tolerable daily intake is used for contaminants). Abbreviated ADI.

Access   Dico Tools
1. In general, a means of approaching something. 2. In health care, the opportunity or right to receive health care. 3. In dialysis, the point on the body where a needle or catheter is inserted to gain entry to the bloodstream.

Accessory   Dico Tools
Adjective, Latin accessum = added, hence, supplementary.

Accommodation   Dico Tools
Latin ad = to, and modus = measure, hence, adaptation of the optical power (focussing) of the eye for shorter distances.

Acetabulum   Dico Tools
Latin acetum = vinegar (cf. acetic), and abulum = small receptacle, hence, a vinegar cup, hence, the socket for the head of the femur, adjective - acetabular.

ACETAMINOPHEN (also Known As Paracetomal)   Dico Tools
An analgesic drug used to relieve pain and reduce fever. Tylenol is the most well known brand name.

Acetylcholine   Dico Tools
A neurotransmitter that helps mediate learning and recollection (see Depression).

Achilles Tendinitis   Dico Tools
Inflammation of the Achilles tendon, causing swelling and tenderness at the lower end of the calf where it inserts into the heel bone.

ACHRN   Dico Tools
Advanced Certified Hyperbaric Nurse, by the Baromedical Nurses Association (BNA)

Acoustic   Dico Tools
Adjective, Greek akoustikos, related to hearing.

A syndrome characterized by suppression of the immune system, rendering the body susceptible to various illnesses; the late, symptomatic stage of HIV disease.

ACRN   Dico Tools
AIDS Certified Registered Nurse, by the Association of Nurses in AIDS Care (ANAC)

Acromion   Dico Tools
Greek akros = summit (cf. Acropolis) and omos = shoulder, hence, the tip of the shoulder.

ACTIDIONE   Dico Tools
Trademark name for cycloheximide, a selective antifungal agent.

ACTIGALL   Dico Tools
See ursodiol.

An infection in which a disease-causing microorganism is actively replicating and infecting new cells.

A traditional Chinese healing technique in which finger pressure is applied to specific points on the body to treat disease and ameliorate symptoms.

A traditional Chinese healing technique that involves inserting thin needles into different acupuncture points on the body. Acupuncture is believed to improve the flow of qi, the body's vital energy; it is used for many conditions, including pain and addiction.

ACUTE   Dico Tools
Rapid-onset, short-term initial stage of a disease. Contrast with chronic.

ACUTE HBV   Dico Tools
Initial infection with hepatitis B.

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The initial stage of viral hepatitis following infection. In HCV, acute hepatitis refers to the first six months of infection.

AD   Dico Tools
Associate's degree (two-year degree)

ADA   Dico Tools
See Americans with Disabilities Act.

The combined effect of several drugs that is the sum of the effects that would be produced by each of the drugs in the absence of the others.

Adduction   Dico Tools
Latin ad = to, and ductum = led, hence, movement towards; verb - adduct.

ADEFOVIR (brand Name HEPSERA)   Dico Tools
A nucleoside analogue produced by Gilead Sciences that is used to treat chronic hepatitis B. Adefovir is not recommended as a first line of HBV treatment because of the high rate of drug resistance.

Adenoid   Dico Tools
Greek aden = a gland, eidos = shape or form.

ADHERENCE   Dico Tools
Following a prescribed treatment regimen, including correct dosage, timing, and number of doses per day.

Adhesion   Dico Tools
Latin ad = to, and haesus = stuck, hence, stuck to, e.g., interthalamic adhesion - variable and functionally insignificant.

Adipose   Dico Tools
Latin adeps = fat, hence fatty

Aditus   Dico Tools
Latin ad = to, towards, iter = a way, hence an opening or entrance.

Therapy given in addition to a primary treatment.

Adjuvant Therapy   Dico Tools
Treatment such as chemotherapy, hormonal therapy, or radiation used following surgery to cure, reduce, or control cancer (see Breast Cancer).

Adrenal   Dico Tools
Latin ad = towards, at, ren = kidney, hence situated near the kidney (see suprarenal)

One of a pair of glands located above the kidneys. The adrenal medulla produces hormones such as adrenaline (epinephrine), while the adrenal cortex produces corticosteroids and androgens.

