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abduction
In medicine, the movement of a limb away from the midline of the body.
From the Latin "ab-" meaning "away from" + "ducere" meaning "to draw or lead" = "to draw away from."
Abduction: 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.

From the Latin "ab-" meaning "away from" + "ducere" meaning "to draw or lead" = "to draw away from."

adduction
Movement of a limb toward the midline of the body.
Adduction: Movement of a limb toward the midline of the body. The opposite of adduction is abduction.

An adductor muscle pulls toward the midline of the body. For example, the adductor muscles of the legs pull the legs toward the midline of the body so the legs are closer together.

From the Latin prefix "ad" meaning "toward" + "ducere" meaning "to draw or lead" = "to draw toward."

anterior
The front, as opposed to the posterior.
Anterior: The front, as opposed to the posterior. The anterior surface of the heart is toward the breast bone (the sternum).

antibody
An immunoglobulin, a specialized immune protein, produced because of the introduction of an antigen into the body, and which possesses the remarkable ability to combine with the very antigen that triggered its production.
Antibody: An immunoglobulin, a specialized immune protein, produced because of the introduction of an antigen into the body, and which possesses the remarkable ability to combine with the very antigen that triggered its production.

The production of antibodies is a major function of the immune system and is carried out by a type of white blood cell called a B cell (B lymphocyte). Antibodies can be triggered by and directed at foreign proteins, microorganisms, or toxins. Some antibodies are autoantibodies and home in against our own tissues.

The term "antibody" dates to 1901. Prior to that time, an "antibody" referred to any of a host of different substances that served as "bodies" (foot soldiers) in the fight against infection and its ill effects.

autoimmune
Pertaining to autoimmunity, a misdirected immune response that occurs when the immune system goes awry and attacks the body itself.
Autoimmune: Pertaining to autoimmunity, a misdirected immune response that occurs when the immune system goes awry and attacks the body itself.

Autoimmunity is present to some extent in everyone and is usually harmless. However, autoimmunity can cause a broad range of human illnesses, known collectively as autoimmune diseases. Autoimmune diseases occur when there is progression from benign autoimmunity to pathogenic autoimmunity. This progression is determined by genetic influences as well as environmental triggers.

Autoimmunity is evidenced by the presence of autoantibodies (antibodies directed against the person who produced them) and T cells that are reactive with host antigens.

circumcision
Surgery that removes the foreskin (the loose tissue) covering the glans of the penis.
Circumcision: Surgery that removes the foreskin (the loose tissue) covering the glans of the penis. Circumcision may be performed for religious or cultural reasons, or health reasons. Newborn circumcision diminishes the risk for cancer of the penis and lowers the risk for cancer of the cervix in sexual partners. It also decreases the risk of urinary tract infections and lowers the risk of sexually transmitted diseases, including especially HIV.

The Latin "circum-" means around (or about). Circumcision is, literally, a cutting around. Circumcision dates back to prehistoric times. It is one of the oldest surgical operations known to have been performed by people.
homozygous
Possessing two identical forms of a particular gene, one inherited from each parent.
dysuria
Painful or difficult urination. This includes burning on urination.
Dysuria: Painful or difficult urination. This includes burning on urination. Dysuria is most commonly due to bacterial infection of the urinary tract causing inflammation of the bladder (cystitis) or kidney (pyelonephritis).

In women, dysuria may also reflect inflammation of the vagina (vaginitis) or vulva (vulvitis). And in men, dysuria may be due to inflammation of the prostate (prostatitis) or the urethra (urethritis) from gonorrhea or chlamydia.

There are many other causes of dysuria including irritation from chemicals in soaps, bubble baths, spermicides, and douches.

hypertension
High blood pressure, defined as a repeatedly elevated blood pressure exceeding 140 over 90 mmHg -- a systolic pressure above 140 with a diastolic pressure above 90.
Hypertension: High blood pressure, defined as a repeatedly elevated blood pressure exceeding 140 over 90 mmHg -- a systolic pressure above 140 with a diastolic pressure above 90.

Chronic hypertension is a "silent" condition. Stealthy as a cat, it can cause blood vessel changes in the back of the eye (retina), abnormal thickening of the heart muscle, kidney failure, and brain damage.

For diagnosis, there is no substitute for measurement of blood pressure. Not having your blood pressure checked (or checking it yourself) is an invitation to hypertension.

No specific cause for hypertension is found in 95% of cases.

Hypertension is treated with regular aerobic exercise, weight reduction (if overweight), salt restriction, and medications.

heterozygous
Possessing two different forms of a particular gene, one inherited from each parent.
Heterozygous: Possessing two different forms of a particular gene, one inherited from each parent. A person who is heterozygous is called a heterozygote or a gene carrier.

Heterozygous is in contrast to homozygous, the possession of two identical copies of the same gene.

hypotonia
Decreased tone of skeletal muscles. In a word, floppiness.
Hypotonia: Decreased tone of skeletal muscles. In a word, floppiness. Hypotonia is a common finding in cerebral palsy and other neuromuscular disorders. Untreated hypotonia can lead to hip dislocation and other problems. Treatment is via physical therapy. In some cases braces may be needed to permit a full range of movement despite hypotonia.

interosseous
?
intramuscular (IM)
medication is given by needle into the muscle. This is as opposed to a medication that is given by a needle, for example, into the skin (intradermal) or just below the skin (subcutaneous) or into a vein (intravenous).
Intramuscular (IM): An intramuscular (IM) medication is given by needle into the muscle. This is as opposed to a medication that is given by a needle, for example, into the skin (intradermal) or just below the skin (subcutaneous) or into a vein (intravenous).

Juxtaglomerular apparatus
a collective term referring to the cells near a structure called the glomerulus in the kidney.
specialized cells that stimulate the secretion of the adrenal hormone aldosterone and play a major role in renal autoregulation, the kidney's self-governance.
Juxtaglomerular apparatus: The prefix "juxta-" comes from the Latin preposition meaning near, nearby, close.

