Encyclopedia of Global Health


Edited by: Yawei Zhang

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      About the General Editor

      Yawei Zhang, M.D., Ph.D.

      Assistant Professor, Yale University, Division of Environmental Health Sciences

      Dr. Zhang received medical training at West China University of Medical Sciences between 1987 and 1993. After her graduation, she worked at Gansu Health Department, Lanzhou, China for about six years on several major public health studies, such as the National Children's Nutrition Survey Study and the Children's Immunization Program. These nationwide activities inspired her to further pursue research in the field of public health. In addition, her public health experience in China has also made her believe the importance of health education and the pursuit of research to advance the global understanding of the causes, treatment and prevention of disease.

      Dr. Yawei Zhang is currently an Assistant Professor at Yale University School of Public Health. Prior to her appointment at Yale, she obtained post-doctoral training at the National Cancer Institute. She received her Master's degree and Ph.D. degree in Public Health at Yale University. As a cancer epidemiologist, Dr. Zhang has been conducting epidemiological studies of human cancer risk involving various cancers, including Hodgkin's lymphoma and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, multiple myeloma, and cancers of the breast, testis, lung, and thyroid.

      During the past 10 years of research, she worked as Principal Investigator, Co-Investigator, Biostatistician, and Project Director for several major epidemiological studies investigating environmental exposures, endogenous hormones, genetic polymorphisms, and gene–environment interactions in the risk of human cancer. She is currently the Principal Investigator for epidemiological study of Quality of Life among Testicular Cancer Survivors. Dr. Zhang's research has made a significant impact on cancer prevention and control as reflected in her scientific publications.


      The contemporary understanding of global health is complicated and extends to all ends of the Earth and beyond. From the health effects of global warming to the implications of single nucleotide differences on disease, the factors that impact global health are extremely diverse and are changing constantly. As new scientific advances are made, as new policies are implemented, as wars are waged and peace agreements signed, or as new strains of infectious diseases evolve, the state of global health changes.

      Despite this dynamic and diverse system of knowledge, there are issues, people, discoveries, and advances that stand out as having made a significant impact on global health over the past centuries. This encyclopedia subsequently provides readers with a historical context for important changes and issues in global health and will serve as a foundation of knowledge. However, I invite you to use this information to inform your understanding of the current issues and challenges facing the field of global health and to participate in current global health discourse.

      The globalization of health began in the late fifteenth century when the European explorers discovered the Americas. Not only did the European explorers establish trade routes between Asia, Europe, and the Americas, they also geographically spread disease between continents. Soon after, they made connection between Africa and the Americas through slave trade, as well as many other areas of the world where they traded. Over the past several decades, rapid development of economic, political, social, and cultural globalization and the easy access to high-speed forms of transportation have lead to an exponential rise in international travel. It has given rise to new patterns in the spread of infectious diseases.

      The recent outbreak of the virus SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) represents a good example of how new infectious diseases can spread globally in an unprecedented speed. Health officials in Hong Kong reported that within seven days, a man infected with SARS had flown from Hong Kong to Munich, Barcelona, Frankfurt, London, Munich again, Frankfurt again and then back to Hong Kong before entering a hospital. The man is believed to be responsible for spreading SARS to Europe.

      On the other hand, the international response to SARS highlights the importance of global scientific networks in addressing the problem of emergent infectious diseases. While it took two years to identify HIV as the cause of AIDs in 1980s, it took only two weeks to identify coronavirus as the cause of SARS in the recent outbreak because the World Health Organization (WHO) created a global network involving 13 laboratories in ten countries to work on the case of SARS.

      A number of new infectious diseases have emerged during the past several decades that can be attributed to the urbanization, deforestation, change in land use and climate, population growth, poverty, political instability, and even terrorism.

      The rise of globalization has also lead to a rise in the incidence of non-communicable diseases through the adoption of unhealthy lifestyles, including stress, alienation and the aggressive marketing of fast foods, cigarettes, and alcohol.

      Although economic development and the introduction of modern medicine have reduced the incidence of infectious diseases and have made a general improvement in population health, the reduction of mortality from infectious diseases has been paralleled by an increase in non-communicable diseases, such as heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. This health transition experienced by most developing countries has been slower than the health transition in the more developed countries. Globalization has promoted uneven socioeconomic development in many developing countries, leading to rising incomes for certain sectors of the population and to lifestyle changes in these sectors that create a new health burden of non-communicable diseases and injuries.