Adrenal Glands   Dico Tools
Two glands (one on top of each kidney) that secrete the hormones cortisol and norepinephrine (see Anxiety, Depression).

Adrenergic   Dico Tools
Adjective, Latin ad = at, ren = kidney, and Greek ergon = work, hence, stimuli which cause the adrenal (suprarenal) gland to produce adrenaline. Used to specify neurons or pathways which use adrenaline as a transmitter.

An undesired action or effect of a drug or other treatment.

AERIAL   Dico Tools
Mycelium: Hyphal units above the colony agar interface.

A type of exercise (e.g., running, swimming) that makes the heart and lungs work harder to supply the muscles with oxygen.

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Aerophagia   Dico Tools
Excessive swallowing of air (see Digestive Health).

AFB   Dico Tools
acid fast bacillus

Afferent   Dico Tools
Adjective, Latin ad = to, and ferent = carrying (cf. ferry), hence, carrying to, e.g., axons carrying information from retina to lateral geniculate nucleus are afferents to that nucleus.

Afferent Lymphatic Vessels   Dico Tools
Vessels that carry lymph into the lymph nodes where it is filtered.

AFP   Dico Tools
Alpha-fetoprotein. A protein normally produced by a developing fetus. AFP levels are usually undetectable in the blood of healthy nonpregnant adults. An elevated level of AFP suggests the presence of either a primary liver cancer or germ cell tumor.

AG-013736   Dico Tools
A substance that is being studied in the treatment of cancer. It belongs to the families of drugs called angiogenesis inhibitors and protein tyrosine kinase inhibitors.

AG2037   Dico Tools
A substance that is being studied in the treatment of cancer. It belongs to the family of drugs called glycinamide ribonucleotide formyl transferase inhibitors.

AG3340   Dico Tools
A substance that is being studied in the treatment of cancer. It is a matrix metalloproteinase inhibitor and belongs to the family of drugs called angiogenesis inhibitors. Also called prinomastat.

Agger Nasi   Dico Tools
Latin = eminence of the nose.

Agonist   Dico Tools
Greek agonistes = rival, hence, a muscle in apparent contest with another. Used for a prime mover.

Agoraphobia   Dico Tools
Fear and avoidance of open spaces and public spaces (see Anxiety).

AIDS   Dico Tools
See acquired immune deficiency syndrome.

Ala   Dico Tools
Latin wing, hence a wing-like process; plural - alae.

Alaeque   Dico Tools
Latin ala = wing (ala of nose), suffix -que = and, hence levator labii superioris alaeque nasi muscles = lifter of the upper lip and ala of nose.

An enzyme (also called alanine transaminase) produced in the liver when the membranes of liver cells break down. ALT levels are measured to help assess the degree of liver damage and determine how well HCV treatment is working. A normal level is below 48 IU/L.

Alba   Dico Tools
Latin albus = white

Albicans   Dico Tools
Latin = becoming white; albus = white

ALBUFERON (albumin-interferon Alpha 2b)   Dico Tools
A form of time-released interferon under study to treat chronic HCV. Developed by Human Gnome Sciences.

Albuginea   Dico Tools
Latin albus = white, Greek gen = form, hence, like boiled white of an egg.

ALBUMIN   Dico Tools
A blood protein produced by the liver that plays a role in maintaining normal blood volume. A low albumin level is associated with liver cirrhosis. A normal level is 3.2-5.0g.

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A disorder characterized by excessive consumption of and dependence on alcohol.

Aldosterone   Dico Tools
A hormone secreted by the adrenal glands that signals the kidneys to conserve sodium and water; the result is higher blood pressure (see Hypertension).

ALFERON   Dico Tools
Brand name of human leukocyte-derived interferon-alpha-n3, produced by ISI Pharmaceuticals.

Alimentary   Dico Tools
Adjective, Latin alimentum = food, e.g., alimentary canal.

Alimentary Canal   Dico Tools
Another term for the gastrointestinal tract or the digestive tract (see Digestive Health).

