Medical Dictionary

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An alphabetical listing of General terms and items.

B Cell   Dico Tools
A type of lymphocyte (white blood cell). B cells, together with T cells, are the "big guns" of the immune system response to an invasion by a foreign molecule (see Allergies).

B Cells (B Lymphocytes)   Dico Tools
Antibody-producing white blood cells, which mature in the bone marrow. The letter B originally came from bursa of Fabricius where B lymphocytes originate in chickens, but has subsequently been extended to imply the bone marrow.

A type of immune system white blood cell. B-cells mature into plasma cells that produce antibodies.

BA   Dico Tools
Bachelor of Arts

BACTERIUM (plural BACTERIA)   Dico Tools
A simple single-celled microorganism. Bacteria are classified by their shape (e.g., rod, spirochete), staining properties (Gram positive or Gram negative) and habitat (aerobic, anaerobic).

Bamboo Spine   Dico Tools
X-ray appearance of spine in advanced AS because of spinal fusion producing a bamboo-like appearance

Bariatric Surgery   Dico Tools
One of several stomach operations that cause therapeutic weight loss. Also called gastric surgery (See Weight Management).

BASE   Dico Tools
The junction of a bud and the mother cell of a yeast.

BASELINE   Dico Tools
An initial or known value (e.g., ALT level, HCV viral load) against which later measurements can be compared.

Basilar   Dico Tools
Adjective, Latin basis = base.

Basilic   Dico Tools
Adjective, Greek basilikos = royal (king-sized).

BB(ASCP)   Dico Tools
Technologist in Blood Banking by the American Society for Clinical Pathology Board of Registry

BCM   Dico Tools
BCM (Body Cell Mass) represents the cellular, metabolically active body mass. Not included is the extracellular fluid in the metabolically active tissue.

BDentSci, BDSc   Dico Tools
Bachelor of Dental Science

BDNA   Dico Tools
See branched-chain DNA assay.

BDS   Dico Tools
Bachelor of Dental Surgery

A written, self-report questionnaire used to gauge clinical depression.

A disease that presents as ulcerations in the eyes, mouth and genitals but can affect any organ of the body.

BENIGN   Dico Tools
A mild, non-lethal illness, especially a non-cancerous tumor. Contrast with malignant.

Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH)   Dico Tools
A noncancerous enlargement of the prostate that can interfere with urination (see Urinary Incontinence).

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Benzodiazepines   Dico Tools
Medications that work by attaching to benzodiazepine-GABA receptors, helping to maintain levels of the neurotransmitter GABA in the brain (see Anxiety).

Benzopyrones   Dico Tools
Drugs thought to remove excess protein and fluid from a limb affected with lymphedema. This drug therapy is used in Europe; however, its effectiveness is still in question. In the United States, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not approved the use of these drugs.

Beta Blockers   Dico Tools
Medications used to treat a variety of illnesses, including heart disease, high blood pressure, and migraine headaches. They function in exactly the opposite way from beta-2 agonists. They can worsen asthma control and cause asthma flare-ups (see Asthma).

Beta Cells   Dico Tools
Cells that make and secrete insulin; located in the islets of Langerhans of the pancreas (see Diabetes).

Beta-agonists   Dico Tools
Members of one family of bronchodilator medicines. Beta-2 agonist drugs share a similar chemical structure and a common mechanism of action. They are all related to adrenaline (epinephrine) (see Asthma).

BHS   Dico Tools
Bachelor of Health Science

BHyg   Dico Tools
Bachelor of Hygiene

BIAS   Dico Tools
In a clinical trial, a false association that results from to the failure to account for some skewing or influencing factor.

Biceps   Dico Tools
Latin bis = double, and caput = head, hence 2-headed, adjective - bicipital.

BID   Dico Tools
Taken twice daily.

Bifid   Dico Tools
Adjective, Latin bis = double, and findo = to split.

Bifurcate   Dico Tools
Latin bis = double, and furco = fork, hence to divide into two.

Bilateral   Dico Tools
Affecting both sides of the body.

BILE   Dico Tools
A yellowish-green fluid produced by the liver that aids in the digestion of fats and the excretion of toxins.

BILE DUCT   Dico Tools
The passage that carries bile from the liver to the small intestine.