      Meanwhile the poorer sectors of the population whose incomes and lifestyles have not changes that much still suffer from the old health burden of infectious diseases and malnutrition. The Global Burden of Disease project by the World Bank and the WHO in the early 1990s provided evidence of the epidemiological transition of disease burden in developing countries, and predicted that causes of death attributable to non-communicable diseases are expected to rapidly increase while causes of death attributable to communicable, perinatal, maternal and nutritional causes will decline over the next couple of decades. The international health data in 1990 revealed that the heart disease, stroke, and cancer have replaced the major communicable diseases and malnutrition as the prime causes of death worldwide, and the total number of deaths from non-communicable disease causes was actually greater in the developing countries than in more-developed countries.

      Infectious Diseases

      Infectious diseases, also called communicable diseases, are characterized by the presence or activation of one or more pathogenic microbial agents, transmitted through contact with infected individuals, by water, food, airborne inhalation, or through vector-borne spread. Infectious diseases have historically been the leading cause of human morbidity and mortality. Over the past 150 years, the mortality due to infectious diseases has declined substantially in developed countries, and non-communicable diseases such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, stroke, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and diabetes mellitus have become the leading causes of death in these countries.

      In the United States, only pneumonia, influenza, and HIV/AIDS, currently, rank among the top 10 causes of mortality. However, in developing countries, acute infectious diseases are the leading cause of death among children and young adults, and account for half of all deaths. It has been suggested that acute infectious diseases will decrease substantially during the next few decades.

      In addition, it is well documented that chronic infections plays an important role in pathogenesis of a number of chronic diseases, including cervical cancer (human papilloma virus [HPV]), hepatic cancer and cirrhosis (hepatitis B virus [HBV] and probably hepatitis C virus [HCV]), gastric cancer and peptic ulcer disease (Helicobacter pylori), and possible cardiovascular disease (Chlamydia pneumoniae or other infectious agents).

      A number of strategies have been employed to prevent morbidity and mortality from specific infectious diseases, including vector control (i.e., malaria, dengue, yellow fever, and onchocerciasis [river blindness]), vaccination (i.e., smallpox, measles, polio, neonatal tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis, tetanus, hepatitis B, meningococcal meningitis, and yellow fever), mass chemotherapy (i.e., hookworm, onchocerciasis, dracunculiasis [guinea worm], and sexually transmitted infections [STIs]), improved sanitation and access to clean water (i.e., diarrheal diseases), improved careseeking and caregiving (i.e., diarrheal diseases, acute respiratory infections, and neonatal tetanus), and behavior change (i.e., HIV and other STIs, diarrheal diseases, and dracunculiasis), among others.

      Through a combination of enhancements in case identification, containment, and vaccination, smallpox was successfully eradicated in the late 1970s worldwide. WHO and various partner agencies subsequently launched the Expanded Program of Immunizations (EPI) in 1974 to eradicate polio, dramatically reducing morbidity and mortality from measles and neonatal tetanus, and decreasing morbidity and mortality from diphtheria and pertussis worldwide. Furthermore, the success of HBV and HPV vaccination makes hepatic cancer and cirrhosis from HBV infection and cervical cancer from HPV a preventable chronic disease.

      Non-Communicable Diseases

      Non-communicable diseases are also called chronic diseases, or degenerative diseases, which are characterized by complex risk factors, functional impairment or disability, with a prolonged course of illness and the unlikelihood of cure. While it has been a major public health concern in developed countries, non-communicable diseases are expected to become a big burden to developing countries during the next few decades.

      In 1990, epidemiologists found that non-communicable diseases such as heart disease, stroke, and cancer have replaced the major communicable diseases and malnutrition as the prime causes of death worldwide, and estimated that by 2020 non-communicable diseases will account for 7 of 10 deaths in developing countries. Considerable efforts have been made to investigate potential risk factors for non-communicable diseases since the 1950s. It is currently well accepted that tobacco use, alcohol consumption, dietary intake, and physical activity are the major principle lifestyle factors highly associated with non-communicable diseases morbidity and mortality. In addition, a number of other factors are also currently linked to the etiology of non-communicable diseases, including social class, culture, social networks, education, income, race, gender, and occupation, although the results from current available literatures are inconsistent.