An enzyme found in various body tissues and fluids. Abnormal alkaline phosphatase levels are associated with liver disease and bone and muscle damage. A normal level is 35-125 IU/L.

ALKALOID   Dico Tools
An organic compound found in plants.

Allantois   Dico Tools
Greek allantos = sausage, eidos = like, form.

Allele   Dico Tools
Alternate forms of a gene at a distinct location (locus) on a chromosome.

Allergen   Dico Tools
A harmless substance that triggers the immune system to mount an inappropriate response known as an allergic reaction. In asthma, this substance is almost always inhaled (see Allergies, Asthma).

Allergic   Dico Tools
Having an overly sensitive immune response to one or more harmless substances (See atopic, Allergies).

ALLERGY   Dico Tools
An abnormal immune response to an antigen (allergen) that does not normally cause an adverse reaction (e.g., animal dander, pollen). Allergic reactions are caused by the release of histamine by mast cells, a type of white blood cell. Allergic symptoms may include runny nose (rhinitis), skin rash, asthma, and anaphylactic shock.

Allocortex   Dico Tools
Greek allos = other (than usual), and Latin cortex = bark, hence non-laminated external grey matter. It refers to paleo- or archi-cortex, as distinct from neocortex.

ALLOGRAFT   Dico Tools
A transplant of genetically matched cells, tissues, or organs between two members of the same species.

Allopathic Medicine   Dico Tools
The traditional forms of medical practice.

ALLOPATHY (adjective ALLOPATHIC)   Dico Tools
Western medicine; the conventional medical practices used most often in the U.S.

ALOPECIA   Dico Tools
Hair loss.

Alpha Cells   Dico Tools
Cells that secrete the hormone glucagon; located in the islets of Langerhans of the pancreas (see Diabetes).

See interferon-alpha.

A compound that enhances the antioxidant effect of vitamin C and vitamin E, and may help reduce liver inflammation and protect liver cells from damage.

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A protein, measurable in the blood, that is often elevated in people with liver cancer.

ALT   Dico Tools
See alanine aminotransferase.

Alternative And Complementary Remedies   Dico Tools
These include holistic medicine, folk remedies, and alternative therapies (herbal medications or extracts, homeopathy, Ayurvedics, and traditional Chinese medicine (TCM). These complementary and alternative treatments are mostly based on anecdotal evidence, primarily from individuals who report their own successful use of the treatment. One needs to apply scientific methods to establish the validity of the anecdotal evidence.

Any type of treatment that is not considered standard or conventional practice in a given culture. In Western countries, traditional Chinese medicine, homeopathy, naturopathy, and chiropractic are considered alternative therapies.

Alveolar Bone   Dico Tools
Part of the jaw bone that supports the teeth. (see Dental Health).

Alveolus   Dico Tools
Latin a basin, hence any small hollow. Plural - alveoli, adjective - alveolar.

Alveus   Dico Tools
Latin = tray. The allusion is unclear. The alveus is a layer of fibres on the free surface of the hippocampus.

AMANTADINE (brand Name SYMMETREL)   Dico Tools
A drug that is used to treat influenza and is also under study as a treatment for chronic hepatitis C.

Ambiguus   Dico Tools
Adjective, Latin = doubtful (nucleus ambiguus).

Ambulatory   Dico Tools
Able to walk. Compare with non-ambulatory.

Absence of menstrual periods.

A federal law that requires employers to offer certain protections and benefits (including "reasonable accommodation") to persons with disabilities that substantially limit major life activities.

AMINO ACID   Dico Tools
An organic compound that is a basic structural unit of peptides and proteins. There are over 100 amino acids, eight of which are essential for human metabolism.

Amino Acids   Dico Tools
Small organic molecules which are the building blocks of peptides and proteins.

An enzyme (e.g., ALT, AST) produced by the liver that catalyzes the transfer of amino acids. Abnormally high aminotransferase levels in the blood suggest liver damage.

AMMONIA   Dico Tools
A toxic metabolic byproduct that is normally excreted in the urine.

AMNESIA   Dico Tools
Memory loss.

Brand name of a PCR-based viral load test for HCV and HIV.

Ampulla   Dico Tools
Latin = a two-handed flask, a local dilatation of a tube.