The juxtaglomerular apparatus is a collective term referring to the cells near a structure called the glomerulus in the kidney. The juxtaglomerular cells are specialized cells that stimulate the secretion of the adrenal hormone aldosterone and play a major role in renal autoregulation, the kidney's self-governance.

neoplasm
A tumor. An abnormal growth of tissue.
Not synonymous with cancer. May be benign or malignant.
Neoplasm: A tumor. An abnormal growth of tissue. The word neoplasm is not synonymous with cancer. A neoplasm may be benign or malignant.

The word neoplasm literally means a new growth, from the Greek neo-, new + plasma, that which is formed, or a growth = a new growth.

postpartum
In the period just after delivery. Refers to the mother and postnatal to the baby.
Postpartum: In the period just after delivery, as with postpartum depression. Postpartum refers to the mother and postnatal to the baby. From the Latin post, after + partum, birth.

retroperitoneal
?
Peritoneal
Having to do with the peritoneum.
Peritoneal: Having to do with the peritoneum.

peritoneum
The membrane that lines the abdominal cavity and covers most of the abdominal organs. (From the Greek peri- meaning around + tonos meaning a stretching = a stretching around).
Peritoneum: The membrane that lines the abdominal cavity and covers most of the abdominal organs. (From the Greek peri- meaning around + tonos meaning a stretching = a stretching around).

subdural
Below the dura, the outermost, toughest, and most fibrous of the three membranes (meninges) covering the brain and the spinal cord.
Subdural: Below the dura, the outermost, toughest, and most fibrous of the three membranes (meninges) covering the brain and the spinal cord. An subdural hematoma is a collection of blood beneath the dura.

bicuspid
Having two flaps or cusps. The heart valve that is located between the left atrium and left ventricle.
Bicuspid: Having two flaps or cusps. The heart valve that is called the bicuspid valve is located between the left atrium and left ventricle. Although the aortic valve in the heart normally is tricuspid (with three cusps), it may sometimes be bicuspid.
diotic
?
multicellular
Consisting of more than one cell.
Multicellular: Consisting of more than one cell. Humans are multicellular and have been estimated to possess 100,000 billion cells. Multicellular is as opposed to unicellular.

polyuria
The excessive passage of urine (at least 2.5 liters per day for an adult) resulting in profuse urination and urinary frequency (the need to urinate frequently).
Classic sign of diabetes mellitus that is under poor control or is not yet under treatment.
Polyuria: The excessive passage of urine (at least 2.5 liters per day for an adult) resulting in profuse urination and urinary frequency (the need to urinate frequently).

Polyuria is a classic sign of diabetes mellitus that is under poor control or is not yet under treatment. Polyuria occurs in some other conditions such as:

Nephrogenic diabetes insipidus -- a genetic disease
Polycystic kidney disease -- another genetic disease
Sickle cell disease
Pyelonephritis -- infection of kidneys
Amyloidosis -- deposits of a substance called amyloid in the kidney
Sjogren syndrome, and
Myeloma.
Certain drugs such as the mood stabilizer lithium and the antibiotic Declomycin (demeclocycline) can also lead to polyuria.

tricuspid
Having three flaps or cusps. The valve that is situated between the right atrium and right ventricle and permits blood to flow only from the atrium into the ventricle. The aortic valve in the heart also has three cusps.
Tricuspid: Having three flaps or cusps. The valve that is called the tricuspid valve is situated between the right atrium and right ventricle and permits blood to flow only from the atrium into the ventricle. The aortic valve in the heart also has three cusps.
centimeter (cm)
A unit of measure in the metric system which is 1/100'th of a meter.
Centimeter (cm): A unit of measure in the metric system which is 1/100'th of a meter. There are 2.54 centimeters (cms) in one inch. The centimeter is commonly used in medicine to state the size of objects or distance between points.

It may seem senseless to define a centimeter in a medical dictionary but in North American medicine (and medicine everywhere) today, length measurements are usually expressed in such metric units and not in inches or feet.

myalgia
Pain in a muscle; or pain in multiple muscles.
Myalgia: Pain in a muscle; or pain in multiple muscles. Myalgia means muscle pain. There are many specific causes of various types of myalgia. Myalgia can be temporary or chronic. Myalgia can be a result of a mild conditions, such as a virus infection, or from a more serious illness. Examples include epidemic myalgia and polymyalgia rheumatica.

Epidemic myalgia, also known as Bornholm disease, is an acute viral infection that runs in epidemics and, among other things, produces marked muscle pain. Hence, the name "epidemic myalgia."

By contrast, polymyalgia rheumatica (PMR) is disorder of multiple muscles (polymyalgia) and joints of older persons characterized by pain and stiffness. Hence, the name "polymyalgia rheumatica."

"Myalgia" is made up of "my(o)-" from the Greek "myos" meaning muscle and "-algia" from the Greek "algos" meaning pain.

cardiac
Having to do with the heart.
cirrhosis
An abnormal liver condition characterized by irreversible scarring of the liver. Alcohol and viral hepatitis B and C are among the many causes. Can cause yellowing of the skin (jaundice), itching, and fatigue.
Cirrhosis: An abnormal liver condition characterized by irreversible scarring of the liver. Alcohol and viral hepatitis B and C are among the many causes of cirrhosis. Cirrhosis can cause yellowing of the skin (jaundice), itching, and fatigue. Diagnosis of cirrhosis can be suggested by physical examination and blood tests, and can be confirmed by liver biopsy in some patients. Complications of cirrhosis include mental confusion, coma, fluid accumulation (ascites), internal bleeding, and kidney failure. Treatment of cirrhosis is designed to limit any further damage to the liver as well as complications. Liver transplantation is becoming an important option for patients with advanced cirrhosis.

cephalic
Relating to the head or the head end of the body. Situated on, in, or near the head. Synonymous with cranial, relating to the cranium or head.
Cephalic: Relating to the head or the head end of the body. Situated on, in, or near the head. Cephalic is synonymous with cranial, relating to the cranium or head.

The word "cephalic" came from the Middle French "céphalique," from the Latin "cephalicus", from the Greek "kephalikos" meaning head.

iliac
Pertaining to the ilium.
Iliac: Pertaining to the ilium.

ilium
The upper part of the bony pelvis which forms the receptacle for the head of the femur at the hip joint.
Ilium: The upper part of the bony pelvis which forms the receptacle for the head of the femur at the hip joint. The word "ilium" is the Medieval Latin term for the hip bone. The adjective is iliac.