      Cardiovascular disease refers to a group of diseases that involve heart and blood vessels. While it has been the leading cause of death and disability in industrialized countries, it is the second leading cause of death and disability among individuals in developing countries. In 2000, cardiovascular diseases accounted for 20 percent of all deaths worldwide. The mortality pattern varies by age, race, and gender. Not only is cardiovascular disease the major cause of death in older age groups and in men, it is also a very significant contributor to mortality in persons of economically productive ages (30–69 years) and in women. In the United States, cardiovascular disease mortality is higher in men than in women, and less for white men and women than for black men and women. Although cardiovascular disease has been widely studied in developed countries, information on diagnosis, treatment, and their natural history is sparse in developing countries.

      Cancer is the second leading cause of death in the United States. The global burden of cancer is currently unclear because of the limited information on cancer incidence in developing countries. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has produced numerous publications on cancer, including a detailed compilation of cancer incidence data from high-quality registries, which served as the basis for global estimation of cancer. The incidence rate of specific cancers varies between developed and developing countries. While cancers of the lung, breast, colon, and prostate are the most frequent types in the developed world, cancers of the mouth and oropharynx, stomach, and liver are the most common malignancies in the developing world.

      Although lung cancer is relatively less common in the developing countries, its incidence and mortality is increasing as tobacco smoking becomes more prevalent. One of the well-established risk factors for lung cancer is tobacco smoking, but it is the most difficult to control because tobacco products are a great source of revenue for businesses and a major source of tax revenue for many governments. It has been suggested that 81 percent of worldwide liver cancer is attributable to infectious with hepatitis B and C viruses and to parasites that invoke a chronic inflammatory process. Because these infectious agents are more prevalent in developing countries, liver cancer is more frequent in these countries. Hepatitis B is generally transmitted through sexual intercourse or mother to child. A vaccination against hepatitis B is available now and has been demonstrated to be effective in reducing the incidence of liver cancer.

      In developing countries, the state-of-the-art medical treatments with surgery or chemotherapeutic medicines are not widely available. As such, the major focus is on prevention rather than treatment. Although enormous resources are devoted to treating cancer in developed countries such as the United States, prevention efforts have also proven to be the most successful means of decreasing mortality from cancer over the past several decades. A recent publication by IARC demonstrated that differences in the average length of survival between developed and developing countries were greatest for certain cancers in which multiple therapy (radiation, surgery, and chemotherapy) is most effective, including testicular cancer, leukemia, and lymphoma that occur predominantly among younger individuals.

      However, for the most common preventable cancers such as those of the mouth, stomach, liver, and lung, uniformly poor survival outcomes in all registries including those in either developed or developing countries were observed.

      Diabetes has become enormously prevalent and is a major cause of disability worldwide. There are two major distinct types, (a) insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus or type 1 diabetes which is characterized by immune destruction of the cells of the pancreas that secrete insulin; and (b) noninsulin-dependent diabetes mellitus or type 2 diabetes which is characterized by a high level of serum glucose and elevated levels of insulin. Type 1 diabetes usually occurs in younger people and appears to have a strong genetic component. It has been shown that type 1 diabetes rates are the highest in Finland and Sweden and the lowest in Asian countries, Mexico, Chile, and Peru. In the United States, the disease rates are generally higher among the white population than black or Hispanic population, but the lowest among Native Americans. On the other hand, type 2 diabetes prevalence is increasing among populations experiencing modernization with decreases in physical activity and increases in average body mass. The high rates of type 2 diabetes have been observed in Pacific Islanders, Australian aborigines, Asian Indians, and certain subsets of Native Americans. Both types of diabetes can lead to major complications including blindness, renal failure, injuries and chronic infections of the extremities, or even large vessel disease, such as ischemic heart disease. As such, the WHO has identified diabetes as a major priority in non-communicable disease control.