Amygdale   Dico Tools
A region of the brain that processes emotionally charged memories, including fear (see Anxiety, Depression).

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Amygdaloid   Dico Tools
Adjective, Greek amygdala = almond, and eidos = shape or form, hence, amygdaloid body is an almond-shaped mass.

Amylacea   Dico Tools
Greek amylon = starch, hence, starchy.

Amyloid   Dico Tools
A proteinaceous fibrillar material deposited in various tissues and organs, sometimes secondary to a chronic inflammatory disease.

ANA   Dico Tools
See antinuclear antibody

Anaesthesia   Dico Tools
Greek an = negative, and aisthesis = sensation, hence, loss of sensation; adjective - anaesthetic.

Analgesia   Dico Tools
Pain relief, e.g. by such drugs as paracetamol, NSAIDs or narcotics. These pain-relieving drugs are called analgesics (see NSAIDs).

ANALGESIC   Dico Tools
A drug or therapy that reduces pain.

Oral/anal sex.

Analogous   Dico Tools
Greek ana = up, apart, towards, and logos = word. A part with similar function through different morphology e.g., fish gills and mammalian lungs (c.f. homologous).

ANAMORPH   Dico Tools
A somatic or reproductive structure that originates without nuclear recombination (asexual reproduction). Cf. Teleomorph.

Anaphylaxis   Dico Tools
A severe, potentially life-threatening systemic allergic reaction. Also called anaphylactic shock (see Allergies).

Anastomosis   Dico Tools
A surgical connection between tubular structures performed after a diseased section has been removed or to create a new connection.

Anatomy   Dico Tools
Greek ana = up, and tome = a cutting, hence cutting up of a body (c.f. dissection).

Anconeus   Dico Tools
Greek ancon = elbow, hence the muscle attached to the (lateral surface of the) olecranon.

Androgens   Dico Tools
Primarily male steroid hormones that are produced in the adrenal glands and ovaries in women (see Menopause).

ANECDOTAL   Dico Tools
Evidence based on reports of specific individual cases rather than controlled clinical studies.

ANEMIA (adjective ANEMIC)   Dico Tools
Reduced number of red blood cells or reduced ability of blood to carry oxygen. There are several types of anemia, all with different causes. Symptoms may include fatigue, weakness, pale skin, and difficulty breathing.

ANESTHESIA (adjective ANESTHETIC)   Dico Tools
An agent that controls pain. Localized anesthesia blocks pain in a given area; general anesthesia produces unconsciousness.

Aneurysm   Dico Tools
Greek angeion = blood vessel, and eurys = wide, hence a pathological dilatation of a blood vessel.

Angina   Dico Tools
Chest pain or discomfort that develops when the heart muscle isn't getting enough oxygen and blood; also known as angina pectoris (see Cardiovascular Health).

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Chest pain that occurs when the heart muscle receives inadequate oxygen.

Angiodysplasia   Dico Tools
Abnormal growth of the lymph and blood vessels including aplasia, hyperplasia, and hypoplasia.

Angiography   Dico Tools
Greek angeion (v.s.) and graphe = a record, hence a picture of a blood vessel which has been injected with a dye or radiopaque material.

Angion   Dico Tools
A segment of lymphatic vessel between two valves; also known as a lymphangion.

Angioplasty   Dico Tools
A procedure used to widen narrowed arteries, most commonly by inserting a thin tube, or catheter, into the affected artery and inflating a balloon (see Cardiovascular Health).

Angiotensin   Dico Tools
A protein that increases blood pressure by constricting blood vessels and stimulating the release of aldosterone. The inactive form is angiotensin I, and the active form is angiotensin II (see Hypertension).

Angulus Venosus   Dico Tools
The junction of internal jugular and subclavian veins. The left and right lymphatic ducts empty into the subclavian veins near this junction.

Anhidrosis   Dico Tools
(anhydrosis, anidrosis) Greek an = negative, and hidros = sweat, hence absence of sweating, typical of skin deprived of its sympathetic innervation.

Ankle   Dico Tools
The region between the leg and the foot.