"Ilium" is not to be confused with the ileum, the lowest part of the small intestine, located beyond the duodenum and jejunum, just before the large intestine (the colon).

ileum
The lowest part of the small intestine, located beyond the duodenum and jejunum, just before the large intestine (the colon).
Ileum: The lowest part of the small intestine, located beyond the duodenum and jejunum, just before the large intestine (the colon). Pronounced "il-eum" in the US and "eye-leum" in the UK.

The word "ileum" is derived from the Greek "eileos" meaning "twisted." This is apt because, when the small intestine is viewed at surgery or at autopsy (or exposed from a wound), it looks twisted. It is also apt because, when the small intestine is obstructed, the ileum is most often the site of the twist or whatever is causing the obstruction.

The ileum is not to be confused with the ilium, the upper part of the pelvis which forms the receptacle for the head of the femur at the hip joint.

insomnia
The perception or complaint of inadequate or poor-quality sleep because of one or more of the following: difficulty falling asleep; waking up frequently during the night with difficulty returning to sleep; waking up too early in the morning; or unrefreshing sleep.
Insomnia: The perception or complaint of inadequate or poor-quality sleep because of one or more of the following: difficulty falling asleep; waking up frequently during the night with difficulty returning to sleep; waking up too early in the morning; or unrefreshing sleep. Insomnia is not defined by the number of hours of sleep a person gets or how long it takes to fall asleep. Individuals vary normally in their need for, and their satisfaction with, sleep. Insomnia may cause problems during the day, such as tiredness, a lack of energy, difficulty concentrating, and irritability.

brachial artery
The artery that runs from the shoulder down to the elbow.
Brachial artery: The artery that runs from the shoulder down to the elbow.
brachial vein
A vein that accompanies the brachial artery between the shoulder and the elbow.
Brachial vein: A vein that accompanies the brachial artery between the shoulder and the elbow. The route of the brachial artery is from the shoulder down to the elbow whereas that of the brachial vein is in the reverse direction -- from the elbow back up to the shoulder.

physiology
The study of how living organisms function including such processes as nutrition, movement, and reproduction.
Physiology: The study of how living organisms function including such processes as nutrition, movement, and reproduction.

The word "function" is important to the definition of physiology because physiology traditionally had to do with the function of living things while anatomy had to do with morphology, the shape and form, of things.

Human physiology today is a science of wide scope:

Some physiological studies are concerned with processes that go on within cells such as phagocytosis, the process by which cells engulf and usually digest particles, bacteria and other microorganisms, and even harmful cells. The physiology of cells is called cell physiology.
Other physiological studies deal with how tissues and organs work, how they are controlled and interact with other tissues and organs and how they are integrated within the individual.
Yet other physiological studies deal with how we respond to our environment. For example, to extremes of temperature (in arctic conditions versus the desert), to changes in pressure (deep under the ocean versus weightless in space), etc.
Human physiological processes are the functions of living persons and their parts, and the physical and chemical factors and processes involved.

Pediatrics
A medical specialty concerned with the health of infants, children and adolescents, their growth and development, and their opportunity to achieve full potential as adults.
Pediatrics: "Pediatrics is concerned with the health of infants, children and adolescents, their growth and development, and their opportunity to achieve full potential as adults." (Richard E.Behrman in Nelson's Textbook of Pediatrics)

Pediatrics became a medical specialty in the mid-19th century. Before that time the care and treatment of childhood diseases was included within such areas as general medicine and obstetrics (and midwifery).

The first pediatric monograph written in the U.S. was by Charles Caldwell who received his medical degree from the University of Pennsylvania in 1796. His doctoral thesis was on diseases of childhood associated with fever.

Podiatrist
A physician that specializes in the evaluation and treatment of diseases of the foot.
Podiatrist: A podiatrist is a physician that specializes in the evaluation and treatment of diseases of the foot. The modern specialty of Podiatric Medicine and Surgery requires a minimum of three years of college education and completion of the M.C.A.T. (Medical College Admission Test) before an applicant will be considered for acceptance to one of the seven colleges of Podiatric Medicine.

The training for the student of Podiatric Medicine includes studies in the basic medical sciences (i.e., Anatomy, Biochemistry, Pharmacology, Physiology, etc.) emphasizing the health and conditions affecting the lower extremities. Diagnosis and treatment skills, including surgery, are developed in the third and fourth years. A required National Board Examinations test is given prior to their graduation. The graduate receives the degree of D.P.M. or Doctor of Podiatric Medicine. Many states now require post doctoral training (Residencies, usually one year in hospital) before sitting for the state examination. In addition, continuing medical education credits are required annually to maintain state licensure as well as hospital staff privileges. Two optional Boards recognized by the American Podiatric Medical Association are the American Board of Podiatric Orthopedics and Primary Podiatric Care, and the American Board of Podiatric Surgery.

Geriatrics
The branch of medicine concerned with the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of disease in older people and the problems specific to aging.
Geriatrics: The branch of medicine concerned with the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of disease in older people and the problems specific to aging.

From the Greek "geron" meaning "old man" + "iatreia" meaning "the treatment of disease.".

claustrophobia
An abnormal and persistent fear of closed spaces, of being closed in or being shut in, as in elevators, tunnels, or any other confined space. The fear is excessive (and quite common).
Claustrophobia: An abnormal and persistent fear of closed spaces, of being closed in or being shut in, as in elevators, tunnels, or any other confined space. The fear is excessive (and quite common).