      Injuries are among the leading causes of death and burden of diseases all over the world. Every day, almost 16,000 individuals die from injuries. Incidence and severity of injuries vary according to age, sex, race, occupation, as well as economic and geographic factors. Globally, injuries are an enormous toll for children, adolescents and young adults, and their associated death rates are higher among boys than among girls. The burden of injuries in developing countries differs from developed countries. China, Latin America, the Caribbean, sub-Saharan Africa are among the highest injury burden countries. Compared to intentional injuries, unintentional injuries conferred a much bigger health burden. Unintentional injuries are responsible for 5.2 percent of total deaths and account for 10–30 percent of all hospital admissions. The leading cause of injury deaths is motor-vehicle accidents globally, then suicide, homicide, drowning, war-related injuries, falls, burns, and poisonings. Although motor-vehicle injuries are preventable, declines in incidence have not been observed around the world. In fact, increases during the next few years are expected because a number of factors that contribute to motor-vehicle injuries are still issues particularly in for developing countries, including rapid population growth, increasing motorization, little access to emergency care, lack of safety features in cars, crowded roads, poor road maintenance, and lack of police enforcement.

      Mental Health

      Mental health has received little attention historically because of its limited mortality. However, a recent assessment using the disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) as an indicator of the burden of disease has underscored the importance of mental health and stimulated reexamination of international health priorities. In developing countries, five of the ten leading causes of disability among persons 15–44 years are mental health and behavioral problems. All together, these five conditions account for almost 22 percent of all DALYs in the most productive years of life. While mental health and related conditions accounted for 10.5 percent of the disease burden with an additional 1.5 percent attributed to intentional injuries in developing countries, they accounted for 23.5 percent with an additional 2.2 percent attributed to intentional injuries in developed countries. It has been estimated that mental health and related conditions in developing countries are increasing toward the level in developed countries.

      The Encyclopedia

      The Encyclopedia of Global Health is a comprehensive A to Z, interdisciplinary, one-stop reference to a broad array of health topics worldwide. It covers all aspects of health including physical and mental health entries, current health status in each country of the five continents, biographies of major doctors and researchers, profiles of major medical institutes, organizations, corporations, and foundations, descriptions of major drugs and operations, articles on national health policies, and thematic health topics in the humanities. Pedagogical elements of the encyclopedia include an in-depth chronology detailing advances in health through history, a glossary of health definitions, extensive cross-references to related topics, and thorough bibliographic citations. Not only is the Encyclopedia of Global Health a useful reference for health professionals, but also for general populations.

      YaweiZhang, General Editor

      Reader's Guide

      This list is provided to assist readers in finding articles related by category or theme.

      List of Articles

      List of Contributors

      Acharya, Utkarsh, Ohio University, College of Osteopathic Medicine

      Aenlle, Lisa, Michigan State University, College of Human Medicine

      Ajayi, Toyin, King's College, London School of Medicine

      Ahmad, Aisha, St. Joseph Mercy of Macomb

      Akter, Farhana, King's College, London

      Alexander, Shelley L., University of Missouri-Kansas City, School of Medicine

      Ali, Ather, Yale University

      Ali, S. Harris, York University, Toronto

      Ament, Jared Daniel, Harvard Medical School, Harvard School of Public Health

      Barnes, Regan, Kansas City University

      Basseri, Robert J., University of Southern California, Los Angeles

      Bedi, Manpreet, University of Missouri-Kansas City

      Benzekri, Noelle A., UCLA School of Medicine

      Bergman, Hagit, University of Louisville

      Bhatraju, Pavan, University of Louisville

      Boslaugh, Sarah E., BJC HealthCare

      Boyle, Helen, Independent Scholar

      Boyle, Peter, Independent Scholar

      Brady, Mark, Brown Medical School

      Breitbart, Ross E., Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine

      Bumpass, David B., University of Virginia

      Burns, Melody, University of Missouri-Kansas City, School of Medicine

      Busfield, Joan, University of Essex

      Chandra, Amit, New York Hospital, Queens

      Chang, Cindy, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, SUNY Stony Brook

      Chaudhari, Bimal P., Boston University

      Chaudhury, Moushumi, Boston University

      Chen, Stephen, University of Toronto

      Chute, Laura Autumn, Independent Scholar

      Clerkin, Cathleen, University of California, Berkeley

      Clerkin, Paul J., Sacramento City College

      Corfield, Justin, Geelong Grammar School, Australia

      Cox, W. Joshua, Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences

      Currier, Connie, Michigan State University

      Curry, Christine, Independent Scholar

      Cymet, Tyler Childs, Johns Hopkins School of Medicine

      Darda, Saba, Independent Scholar

      Darido, Elias, Independent Scholar

      Dasari, Chanukya R., University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine

      Dasco, Matthew, Brown University

      David, Annette M., Health Partners, L.L.C.