Ankylosing Hyperostosis   Dico Tools
Also called Forestier's disease or diffuse idiopathic skeletal hyperostosis (DISH). It causes excessive new bone formation along the spine and other sites (at entheses), can result in stiff spine that may be confused with AS.

Ankylosing Spondylitis (AS)   Dico Tools
An inflammatory arthritic disorder, primarily of the axial skeleton (sacroiliac joints and spine), but can affect hip and shoulder joints and infrequently the peripheral joints. It causes chronic back pain and leads to stiffness of the spine. Most of the affected individuals have the HLA-B27 gene.

Ankylosis   Dico Tools
Fusion, which may be fibrous, or bony (as in AS).

Annulus   Dico Tools
Diminutive of Latin anus = ring, hence little ring.

Annulus Fibrosus   Dico Tools
The tough outer fibrous layer of the intervertebral disc.

ANOREXIA   Dico Tools
Loss of appetite for food.

ANP   Dico Tools
Adult Nurse Practitioner, A job title or an acronym for a program name (ANP Program)

Ansa   Dico Tools
Latin a handle or loop. Applicable to nerves.

Anserinus   Dico Tools
Latin anser = a goose, hence like a goose, plural - anserina.

Antagonist   Dico Tools
Greek anti = against, and agonistes = rival, hence a muscle which may oppose an agonist.

Anteflexion   Dico Tools
Latin ante = before, and flexere = to bend, hence anterior angulation between the body and cervix of the uterus.

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Anterior   Dico Tools
Comparative of Latin ante = before, in front.

Anteversion   Dico Tools
Latin ante = before, and versum = turned, hence, the anterior angulation between cervix uteri and the vagina.

A fungus (dermatophyte) that preferentially grows on man rather than other animals or the soil.

An agent that kills or inhibits the growth of bacteria.

Antibodies   Dico Tools
Proteins produced by white blood cells (plasma cells and B lymphocytes) that confer immunity.

A protein produced by plasma cells (a type of immune system white blood cell) when they encounter foreign invaders. Specific antibodies bind to specific invaders, or antigens, and target them for destruction. The presence of antibodies indicates current infection with or past exposure to a pathogen.

The presence in the blood of antibodies against a specific pathogen such as HCV.

An assay that detects the presence of antibodies in a blood sample; ELISA and RIBA tests are used to detect HCV antibodies.

A drug that reduces or delays blood coagulation or clotting.

A drug that prevents or reduces convulsions or seizures.

A drug that elevates the mood and alleviates mental depression. There are several types, including selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), MAO inhibitors, and tricyclics.

Antidromic   Dico Tools
Adjective, Greek a = negative, and dromos = current, hence conducting in the opposite direction to the usual.

A drug that relieves nausea and vomiting.

A drug or other agent than prevents or reduces the development of liver fibrosis or cirrhosis.

ANTIGEN   Dico Tools
Any agent or substance that stimulates an immune response. Antigens are often foreign invaders such as bacteria or viruses.

Antigen-presenting Cell   Dico Tools
A cell that ingests and processes foreign substance (e.g. from invading viruses or bacteria) and displays the resulting antigen fragments (small peptides) on its surface to activate those T cells that respond specifically to that antigen.

A drug that blocks the action of histamine, a chemical messenger in the body. Antihistamines are used to prevent or alleviate allergic reactions and to reduce stomach acid production.

Antihistamines   Dico Tools
Drugs that block the action of histamine, thereby dampening the ferocity of an immediate allergic reaction (see Allergies).

Antihypertensives   Dico Tools
Medications used to treat high blood pressure (see Hypertension).

Antileukotrienes   Dico Tools
Drugs that block the action of leukotrienes. Used in the treatment of

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An antibody that attacks cell nuclei.

A substance that reduces oxidation by binding with and neutralizing free radicals. The body produces natural antioxidants, and they are also available in foods and dietary supplements (e.g., vitamin E, selenium).

Antipsychotic   Dico Tools
A drug used to treat psychotic symptoms, such as disordered thoughts, delusions, or hallucinations (see Depression).

A drug that suppresses the activity or replication of retroviruses. Different types of antiretroviral drugs (e.g., reverse transcriptase inhibitors, protease inhibitors) interfere with various stages of the virus life cycle.