The word "claustrophobia" is an amalgam made from the Latin "claudere", to shut + the Greek "phobis", fear.

angiogram
An x-ray of blood vessels which can be seen because the patient receives an injection of dye to outline the vessels on the x-ray.
Angiogram: An x-ray of blood vessels which can be seen because the patient receives an injection of dye to outline the vessels on the x-ray.

radiograph
A film with an image of body tissues that was produced when the body was placed adjacent to the film while radiating with X-rays.
Radiograph: A film with an image of body tissues that was produced when the body was placed adjacent to the film while radiating with X-rays.

pelvic
Having to do with the pelvis, the lower part of the abdomen, located between the hip bones.
Pelvic: Having to do with the pelvis, the lower part of the abdomen, located between the hip bones.

histology
The study of the form of structures seen under the microscope. Also called microscopic anatomy, as opposed to gross anatomy which involves structures that can be observed with the naked eye.
Histology: The study of the form of structures seen under the microscope. Also called microscopic anatomy, as opposed to gross anatomy which involves structures that can be observed with the naked eye. Traditionally, both gross anatomy and histology (microscopic anatomy) have been studied in the first year of medical school in the U.S. The word "anatomy" comes from the Greek ana- meaning up or through + tome meaning a cutting. Anatomy was once a "cutting up" because the structure of the body was originally learned through dissecting it, cutting it up. The word "histology" came from the Greek "histo-" meaning tissue + "logos", treatise. Histology was a treatise about the tissues of the body and the cells thereof.

otoscope
Instrument for looking in the ear.
Otoscope: Instrument for looking in the ear. Today, otoscopic or ophthalmoscopic heads can usually be attached to the base (which supplies the electrical power) to look at the ears or eyes.

calcaneal spur
A bony spur projecting from the back or underside of the heel bone (the calcaneus) that often makes walking painful. Is also called a heel spur.
Calcaneal spur: A bony spur projecting from the back or underside of the heel bone (the calcaneus) that often makes walking painful. A calcaneal spur is also called a heel spur.

Spurs at the back of the heel are associated with inflammation of the Achilles tendon (Achilles tendinitis) and cause tenderness and pain at the back of the heel that is made worse by pushing off the ball of the foot.

Spurs under the sole (plantar area) are associated with inflammation of the plantar fascia (the "bowstring-like" tissue stretching from the heel underneath the sole) and cause localized tenderness and pain made worse by stepping down on the heel.

Not all heel spurs cause symptoms. Some are discovered on X-rays taken for other purposes.

Heel spurs and plantar fasciitis can occur alone or be related to underlying diseases which cause arthritis (inflammation of the joints) such as Reiter's disease, ankylosing spondylitis, and diffuse idiopathic skeletal hyperostosis.

Treatment is designed to decrease the inflammation and avoid reinjury. Icing reduces pain and inflammation. Antiinflammatory agents (such as ibuprofen or injections of cortisone) can help. Heel lifts reduce stress on the Achilles tendon and relieve painful spurs at the back of the heel. Donut-shaped shoe inserts take pressure off plantar spurs. Infrequently surgery is done on chronically inflamed spurs.

Langerhans, islets of
Best known as the insulin-producing tissue. They are groups of specialized cells in the pancreas that make and secrete hormones.
Langerhans, islets of: Best known as the insulin-producing tissue, the islets of Langerhans do more than that. They are groups of specialized cells in the pancreas that make and secrete hormones. Named after the German pathologist Paul Langerhans (1847-1888), who discovered them in 1869, these cells sit in groups that Langerhans likened to little islands in the pancreas. There are five types of cells in an islet: alpha cells that make glucagon, which raises the level of glucose (sugar) in the blood; beta cells that make insulin; delta cells that make somatostatin which inhibits the release of numerous other hormones in the body; and PP cells and D1 cells, about which little is known. Degeneration of the insulin-producing beta cells is the main cause of type I (insulin-dependent) diabetes mellitus.

phalanx
Anatomically, any one of the bones in the fingers or toes. (Plural: phalanges.)
Phalanx: Anatomically, any one of the bones in the fingers or toes. (Plural: phalanges.) There are 3 phalanges (the proximal, middle, and proximal phalanx) in most of the fingers and toes. However, the thumb and large toe have only two phalanges which accounts for their being shorter.

A "phalanx" in ancient Greece was a military formation composed of heavily armed troops in close deep ranks. The soldiers stood shoulder to shoulder, several rows deep, often with their shields joined. A phalanx was a formidable group that was difficult to penetrate.

The bones in the fingers and toes were first called "phalanges" by the Greek philosopher-scientist Aristotle (384-322 BC) because they are arranged in ranks suggesting the military formation.

biceps
A muscle that has two heads or origins.
Biceps: The biceps is a muscle that has two heads or origins. In Latin, biceps means two-headed and is derived from "bis", twice + "caput", head.

There is more than one biceps muscle. The biceps brachii is the well-known flexor muscle in the upper arm and bulges when the arm is bent in a C-shape with the fist toward the forehead. The biceps femoris is in the back of the thigh.

nucleus
1) In cell biology, the structure that houses the chromosomes. 2) In neuroanatomy, a group of nerve cells.
Nucleus: 1) In cell biology, the structure that houses the chromosomes. 2) In neuroanatomy, a group of nerve cells.

mitochondrion
Singular of mitochondria. The mitochondria are normal structures called organelles in cells. They are located in the cell's cytoplasm outside the nucleus.
mitochondria
Normal structures responsible for energy production in cells. Located in the cytoplasm outside the nucleus of the cell. They consist of two sets of membranes, a smooth continuous outer coat and an inner membrane arranged in tubules or in folds that form plate-like double membranes (cristae).
Mitochondria: Normal structures responsible for energy production in cells. Mitochondria are located in the cytoplasm outside the nucleus of the cell. They consist of two sets of membranes, a smooth continuous outer coat and an inner membrane arranged in tubules or in folds that form plate-like double membranes (cristae).

The mitochondria are the principal energy source of the cell (thanks to the cytochrome enzymes of terminal electron transport and the enzymes of the citric acid cycle, fatty acid oxidation, and oxidative phosphorylation). The mitochondria convert nutrients into energy as well as doing many other specialized tasks.

Each mitochondrion has a chromosome composed of DNA that is otherwise quite different from the better known chromosomes in the nucleus. The mitochondrial chromosome is much smaller. It is round (whereas the chromosomes in the nucleus are shaped like rods). And there are many copies of the mitochondrial chromosome in every cell (whereas there is normally only one set of chromosomes in the nucleus).