      De Maio, Fernando, Simon Fraser University

      de Sanjosé, Silvia, Catalan Institute of Oncology, Barcelona, Spain

      Desai, Gautam J., Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences

      Desai, Komal Bharat, Independent Scholar

      Donkor, Martha, Edinboro University

      Dowling, Dennis J., Independent Scholar

      Drazin, Doniel, Albany Medical College

      Draeger, Nicholas J., Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences

      Dude, Annie, University of Chicago

      Dunbar, Brett D., Independent Scholar

      Ezra, Navid, David Geffen School of Medicine

      Farooq, Sidrah, Independent Scholar

      Fatima, Quratulain, Independent Scholar

      Fernandez Diaz, Natalia, Independent Scholar

      Fitch, Erin, Oregon Health and Science University

      Fleg, Anthony, UNC Chapel Hill Schools of Medicine and Public Health

      Foote, Mary, University of Arizona

      Franco-Paredes, Carlos, Emory University

      Frye, Stacy A., Michigan State University

      Fujioka, Kimberly, University of California, Berkeley

      Gagne, Joshua J., Jefferson Medical College

      Garcia, Megan, University of Missouri-Kansas City

      Garner, Angela J., University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine

      Gearhart, Shannon, Indiana University School of Medicine

      Ghanbari, Hamid, Independent Scholar

      Gharipour, Mohammad, Independent Scholar

      Gladwin, Rahul, University of Health Sciences, Antigua

      Glaros, Alan George, Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences

      Glaser, Kelli, Independent Scholar

      Gokoffski, Kimberly, University of California, Irvine

      Goldkamp, Jennifer, University of Missouri, Kansas City

      Goldstein, Bradley E., Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine

      Gowda, Charitha, Duke University School of Medicine

      Grant, Jonelle S., University of North Carolina

      Grant, William B., Sunlight, Nutrition, and Health Research Center

      Guffey, Megan K., Independent Scholar

      Gupta, Nakul, Ross University School of Medicine

      Gurbani, Barkha N., UCLA School of Medicine

      Gurbani, Mala, University of Southern California

      Hadland, Scott, Washington University School of Medicine

      Hamilton, William J., Arizona State University

      Haque, Omar Sultan, Harvard Medical School

      Hartmann, Daniel, University of Heidelberg, Germany

      Hellawell, Jennifer L., Cornell University School of Medicine

      Hissett, Jennifer, University of Colorado Health Sciences Center

      Hoh, Josephine, Yale University Department of Epidemiology and Public Health

      Hohman, Donald W., Jr., St. George's University

      Hunt, Tracey A., Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences

      Husseini, Abdullatif, Birzeit University, Palestine

      Ingram, Stephanie F., University of South Florida College of Medicine

      Jain, Sachin, Rush University Medical Center

      Janes, Matthew, University of California, Irvine

      Janneck, Laura, Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine

      Jeshmaridian, Samvel Sergei, American Psychological Association

      Joshi, Priya P., Chicago Medical School

      Khan, Karim, Independent Scholar

      Karty, Ann M., Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences

      Kaur, Yasmin, St. Matthew's University

      Kaushik, Anjan P., University of Virginia

      Keller, Thomas Christian, University of Virginia

      Kennedy, Justina, University of Louisville

      Khan, Omar A., University of Vermont College of Medicine

      Khanderia, Shamoli, Private Practice Physician

      Kim, Daniel, Harvard School of Public Health

      Kiem, JoAnn Tijn Kon, Independent Scholar

      Kim, Lindsay, Emory University School of Medicine

      Kolo, George, Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences

      Kulczycki, Andrzej, University of Alabama, Birmingham

      La Flair, Lareina Nadine, Harvard Medical School

      Lathorn, Heather, Independent Scholar

      Le, Mai Nhung, San Francisco State University

      Lee, Darrin J., University of California, Irvine

      Levin, Elizabeth, Laurentian University

      Lim, Joanne, University of Southern California

      List, Justin M., Stritch School of Medicine, Loyola University Chicago

      Liu, Constance W., Case Western Reserve University

      Lozada, Jose S., Case Western Reserve University

      Lunardini, David J., University of Virginia

      Ly, E. John, Brown University Medical School

      Ma, Shen-Ying Richard, University of Virginia

      Madjar, Ingrid Y., Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences College of Osteopathic Medicine