Compounds that target gene sequences associated with diseases to interfere with the disease process.

An agent that blocks the synthesis of disease-causing proteins by binding with and preventing translation of RNA (genetic material). HCV antisense oligodeoxynucleotides are directed against a specific HCV genetic sequence and inhibit viral gene expression.

ANTIVIRAL   Dico Tools
A drug that suppresses the activity or replication of viruses.

Antrum   Dico Tools
Greek antron - cave, hence a space in a bone or organ.

ANUERYSM   Dico Tools
An abnormally stretched, dilated section of a blood vessel that is prone to bursting.

Anulus   Dico Tools
Diminutive of Latin anus = ring, hence little ring.

Anus   Dico Tools
Latin = ring, adjective - anal.

A drug that helps relieve mental anxiety.

AOCN   Dico Tools
Advanced Oncology Certified Nurse, by the Oncology Nursing Certification Corp (ONCC)

AOCNP   Dico Tools
Advanced Oncology Certified Nurse Practitioner, By the Oncology Nursing Certification Corp (ONCC)

AOCNS   Dico Tools
Advanced Oncology Certified Clinical Nurse Specialist, by the Oncology Nursing Certification Corporation (ONCC)

Aortitis   Dico Tools
Inflammation of the aorta, which is the main artery that carries the blood from the heart to ultimately supply the needs of the body.

Anemia due to a reduced level of red blood cells caused by the inability of stem cells in the bone marrow to produce new cells. Certain drugs suppress the bone marrow and can lead to aplastic anemia as a side effect.

Apolipoproteins   Dico Tools
Proteins that combine with cholesterol and triglyceride to form lipoproteins (see High Cholesterol).

Aponeurosis   Dico Tools
Greek apo = from, and neuron = tendon (later applied to nerve cell and its fibres), used for sheet-like tendons. Adjective - aponeurotic.

Apophysis   Dico Tools
Greek apo = from, and physis = growth, hence, a bony process - reserved for the articular process of a vertebra; adjective - apophysial.

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Appendage   Dico Tools
Latin appendere = to hang on, supplement.

Appendix   Dico Tools
Latin appendere = to hang on, supplement.

Apposition   Dico Tools
Latin appositus = placed at, hence, in contact, in juxtaposition.

APRN,BC Or ABRN, BC   Dico Tools
An advanced practice certification for nurse practitioners, clinical nurse specialists, and specialists in advanced diabetes management, by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC)

Advanced Practice Registered Nurse, Board Certified-Palliative Care Management, by the Hospice and Palliative Nurses Association (HPNA) in assoc with the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC)

Aqueduct   Dico Tools
Latin aqua = water, and ductus = drawn or led off, hence a channel for conducting fluid, e.g. the cerebral aqueduct of the midbrain, which transmits fluid from the 3rd to the 4th ventricle.

Arachnoid   Dico Tools
Adjective, Greek arachne = spider, and eidos = shape or form, hence like a spiders web. This middle layer of the three meninges is spread web-like over the brain when the dura has been removed.

Arachnoiditis   Dico Tools
Fibrosis (scarring) of the membrane covering the spinal cord and spinal nerve roots as they pass through the spinal canal. This results in entrapment of these nerve roots that may cause chronic back and leg pain and neurological dysfunction. It can occur following spinal surgery, and has also been associated in the past with the use of an X-ray contrast medium. Very rarely it can occur in the lower end of the spinal canal in AS without any apparent reason, and is the cause of cauda equina syndrome in this disease.

Arbor Vitae   Dico Tools
Latin arbor = tree, and vita = life, hence, resembling the tree of life. This colourful term is used to describe the pattern of cerebellar folia seen in a median section.

Archaeocerebellum   Dico Tools
Greek archi = first, hence the oldest part of the cerebellum, which is the flocculonodular lobe.

Archaeopallium   Dico Tools
Greek archi = first, and pallium = cloak, hence the cortex which developed first in vertebrates. Often synonymous with hippocampal formation.

Archicerebellum   Dico Tools
Greek archi = first, hence the oldest part of the cerebellum, which is the flocculonodular lobe.