No matter whether we are male or female, we inherit our mitochondrial chromosome from our mother. In other words, the mitochondrial chromosome is transmitted in a matrilinear manner. We have Eve to thank for our mitochondrial chromosome.

cervix
The lower, narrow part of the uterus (womb).
Cervix: The cervix is the lower, narrow part of the uterus (womb). The uterus, a hollow, pear-shaped organ, is located in a woman's lower abdomen, between the bladder and the rectum. The cervix forms a canal that opens into the vagina, which leads to the outside of the body.

The word "cervix" comes straight from Latin for "neck".
sclerosis
Localized hardening of skin.
Sclerosis: Localized hardening of skin.

Scler- (Or sclero-)
A confusing prefix that can refer exclusively to hardness (from the Greek "skleros" meaning hard) but that can also refer to the sclera of the eye.
Scler-: (Or sclero-) A confusing prefix that can refer exclusively to hardness (from the Greek "skleros" meaning hard) but that can also refer to the sclera of the eye.

Sclerodactyly, for example, is localized thickening and tightness of the skin of the fingers or toes and scleroderma is disease of connective tissue with the formation of scar tissue (fibrosis) in the skin with hardening of the skin.

By contrast, scleroconjunctival relates to the sclera and the conjunctiva of the eye, sclerokeratitis refers to inflammation of the sclera and cornea and scleromalacia pertains to degenerative thinning of the sclera.

sclera
The tough white outer coat over the eyeball that covers approximately the posterior five-sixths of its surface. It is continuous in the front of the eye with the cornea and in the back of the eye with the external sheath of the optic nerve.
Sclera: The tough white outer coat over the eyeball that covers approximately the posterior five-sixths of its surface. The sclera is continuous in the front of the eye with the cornea and in the back of the eye with the external sheath of the optic nerve.

The word "sclera" is from the Greek "skleros" = hard. The plural is sclerae.

epithelium
The outside layer of cells that covers all the free, open surfaces of the body including the skin, and mucous membranes that communicate with the outside of the body.
Epithelium: The outside layer of cells that covers all the free, open surfaces of the body including the skin, and mucous membranes that communicate with the outside of the body. By contrast the endothelium is the layer of cells lining the closed internal spaces of the body such as the blood vessels and lymphatic vessels (that convey the lymph, a milky fluid).

endothelium
A layer of flat cells lining the closed internal spaces of the body such as the inside of blood vessels and lymphatic vessels (that convey the lymph, a milky fluid) and the heart.
Endothelium: A layer of flat cells lining the closed internal spaces of the body such as the inside of blood vessels and lymphatic vessels (that convey the lymph, a milky fluid) and the heart.

By contrast, the outside layer of cells that covers all the free, open surfaces of the body including the skin, and mucous membranes that communicate with the outside of the body is called the epithelium.

The word "endothelium" is derived from the Greek "endon," within + G. "thele," nipple.

fungi
Plural of fungus.
Fungi: Plural of fungus.

fungus
A single-celled or multicellular organism.
Fungus: A single-celled or multicellular organism. Fungi can be true pathogens (such as histoplasmosis and coccidioidomycosis) that cause infections in healthy persons or they can be opportunistic pathogens (such as aspergillosis, candidiasis, and cryptococcosis) that cause infections in immunocompromised persons (including cancer patients, transplant recipients, and persons with AIDS). An example of a common fungus is the yeast organism which causes thrush and diaper rash (diaper dermatitis). Fungi are also used for the development of antibiotics, antitoxins, and other drugs used to control various human diseases.

fracture
A break in bone or cartilage.
Classified according to their character and location
Fracture: A break in bone or cartilage. Although usually the result of trauma, a fracture can be caused by an acquired disease of bone such as osteoporosis or by abnormal formation of bone in a disease such as osteogenesis imperfecta ("brittle bone disease"). Fractures are classified according to their character and location as, for example, a greenstick fracture of the radius.

atria
plural form of atrium
sacomata
plural form of sarcoma
sarcoma
A usually malignant tumour arising from connective tissue (bone or muscle etc.); one of the four major types of cancer
Sarcoma: One of a group of tumors usually arising from connective tissue. Most sarcomas are malignant. Many types are named after the type of cell, tissue, or structure involved, as in angiosarcoma, chondrosarcoma, fibrosarcoma, liposarcoma,and osteosarcoma.

atrium
One of the two smaller chambers of the heart.
Atrium: One of the two smaller chambers of the heart. Each atrium consists of an open space with recessed walls. The plural of atrium is atria.

The right atrium receives deoxygenated blood from the body through the vena cava and pumps it down into the right ventricle which then sends it to the lungs.

The left atrium receives oxygenated blood from the lungs and pumps it down into the left ventricle which delivers it to the body.

The atrium was an open area in the center of an ancient Roman home. The atria of the heart are also called the auricles (the Latin auricula means little ear) because they resemble the floppy ears of a dog.

hemiplegia
Paralysis of one side of the body.
Hemiplegia: Paralysis of one side of the body. From hemi- (half) + plege (a blow, stroke).

polyuria
The excessive passage of urine (at least 2.5 liters per day for an adult) resulting in profuse urination and urinary frequency (the need to urinate frequently).
Polyuria: The excessive passage of urine (at least 2.5 liters per day for an adult) resulting in profuse urination and urinary frequency (the need to urinate frequently).