      Malik, Rizwan Asif, Independent Scholar

      Malouin, Rebecca A., Michigan State University

      Mamelian, Kristen, University of Missouri, Kansas City

      Manganaro, Christine L., University of Minnesota

      Martinez, Celina, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine

      Masood, Quratulain, Independent Scholar

      May, Linda E., Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences

      Mayne, Susan T., Yale University

      McClain, Rance, Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences

      McRae, Mary Peace, Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences

      Mehta, Amee, Independent Scholar

      Mehta, Jinal, University of Missouri

      Meiners, Melissa, University of Missouri, Kansas City School of Medicine

      Menon, Priya, Johannesburg General Hospital

      Mexia, Ricardo, Independent Scholar

      Michaud, Lyn, Independent Scholar

      Michon, Heather K., Independent Scholar

      Miller, DeMond Shondell, Rowan University

      Monaco, Thiago, University of Sâo Paulo Medical School, Brazil

      Morris, Shaun K. Independent Scholar

      Nandi, Deipanjan, Duke University School of Medicine

      Neu, Denese M., HHS Planning & Consulting, Inc.

      Neff, Duane R., Brandeis University

      Nguyen, Claire K., Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

      Nijhawan, Rajiv I., Independent Scholar

      Noguchi, Lisa, Pittsburgh Medical Center

      Novogradec, Ann, York University, Toronto

      Ogden, Richard K., Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences

      Padula, Alessandra, Università degli Studi, L'Aquila, Italy

      Pakes, Barry, University of Toronto

      Palmatier, Jason, Independent Scholar

      Panjabi, Rajesh, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, Johns Hopkins School of Public Health

      Patel, Ashwinkumar, Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania

      Patel, Pinaki N., Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences College of Osteopathic Medicine

      Patel, Sangeeta, University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine

      Patel, Shalu S., University of Michigan

      Pilitsis, Julie, Rush University Medical Center

      Pizzorno, Joseph E., Bastyr University

      Pollard, Vincent Kelly, University of Hawaii at Manoa

      Potru, Rachana, Michigan State University College of Human Medicine

      Prono, Luca, Independent Scholar

      Purdy, Elizabeth, Independent Scholar

      Quinn, John, University of Illinois at Chicago

      Rad, Seyed Ali Mohammadi, Michigan Radiological Society

      Raminani, Sudha R., The Fenway Institute

      Ran, Maosheng, University of Guam

      Rattan, Rishi, University of Illinois–Chicago

      Richards, Misty Charissa, Albany Medical College

      Roberto, Christina, Yale University

      Robinson, Elliot P., University of Virginia

      Rodriguez-Morales, Alfonso J., Universidad de Los Andes, Venezuela

      Rowland, Amy, John Jay College of Criminal Justice

      Sacks, Emma, Columbia University

      Sagert, Kelly Boyer, Independent Scholar

      Samad, Ahmed S., Hoffmann-La Roche Inc.