Archipallium   Dico Tools
Greek archi = first, and pallium = cloak, hence the cortex which developed first in vertebrates. Often synonymous with hippocampal formation.

Archistriatum   Dico Tools
Greek archi = first, and Latin striatum = streaked or fluted.

Arcuate   Dico Tools
Latin arcuatum = curved or arched.

Arcus   Dico Tools
Latin an arch, Latin arcuatum = curved or arched.

Area   Dico Tools
A part of a surface.

Areola   Dico Tools
Latin small, open space.

ARM   Dico Tools
A group of participants in a clinical trial who receive the same treatment (or placebo).

Arrector   Dico Tools
Latin adrectus = raised, hence, arrector pili = a hair-raising muscle.

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Arrhythmias   Dico Tools
Disorders of the heart's pumping rhythm (see Cardiovascular Health).

Arterial Resistance   Dico Tools
The pressure that the artery walls exert on blood flow; in general, the less elastic the arteries, the greater the arterial resistance and the higher the blood pressure (see Hypertension).

Examination of arteries (after injection of a dye) to look for damage and blockages.

Arterioles   Dico Tools
The smallest arteries of the circulatory system.

Artery   Dico Tools
Latin arteria (which originally meant air- or wind-pipe, and later a blood vessel carrying blood away from the heart).

Joint pain.

ARTHRITIS   Dico Tools
Joint inflammation.

Arthritis Mutilans   Dico Tools
An extremely destructive form of arthritis; the term is usually applied to a very severe form of psoriatic arthritis.

Arthrocentesis   Dico Tools
Taking a sample of joint fluid out for testing, obtained by a needle puncture of the joint. Sometimes all of the joint fluid may be aspirated as a part of treatment.

(pl. arthroconidia) A thallic conidium released by the fragmentation or lysis of hypha. It is not notably larger than the hypha from which it was produced, and separation occurs at a septum.

Arthrodesis   Dico Tools
A surgically induced or spontaneous fusion of a joint.

Arthropathy   Dico Tools
General term for joint disorder (see Arthritis).

Arthroplasty   Dico Tools
Surgical procedure to alter a joint, e.g. its excision and replacement by an artificial joint.

Arthroscopy   Dico Tools
Inspection of the inside of a joint, e.g. for obtaining a biopsy, usually through a fiber optic instrument called arthroscope.

See arthroconidium.

Articular Cartilage   Dico Tools
Tough, rubbery tissue that forms the surface of bones within joints (see Arthritis).

Articulation   Dico Tools
Latin artus = joint, hence, articulate - to form a joint.

Arytenoid   Dico Tools
Greek arytaina = pitcher, and eidos = shape or form, hence the arytenoid cartilage because it curves like a spout.

A method of analyzing the results of a clinical trial that includes only participants who successfully complete a course of the treatment, excluding those who drop out early. Contrast with intent-to-treat analysis.

ASCITES   Dico Tools
Accumulation of fluid in the abdominal (peritoneal) cavity. Ascites may be a symptom of advanced liver disease with decompensated cirrhosis.

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An enzyme (also called aspartate transaminase) produced in the liver. When liver cells are damaged, AST is released. Elevated levels may indicate liver disease, but are also seen in people with muscle damage. A normal level is below 42 IU/L.

Aspect   Dico Tools
A view of more than one surface.

Aspera   Dico Tools
Latin rough.

Aspiration   Dico Tools
The use of a hollow needle and syringe to suction out fluid or cells from a cyst or tumor (see Breast Cancer).

ASSAY   Dico Tools
A test, especially one used to detect the presence or amount of an agent in the blood or body tissues.

AST   Dico Tools
See aspartate aminotransferase.

Asterion   Dico Tools
Greek asterios = starry.

Asthma   Dico Tools
A chronic inflammatory disease of the airways that typically starts in childhood, although some people develop asthma later in life (see Allergies).

An herb used to stimulate the immune system. It is an ingredient in many Chinese herbal formulas.

Astrocyte   Dico Tools
Greek astron = star, and kytos = cell, hence a star-shaped (neuroglial) cell.