BILIRUBIN   Dico Tools
A yellowish pigment released when red blood cells are broken down. Normally bilirubin is processed and excreted by the liver. An excess level of bilirubin in the blood (hyperbilirubinemia) may indicate liver damage, and can lead to jaundice (yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes), pale-colored stools, and dark urine. A normal bilirubin level is below 1.3mg.

A protein synthesized by the liver that binds to and transports substances such as vitamins, minerals, hormones, and fats.

The degree to which a drug or other substance is absorbed and circulated in the body.

A favorable response to treatment as indicated by normalization of blood values (e.g., liver enzyme levels).

Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis   Dico Tools
Also known as bioimpedance and BIA.

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A technique in which people learn to use signals from their own bodies to influence physiological functions.

Natural pigments found in fruits and vegetables that increase absorption of vitamin C.

Bioimpedance   Dico Tools
Is a non-invasive method of determining the composition of body tissues to evaluate the presence of body fluids such as lymph; Also known as known as bioelectrical impedance analysis or BIA.

Biologic Response Modifiers   Dico Tools
Drugs which are also called biologicals for short, and include anti-TNF drugs infliximab (Remicade) and etanercept (Enbrel).

See biochemical response.

Biological Variability   Dico Tools
Fluctuations that occur naturally over time in the levels of a substance such as cholesterol in a person's body (see High Cholesterol).

Biopsy   Dico Tools
Removal of a small tissue specimen for examination.

BIOPSY (BX)   Dico Tools
A procedure in which a sample of cells or tissue is taken for laboratory examination. Liver biopsies are used to monitor liver disease progression in people with HCV.

Bipennate   Dico Tools
Adjective, Latin bis = double, and pinna = feather, hence converging from 2 sides.

BIS   Dico Tools
BIS (Bioimpedance spectroscopy) is a technology that measures body impedance in a frequency range between 5kHz and 1MHz. Using a physiological model, the impedance values are used to determine body composition.

Bisphosphonates   Dico Tools
Drugs used to treat osteoporosis because they inhibit bone resorption.

Bladder Neck   Dico Tools
The junction of the bladder and the urethra (see Urinary Incontinence).

BLINDING   Dico Tools
A method of conducting clinical trials in which participants do not know who is taking an experimental treatment, a standard (control) treatment, or a placebo. In a blinded study, the volunteers do not know what treatment (if any) they are receiving. In a double-blind study, neither the volunteers nor the researchers administering the treatment know who is receiving what. Blinding is done to reduce bias in drug trials. In the case of medical necessity, a study may be unblinded to reveal who is receiving what treatment.

The infusion of blood or blood components into an individual for the treatment of a medical condition. Transfusions may be homologous (from a donor) or autologous (previously stored blood from the recipient).

BLOOD-BORNE   Dico Tools
A pathogen that is transmitted through direct blood-to-blood contact, for example, through sharing dirty needles or through a blood transfusion.

BM BCH   Dico Tools
Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery

BM Or BMed   Dico Tools
Bachelor of Medicine (designation of doctor in some areas)

BMedBiol   Dico Tools
Bachelor of Medical Biology

BMedSci Or BMS   Dico Tools
Bachelor of Medical Science

BMI   Dico Tools
The BMI (Body Mass Index) represents body weight in relation to body surface area (kg/m2).

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BMic   Dico Tools
Bachelor of Microbiology

BMT   Dico Tools
Bachelor of Medical Technology

BN   Dico Tools
Bachelor of Nursing

BO   Dico Tools
Bachelor of Osteopathy

Body   Dico Tools
The main part.

Body Mass Index   Dico Tools
A number that indicates body weight adjusted for height that may be further modified for age; BMI.

A measurement of body fat determined by dividing a person's weight (in kilograms) by height (in meters squared).

BODYWORK   Dico Tools
Healing techniques (e.g., massage therapy, reflexology) that involve manipulating or applying pressure to the body.

BONE MARROW   Dico Tools
The soft, spongy material inside certain long bones where blood cells are produced.

Bone Mass   Dico Tools
The total amount of bone tissue in the body (see Osteoporosis).

Bone Mineral Density (BMD)   Dico Tools
The amount of mineralized bone tissue in a given area, usually calculated in grams per square centimeter (see Osteoporosis).

Border   Dico Tools
See margin.

Bowel   Dico Tools
A word commonly used for the small and large intestines (see gut, large intestine, small intestine).