Polyuria is a classic sign of diabetes mellitus that is under poor control or is not yet under treatment. Polyuria occurs in some other conditions such as:

Nephrogenic diabetes insipidus -- a genetic disease
Polycystic kidney disease -- another genetic disease
Sickle cell disease
Pyelonephritis -- infection of kidneys
Amyloidosis -- deposits of a substance called amyloid in the kidney
Sjogren syndrome, and
Myeloma.
Certain drugs such as the mood stabilizer lithium and the antibiotic Declomycin (demeclocycline) can also lead to polyuria.

lithotripsy
A procedure to break a stone into small particles that can be passed in the urine.
Lithotripsy: A procedure to break a stone into small particles that can be passed in the urine.

hypertrophy
Enlargement or overgrowth of an organ or part of the body due to the increased size of the constituent cells.
Occurs in the biceps and heart because of increased work.
Hypertrophy: Enlargement or overgrowth of an organ or part of the body due to the increased size of the constituent cells. Hypertrophy occurs in the biceps and heart because of increased work. Cardiac hypertrophy is recognizable microscopically by the increased size of the cells. The term hypertrophy is applied to the enlargement of the uterus during pregnancy. The term benign prostatic hypertrophy is a misnomer because the increased size of the prostate is due to hyperplasia, an increase in the number of cells.

apraxia
The inability to execute a voluntary motor movement despite being able to demonstrate normal muscle function. Is not related to a lack of understanding or to any kind of physical paralysis but is caused by a problem in the cortex of the brain.
Apraxia: The inability to execute a voluntary motor movement despite being able to demonstrate normal muscle function. Apraxia is not related to a lack of understanding or to any kind of physical paralysis but is caused by a problem in the cortex of the brain.

uterus
A hollow, pear-shaped organ located in a woman's lower abdomen between the bladder and the rectum.
Uterus: The uterus (womb) is a hollow, pear-shaped organ located in a woman's lower abdomen between the bladder and the rectum. The narrow, lower portion of the uterus is the cervix; the broader, upper part is the corpus. The corpus is made up of two layers of tissue.

In women of childbearing age, the inner layer of the uterus (endometrium) goes through a series of monthly changes known as the menstrual cycle. Each month, endometrial tissue grows and thickens in preparation to receive a fertilized egg. Menstruation occurs when this tissue is not used, disintegrates, and passes out through the vagina. The outer layer of the corpus (myometrium) is muscular tissue that expands during pregnancy to hold the growing fetus and contracts during labor to deliver the child.

prostate
A gland within the male reproductive system that is located just below the bladder. Chestnut shaped, it surrounds the beginning of the urethra, the canal that empties the bladder.
Prostate: A gland within the male reproductive system that is located just below the bladder. Chestnut shaped, the prostate surrounds the beginning of the urethra, the canal that empties the bladder.

The prostate is actually not one but many glands, 30-50 in number, between which is abundant tissue containing many bundles of smooth muscle. The secretion of the prostate is a milky fluid that is discharged into the urethra at the time of the ejaculation of semen.

The origin of the name "prostate" is quite curious. The word is from the Greek "prostates", to stand before. The anatomist Herophilus called it the prostate because, as he saw matters, it stands before the testes.

urethra
The transport tube leading from the bladder to discharge urine outside the body. In males, it travels through the penis, and carries semen as well as urine. In females, it is shorter than in the male and emerges above the vaginal opening.
Urethra: The transport tube leading from the bladder to discharge urine outside the body. In males, the urethra travels through the penis, and carries semen as well as urine. In females, the urethra is shorter than in the male and emerges above the vaginal opening.
antibiotic
A drug used to treat infections caused by bacteria and other microorganisms. Originally was a substance produced by one microorganism that selectively inhibits the growth of another.
Antibiotic: A drug used to treat infections caused by bacteria and other microorganisms. Originally, an antibiotic was a substance produced by one microorganism that selectively inhibits the growth of another. Synthetic antibiotics, usually chemically related to natural antibiotics, have since been produced that accomplish comparable tasks.

In 1926, Alexander Fleming discovered penicillin, a substance produced by fungi that appeared able to inhibit bacterial growth. In 1939, Edward Chain and Howard Florey further studied penicillin and later carried out trials of penicillin on humans (with what were deemed fatal bacterial infections). Fleming, Florey and Chain shared the Nobel Prize in 1945 for their work which ushered in the era of antibiotics.

Another antibiotic, for example, is tetracycline (brand names: Achromycin and Sumycin), a broad-spectrum agent effective against a wide variety of bacteria including Hemophilus influenzae, Streptococcus pneumoniae, Mycoplasma pneumoniae, Chlamydia psittaci, Chlamydia trachomatis, Neisseria gonorrhoea, and many others. The first drug of the tetracycline family, chlortetracycline, was introduced in 1948.

paralysis
Loss of voluntary movement (motor function).
Paralysis: Loss of voluntary movement (motor function). Paralysis that affects only one muscle or limb is partial paralysis, also known as palsy; paralysis of all muscles is total paralysis, as may occur in cases of botulism.

palsy
Paralysis, generally partial, whereby a local body area is incapable of voluntary movement (motor function).
Palsy: Paralysis, generally partial, whereby a local body area is incapable of voluntary movement (motor function). For example, Bell's palsy is localized paralysis of the muscles on one side of the face. The word "palsy" is a corruption (and contracture) of the French word "paralysie" which means "paralysis."

coccyx
The small tail-like bone at the bottom of the spine very near to the anus. It is made up of 3-5 rudimentary vertebrae. It is the lowest part of the spinal column.
Coccyx: The small tail-like bone at the bottom of the spine very near to the anus. The coccyx is made up of 3-5 rudimentary vertebrae. It is the lowest part of the spinal column.

benign
Not cancer. Not malignant. Does not invade surrounding tissue or spread to other parts of the body. This type of tumor may grow but it stays put (in the same place).
Benign: Not cancer. Not malignant. A benign tumor does not invade surrounding tissue or spread to other parts of the body. A benign tumor may grow but it stays put (in the same place).

In a general sense, "benign" means of a mild character that does not threaten health or life. Floaters in the eye are benign. They have no significant effect on vision.

malignant
1. Tending to be severe and become progressively worse. 2. In regard to a tumor, having the properties of a malignancy that can invade and destroy nearby tissue and that may spread (metastasize) to other parts of the body.
Malignant: 1. Tending to be severe and become progressively worse, as in malignant hypertension. 2. In regard to a tumor, having the properties of a malignancy that can invade and destroy nearby tissue and that may spread (metastasize) to other parts of the body.