Not feeling or showing outward symptoms or signs of a disease.

Ataxia,   Dico Tools
Greek a = negative, and taxis = order, hence inability to co-ordinate the voluntary muscles.

A condition in which blood vessels harden and loose their elasticity due to the build-up of fatty material (plaques).

Atherosclerotic Plaque   Dico Tools
A cholesterol-rich deposit on an artery wall (see High Cholesterol).

Atlas   Dico Tools
Greek atlao = I sustain. Atlas was a mythical god who sustained the globe on his shoulders. The 1st vertebra sustains the skull, and its upper surface bears 2 concavities which suggest Atlas' palms, not shoulders.

Atopic   Dico Tools
Having an inherited predisposition to allergies. The term is often used interchangeably with "allergic," although not all allergies have a genetic component (see Allergies).

Atopic Dermatitis (eczema)   Dico Tools
A chronic inflammatory skin condition that usually initially appears in young children who have an inherited predisposition to allergies. Many children with atopic dermatitis go on to develop atopic (allergic) rhinitis or atopic (allergic) asthma (see Allergies).

Atopic Rhinitis   Dico Tools
A seasonal or year-round allergic condition marked by sneezing, runny nose, and congestion. The most common type of allergy, it is caused by an IgE-mediated immune response (see Allergies).

Atopy   Dico Tools
The inherited tendency to develop allergies. The three major atopic diseases are atopic rhinitis, atopic asthma, and atopic dermatitis (see Allergies).

Atresia   Dico Tools
Greek a = negative, and tresis = a hole, hence an absence or closure of a body orifice or tubular organ

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Atrium   Dico Tools
Latin = entrance hall, adjective - atrial.

Atrophy   Dico Tools
Greek a = negative, and trophe = food, hence wasting from starvation.

Atypical Lobular Hyperplasia   Dico Tools
Abnormally shaped cells multiplying excessively in the normal tissue of a breast lobule (see Breast Cancer).

Auditory   Dico Tools
Latin audire = to hear, hence, pertaining to the ear.

Auricle   Dico Tools
Latin auricula = a little ear.

Auscultate   Dico Tools
Latin ausculto = to listen to, hence, auscultation, the act of listening to a bodily activity.

An antibody that targets the body's own tissues.

Autoimmune Disease   Dico Tools
A disease in which the immune system attacks and destroys the body's own tissues that it mistakenly believes to be foreign.

A condition in which a person's immune system produces antibodies that attack the body's own tissues. Several conditions associated with advanced hepatitis C (e.g., lichen planus, Sj?gren's syndrome) appear to have an autoimmune aspect.

An inflammatory, autoimmune condition in which the immune system attacks the thyroid gland.

Autonomic   Dico Tools
Adjective, Greek auto = self, and nomos = law, hence self-regulating.

Autonomic Nervous System   Dico Tools
The nerve pathways, starting with the hypothalamus in the brain, that control vital functions like heart rate, body temperature, and blood pressure. It includes two subsystems

Autonomic Neuropathy   Dico Tools
Nerve damage that affects the autonomic nervous system, which controls digestive, bladder, bowel, cardiac, and sexual function (see Diabetes).

Axial Arthritis   Dico Tools
Arthritis in the spine and/or neighboring joints, especially the sacroiliac joints, as in AS, in contrast to arthritis of peripheral (limb) joints.

Axilla   Dico Tools
Latin armpit.

Axillary   Dico Tools
Pertaining to the arm pit area.

Axillary Nodes   Dico Tools
The lymph nodes located under the arms.

Axillary Web Syndrome   Dico Tools
A complication following a mastectomy in which the patient develops within the affected armpit a visible web of skin overlying a cord of tissue that is made tight and painful by certain shoulder motions.

Axis   Dico Tools
Latin axis = the central line of a body or part thereof, especially the imaginary line around which rotation takes place.

Axon   Dico Tools
Latin axis = axis, hence the main process of a neuron conducting impulses away from the cell body.

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AYURVEDA   Dico Tools
A system of traditional medicine practiced in India.

Azygos   Dico Tools
Adjective, Greek a = negative, and zygos = paired, hence, unpaired.

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