BP   Dico Tools
Blood pressure

BP Dia   Dico Tools
Diastolic blood pressure

BP Or BPharm   Dico Tools
Bachelor of Pharmacy

BP Pre   Dico Tools
Blood pressure before treatment

BP Sys   Dico Tools
Systolic blood pressure

BPH   Dico Tools
Bachelor of Public Health

BPHN   Dico Tools
Bachelor of Public Health Nursing

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Brachiocephalic   Dico Tools
Latin brachium = arm, and Greek kephale = head, hence a blood vessel related to the upper limb and head.

Brachium   Dico Tools
Latin = arm, adjective - brachial.

BRAIN FOG   Dico Tools
Mild mental confusion, memory loss, and/or lack of concentration and alertness. May be a symptom of toxic chemical build-up due to impaired liver function. See hepatic encephalopathy.

Brain Imaging   Dico Tools
A variety of technologies, such as computed tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), functional MRI (fMRI), and positron emission tomography (PET), used to examine the structure or function of different regions of the brain (see Anxiety, Depression).

An test that measures the amount of virus (viral load) in plasma or tissues using a chemical signal emitted by viral genetic material.

Branchia   Dico Tools
Greek = gills, adjective - branchial.

Brand Name   Dico Tools
The brand name (trademark) of a drug is coined by the manufacturer in agreement with the regulating agencies, unlike the generic name which indicates its active ingredients. For example, celecoxib is the generic name for the drug whose brand name is Celebrex. The brand name starts with a capital letter but the generic name does not. Several brand name drugs can have the same generic name if they contain the same active ingredient. Thus, Motrin and Aleve are both brand names for the generic drug ibuprofen.

The return of detectable viral load or high ALT levels in a person who had previously achieved a good virological or biochemical treatment response.

Bregma   Dico Tools
From a Greek word implying moist, referring to the site of the anterior fontanelle (q.v.), a little fountain, the site of junction of the coronal and sagittal sutures, where the brain can be felt pulsating in infancy.

Brevis   Dico Tools
Latin = short - cf. brief.

Bronchial Tubes   Dico Tools
The system of branching tubes that carries air through the lungs to the tiny air sacs of the lungs. There, oxygen can be passed into the blood and carbon dioxide released to the air (see Asthma).

Bronchiole   Dico Tools
Diminutive of bronchus, hence a small bronchus (bronchi have cartilage in their walls, bronchioles have no cartilage).

Bronchodilator   Dico Tools
A type of medication that acts to open the breathing passages primarily by relaxing the muscles surrounding the bronchial tubes (see Asthma).

Bronchus   Dico Tools
Derivation unhelpful - a branch of the trachea, adjective - bronchial.

BS Or BSc   Dico Tools
Bachelor of Science

BScN Or BSN   Dico Tools
Bachelor of Science in Nursing

BScPh Or BSPh   Dico Tools
Bachelor of Science in Pharmacy

BSM Or BScM   Dico Tools
Bachelor of Science in Medicine

BSW   Dico Tools
Bachelor of Social Work or Bachelor of Science in Social Work Most states require social workers to pass a licensing exam

Buccal   Dico Tools
Adjective, Latin bucca = cheek.

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Buccinator   Dico Tools
Latin = trumpeter - hence the muscle which blows air out from the cheek under pressure.

BUD   Dico Tools
A type of asexual reproduction commonly found in yeasts.

BUDDING   Dico Tools
The emergence of newly produced virus particles through a host cell membrane.

Bulbus   Dico Tools
Latin = bulb or onion.

Bulla   Dico Tools
Latin = bubble.

BUN (Blood Urea Nitrogen)   Dico Tools
A test that measures the amount of a certain waste product (nitrogen) excreted by the kidneys.

BUPLEURUM   Dico Tools
An herb traditionally used in Chinese medicine to treat liver conditions.

Bursa   Dico Tools
A fluid-filled sac found between tissue planes over bony places subject to shearing forces, as over the elbow and knee. It is lined by synovium that secretes the lubricating fluid.

Bursitis   Dico Tools
An inflammation of a bursa.

BVMS   Dico Tools
Bachelor of Veterinary Medicine and Science

BVSc   Dico Tools
Bachelor of Veterinary Science

BX   Dico Tools
See Biopsy.

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