      Samartzis, Dino, Harvard University

      Sathe, Neha, New York University

      Saunders, Paul Richard, Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine

      Scheller, Ericka L., Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences

      Schlaefer, Katherine, Camino al Cambio

      Sebley, Caroline, Kansas City University of Medicine

      Sedney, Cara, West Virginia University School of Medicine

      Seetharam, Anil, Washington University in St. Louis

      Sehgal, Akta, University of Missouri–Kansas City School of Medicine

      Shealy, C. Norman, Independent Scholar

      Shekhawat, Nakul, Vanderbilt University

      Shen, Francis H., University of Virginia

      Shenderov, Kevin, New York University

      Shimizu, Ikue, Brown University Medical School

      Sinclair, Amber, University of Georgia

      Skaouris, Afrodite, Northeastern Illinois University

      Smith, Erin, Kansas City University of Medicine

      Smith, Matthew Jordan, Florida State University

      Soper, Fred L., Independent Scholar

      Stansbeary, Jeremy John, Oklahoma State University

      Stevenson, Bernadette Mietus, University of North Carolina

      Stickler, Gunnar B., Independent Scholar

      Strain, Ryan, University of Missouri-Kansas City School of Medicine

      Sturm, Jacquelyn, Independent Scholar

      Sturzenegger, Amber, Kansas City University

      Subbarayan, Rishi, North Eastern Ohio Universities College of Medicine

      Sullivan, Timothy, Georgetown University

      Sundet, Sarah, Independent Scholar

      Tabin, Geoffrey, University of Utah School of Medicine

      Tan, Jonathan, SUNY Stony Brook School of Medicine

      Tavassoly, Iman, Mazandaran University of Medical Sciences, Iran

      Taylor, John M., University of Alberta

      Tella, Swathi, Independent Scholar

      Taarea, Roberto, Independent Scholar

      Tarigopala, Sweta, Independent Scholar

      Tavassoly, Omid, Tarbiat Modares University

      Terzioglu, Aysecan, City University of New York

      Tatevossian, Tiffany, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA

      Than, Khoi D., Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine

      Thorn, George W., Independent Scholar

      Tuddenham, Susan, Independent Scholar

      Urajnik, Diana, University of Toronto

      Usera, Phillip Cresswell, The Medical School for International Health, Israel

      Van Opstal, Elizabeth, Michigan State University

      Varco, Richard L., Independent Scholar

      Vassy, Jason, Washington University in St. Louis

      Vegosen, Leora, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health

      Villanueva, Tiago, Centro Hospitalar de Lisboa-zona Central, Portugal

      Walsh, John, Shinawatra University, Thailand

      Waskey, Andrew J., Dalton State College

      Watcha, Daena, Stanford University

      Webster, Danielle, University of Missouri–Kansas City School of Medicine

      Webster, Noah J., Case Western Reserve University

      Wentzell, Emily, University of Michigan

      Willsie, Debra A., University of Missouri–Kansas City

      Willsie, Sandra, Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences

      Winn, Jessica, Independent Scholar

      Winograd, Claudia, University of Illinois

      Wirtz, Andrea, Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health

      Wolinski, Melissa K., Michigan State University

      Wynne, Ben, Gainesville State College

      Yaman, Aylin, Antalya State Hospital

      Yaman, Hakan, Akdeniz University

      Yeh, James S., Boston University School of Medicine

      Yelin, Joel C., Rowan University

      Yoo, Grace, San Francisco State University

      Younger, Jarred, Stanford University School of Medicine

      Yeung, Michael, Independent Scholar

      Zheng, Tongzhang, Yale University School of Medicine

      Zincavage, Rebekah M., Brandeis University


      8000–10000 B.C.E.: Evidence that healers attended to trauma, set broken bones, assisted at childbirth, and conducted healing rituals.

      3100 B.C.E.: First report of use of Chinese herb Ma Huang, also known as ephedrine.

      1350 B.C.E: Earliest recorded epidemic of smallpox. Smallpox spread rapidly throughout the populated world including Egypt, Arabia, Greece and in the second century c.e. had spread into central Europe.

      300 B.C.E: An essential part of Greek thinking is the early idea of balance of the four basic elements: fire, water, air, and earth. To each of these elements there was a bodily humor (blood, black bile, yellow bile, and phlegm). Illness was ascribed to their imbalance.

      0 C.E: At the beginning of the Christian era, the world population is probably about 250 million, a figure that did not change appreciably for a thousand years.

      335: Emperor Constantine decrees that infirmaries (early hospitals) must be built in Rome.

      700s–800s: First asylums (mental hospitals) built.

      1348: Venice develops a 40-day detention period (quarantine) for all incoming vessels as Venetians believed the plague was introduced via ships. Genoa, Marseilles, and other major ports adopted the quarantine.

      1400s: Pope Sixtus IV permits autopsies at Bolonga and Padua medical schools.

      1530: Contagion theory of disease is articulated by Renaissance physician and scholar Girolamo Fracastoro. In 1530, he also coined the name for syphilis.