The word malignant comes the Latin combination of "mal" meaning "bad" and "nascor" meaning "to be born"; malignant literally means "born to be bad."

diarrhea
A familiar phenomenon with unusually frequent or unusually liquid bowel movements, excessive watery evacuations of fecal material.
Diarrhea: A familiar phenomenon with unusually frequent or unusually liquid bowel movements, excessive watery evacuations of fecal material. The opposite of constipation. The word "diarrhea" with its odd spelling is a near steal from the Greek "diarrhoia" meaning "a flowing through." Plato and Aristotle may have had diarrhoia while today we have diarrhea. There are myriad infectious and noninfectious causes of diarrhea.

Persistent diarrhea is both uncomfortable and dangerous to the health, as it can indicate an underlying infection. It may also mean that the body is not able to absorb some nutrients due to a problem in the bowels. Treatment includes drinking plenty of fluids to prevent dehydration, over-the-counter remedies in most cases, and medical examination if diarrhea persists for more than a couple of days, particularly in small children or elderly people.
constipation
Infrequent (and frequently incomplete) bowel movements.
Constipation: Infrequent (and frequently incomplete) bowel movements. The opposite of diarrhea, constipation is commonly caused by irritable bowel syndrome, diverticulosis, and medications (constipation can paradoxically be caused by overuse of laxatives). Colon cancer can narrow the colon and thereby cause constipation. The large bowel (colon) can be visualized by barium enema x-rays, sigmoidoscopy, and colonoscopy. Barring a condition such as cancer, high-fiber diets can frequently relieve the constipation.

diverticulitis
Inflammation of the diverticula (small outpouchings) along the wall of the colon, the large intestine. (One outpouching is a diverticulum; two or more are diverticula).
Diverticulitis: Inflammation of the diverticula (small outpouchings) along the wall of the colon, the large intestine. (One outpouching is a diverticulum; two or more are diverticula).

For diverticulitis to occur, there must be diverticulosis, the presence of diverticula. Diverticulosis can occur anywhere in the colon but it is most typical in the sigmoid colon, the S-shaped segment of the colon the left lower part of the abdomen. (Sides are from the patient's perspective so the left lower part of your abdomen is nearest your left hand).

The incidence of diverticulosis increases with age. Age causes a weakening of the walls of the colon and this weakening permits the formation of diverticula. By age 80, most people have diverticulosis.

A key factor promoting the formation of diverticulosis is elevated pressure within the colon. The pressure within the colon is raised when a person is constipated and has to push down to pass small, hard bits of stool ("rabbit droppings").

Most patients with diverticulosis have few or no symptoms although some have mild symptoms including abdominal cramping and bloating.

Diverticulosis sets the stage for inflammation and infection of the outpouching, that is for diverticulitis. (The "-itis" refers to inflammation.) It is potentially serious and can result in pain in the left lower abdomen, fever, nausea, vomiting, constipation and, paradoxically, diarrhea and frequent urination. Even graver consequences such as perforation of the colon and peritonitis are well known from diverticulitis.

The best way to avoid developing diverticulosis in the first place (aside from the impossibility of staying young) is by eating a proper healthy diet With plenty of fiber. A diet high in fiber keeps the bowels moving, keeps the pressure within the colon within normal limits, and slows or stops the formation of diverticula.

Diverticulitis can be diagnosed with barium x-rays of the colon or with sigmoidoscopy or colonoscopy. Treatment of diverticulitis is designed to combat the inflammation and infection.

diverticulosis
The condition of having diverticula, small outpouchings from the large intestine, the colon. (One outpouching is a diverticulum; two or more are diverticula).
Diverticulosis: Diverticulosis is the condition of having diverticula, small outpouchings from the large intestine, the colon. (One outpouching is a diverticulum; two or more are diverticula).

Diverticulosis can occur anywhere in the colon but it is most typical in the sigmoid colon, the S-shaped segment of the colon located in the left lower part of the abdomen. (Sides are from the patient's perspective so the left lower part of your abdomen is nearest your left hand).

The incidence of diverticulosis increases with age. Age causes a weakening of the walls of the colon and this weakening permits the formation of diverticula. By age 80, most people have diverticulosis.

A key factor promoting the formation of diverticulosis is elevated pressure within the colon. The pressure within the colon is raised when a person is constipated and has to push down to pass small, hard bits of stool ("rabbit droppings").

Most patients with diverticulosis have few or no symptoms although some have mild symptoms including abdominal cramping and bloating.

Diverticulosis sets the stage for inflammation and infection of the outpouching. This condition is called diverticulitis. (The "-itis" refers to inflammation.) It is potentially serious and can result in pain in the left lower abdomen, fever, nausea, vomiting, constipation and, paradoxically, diarrhea and frequent urination. Even graver consequences such as perforation of the colon and peritonitis are well known from diverticulitis.

The best way to avoid developing diverticulosis in the first place (aside from the impossibility of staying young) is by eating a proper healthy diet With plenty of fiber. A diet high in fiber keeps the bowels moving, keeps the pressure within the colon within normal limits, and slows or stops the formation of diverticula.
diverticula
The plural of diverticulum.
Diverticula: The plural of diverticulum. As a person ages, pressure within the large intestine (colon) causes pockets of tissue (sacs) that push out from the colon walls. A small bulging sac pushing outward from the colon wall is a diverticulum. Diverticula can occur throughout the colon but are most common near the end of the left side of the colon, the sigmoid colon.

diverticulum
A small bulging sac pushing outward from the colon wall.
Diverticulum: A small bulging sac pushing outward from the colon wall is a diverticulum. As a person ages, pressure within the large intestine (colon) causes pockets of tissue (sacs) that push out from the colon walls. The plural is diverticula. Diverticula can occur throughout the colon but are most common near the end of the left side of the colon, the sigmoid colon.

fiber
The parts of plants that cannot be digested, namely complex carbohydrates. Also known as bulk or roughage.
Fiber: The parts of plants that cannot be digested, namely complex carbohydrates. Also known as bulk or roughage.

Complex carbohydrates from plants are rich in starch and fiber. Examples of plants that provide complex carbohydrates (fiber) are fresh fruits and vegetables, whole-grain breads, and cereal grains. Simple carbohydrates, such as common table sugar, have no fiber.

Dietary fiber can have many benefits including promoting bowel regularity, lowering the level of cholesterol in the blood, and easing conditions such as hemorrhoids, colitis, and diverticulosis. Dietary fiber can also aid in weight maintenance as it requires more chewing and promotes hunger satisfaction by giving the stomach a sense of fullness.

A salient benefit of dietary fiber was thought to be that it lowered the risk of colon cancer. Then in 1999 it was reported that dietary fiber seemed to have no effect on the chance of developing colon cancer. And in 2000 a kind of dietary fiber was discovered to increase the risk of the adenomas, the forerunners of cancer of the colon. The fiber under study was from ispaghula husk, which is not normally found in the diet but is found in laxatives containing mucilage. Ispaghula husk fiber is similar to psyllium, a fiber derived from plant husks that is found in many bulk laxatives. It appears that a high-fiber diet should be avoided by anyone who may have colorectal adenomas.
emboli
Something that travels through the bloodstream, lodges in a blood vessel and blocks it. Examples of are a detached blood clot, a clump of bacteria, and foreign material such as air.
Emboli: Something that travels through the bloodstream, lodges in a blood vessel and blocks it. Examples of emboli are a detached blood clot, a clump of bacteria, and foreign material such as air.

Pulmonary emboli are blood clots that have been carried through the blood into the pulmonary artery (the main blood vessel from the heart to the lung) or one of its branches, plugging that vessel.

Emboli is the plural of embolus, a word that comes from the Greek "embolos" meaning a wedge or plug. "Embolos" was derived from "en" (in) + "ballein" (to throw) so emboli are something thrown in.

cholesterol
The most common type of steroid in the body, but has gotten something of a bad name. However, is a critically important molecule.

It is essential to the formation of:

Bile acids (which aid in the digestion of fats)
Vitamin D
Progesterone
Estrogens (estradiol, estrone, estriol)
Androgens (androsterone, testosterone)
Mineralocorticoid hormones (aldosterone, corticosterone) and
Glucocorticoid hormones (cortisol).
Cholesterol: The most common type of steroid in the body, cholesterol has gotten something of a bad name. However, cholesterol is a critically important molecule.

It is essential to the formation of:

Bile acids (which aid in the digestion of fats)
Vitamin D
Progesterone
Estrogens (estradiol, estrone, estriol)
Androgens (androsterone, testosterone)
Mineralocorticoid hormones (aldosterone, corticosterone) and
Glucocorticoid hormones (cortisol).
Cholesterol is also necessary to the normal permeability and function of cell membranes, the membranes that surround cells.

Cholesterol is carried in the bloodstream as lipoproteins. Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol is the "bad" cholesterol because elevated LDL levels are associated with an increased risk of coronary artery (heart) disease. Conversely, high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol is the "good" cholesterol since high HDL levels are associated with less coronary disease.

After the age of 20, cholesterol testing is recommended every 5 years.

A diet high in saturated fats tends to increase the blood cholesterol levels while diets high in unsaturated fats tend to do the opposite, to lower blood cholesterol levels.

Although some cholesterol is obtained from the diet, most cholesterol is made in the liver and other tissues. The treatment of elevated cholesterol therefore involves not only diet but also weight loss and regular exercise (and, occasionally, medications).
steroid
A general class of chemical substances that are structurally related to one another and share the same chemical skeleton (a tetracyclic cyclopenta[a]phenanthrene skeleton).
Steroid: A general class of chemical substances that are structurally related to one another and share the same chemical skeleton (a tetracyclic cyclopenta[a]phenanthrene skeleton).

Many hormones, body constituents, and drugs are steroids. Thus, the term steroid may carry many meanings. For example, steroids may refer to the corticosteroid drugs such as prednisone used to reduce swelling, pain, and other symptoms of inflammation. Vitamin D is a steroid, too, one that is necessary to normal health. The male hormone testosterone and its derivatives are steroids with anabolic effects that can be used medically (or illicitly) to build up muscle mass.

Cholesterol is yet again another steroid. In fact, the word steroid was coined in 1926 to refer to compounds like the sterols (as in cholesterol).

Vitamin D
A steroid vitamin which promotes the intestinal absorption and metabolism of calcium and phosphorus.
Vitamin D: A steroid vitamin which promotes the intestinal absorption and metabolism of calcium and phosphorus. Under normal conditions of sunlight exposure, no dietary supplementation is necessary because sunlight promotes adequate vitamin D synthesis in the skin. Deficiency can lead to bone deformity (rickets) in children and bone weakness (osteomalacia) in adults.

Vitamin D comes from the diet (eggs, fish, and dairy products) and is produced in the skin. Skin production of the active form of vitamin D depends 0n exposure to sunlight. Active people living in sunny regions produce most of the vitamin D they need from their skin. In less sunny climes the skin production of vitamin D is markedly diminished in the winter months, especially among the elderly and the housebound. In that population, vitamin D supplements become important.

Vitamin D deficiency among the elderly is quite common in the US. In a study of hospitalized patients in a general medical ward, vitamin D deficiency was detected in 57% of the patients. An estimated 50% of elderly women consume far less vitamin D in their diet than recommended.

The Food and Nutrition Board of the Institute of Medicine has recommended the following as an adequate vitamin D intake: 200 IU daily for people 19-50 years old; 400 International Units (IU) daily for those 51-70 years old; and 600 IU daily for those 71 years and older. An average multivitamin tablet contains 400 IU of vitamin D. Therefore, taking a multivitamin a day should help provide the recommended amount of vitamin D.

As to children, the National Academy of Sciences and American Academy of Pediatrics have recommended that all infants, including those who are exclusively breastfed, have a minimum intake of 200 International Units (IU) of vitamin D per day beginning during the first 2 months of life. In addition, it is recommended that an intake of 200 IU of vitamin D per day be continued throughout childhood and adolescence, because adequate sunlight exposure is not easily determined for a given individual.

phosphorus
An essential element in the diet and a major component of bone. Also found in the blood, muscles, nerves, and teeth. It is a component of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the primary energy source in the body.
Phosphorus: An essential element in the diet and a major component of bone. Phosphorus is also found in the blood, muscles, nerves, and teeth. It is a component of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), the primary energy source in the body.