      1610: First cesarean section is performed on a living woman.

      1624: Typhoid fever is described. Typhoid fever is an infectious disease caused by the bacterium salmonella typhi, which multiplies in the bloodstream and gets excreted out via the digestive tract.

      Late 1640s: Yellow fever epidemic is recorded. Yellow fever is caused by the yellow fever virus, which is carried by mosquitoes. It is now endemic in 33 countries in Africa and 11 countries in South America.

      1665: Scientific journals begin publication. The French, Journal des sçavans and the English Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society first began systematically publishing research results.

      1700s: Bristle toothbrushes are introduced. It was during World War II that the concept of brushing teeth really caught on in the United States, in part due to the fact that it was part of American soldiers' regular daily duty to clean their teeth.

      1747: First clinical trial, of citrus fruit for treating scurvy, is conducted. Scurvy is a deficiency disease that results from lack of vitamin C, which is required for correct collagen synthesis in humans.

      1750: Word “antiseptic” is first used. Antiseptics are antimicrobial substances that are applied to living tissue/skin to reduce the possibility of infection, sepsis, or putrefaction.

      1751: Giovanni Morgagni's On the Seats and Causes of Disease as Investigated by Anatomy, containing life and postmortem observations on 700 patients is published.

      1785: First clinical description of chicken pox. Chickenpox is caused by the varicella:zoster virus (VZV), also known as human herpes virus 3 (HHV-3), one of the eight herpes viruses known to affect humans.

      1785: Placebo is described.

      1796: Edward Jenner introduces a modified technique of variolation by using cowpox material. Mass inoculation using cowpox material (called vaccination) was introduced extensively in Britain first and then in all of Europe and other parts of the colonial world.

      1802: Health and Morals of Apprentices Act legislated to control abuses of the Industrial Revolution in England. It limits the work of children in textile factories to 12 hours per day, but setting no lower age limit for employment.

      1803: Morphine is isolated from opium.

      1818: Cholera spread to Southeast Asia, China, Japan, East Africa, the eastern Mediterranean (Syria and Palestine), and southern Russia.

      1820s: First description of diphtheria. Diphtheria is a very contagious and potentially life-threatening bacterial disease that primarily affects the nasal passages, throat, and lungs.

      1820s: Tubal sterilization is proposed.

      1830: Widespread efforts to alleviate many unhealthful conditions begins in England.

      1831–1833: The first cholera pandemic to strike England and western Europe takes thousands of lives and quickly spreads to North America via shipping.

      1839: “Cell Theory” is introduced.

      1839: Vulcanization is discovered, making rubber condoms possible.

      1842: Ether is introduced as the first practical anesthetic. Anesthesia has traditionally meant the condition of having the perception of pain and other sensations blocked.

      1842: Edwin Chadwick introduced his Report on an Inquiry into the Sanitary Condition of the Labouring Population of Great Britain, a document fundamental in the development of modern public health.

      1849: John Snow publishes On the Mode of Communication of Cholera, a work expanded and augmented in 1854 which would become one of the great classics of epidemiological reasoning.

      1859: Louis Pasteur suggests that fermentation is caused by living organisms, and that human disease is caused by a similar process.

      1851: The First International Sanitary Conference, organized by 12 European nations in Paris, tries to work out the solutions to the “Defense of Europe.” This was the first attempt to reach a consensus on drafting international quarantine regulations.

      1854: Italian researcher Filippo Pacini discovers and names the cholera vibrio in the stools and intestine of cholera patients and cited it as the cause of the illness.

      1855: Cell division is first described. Cell division is the biological basis of life and enables sexually reproducing organisms to develop from the one-celled zygote.

      1859: Charles Darwin's The Origin of Species is published. Darwin summarized his theory of evolution through natural selection.

      1863: International Committee of the Red Cross is founded. The Red Cross was the first nongovernmental organization (NGO), founded by a Swiss national inspired by the terrible suffering of soldiers.

      1868: First employee and employer-sponsored health insurance program is established.

      1870: French physiologist Paul Bert publishes Barometric Pressure, a summary of his pioneering studies on the effects of high and low pressure on human physiology.

      1875: Union of sperm and egg nuclei during fertilization is observed.

      1879: Germ theory is introduced. The germ theory of disease, also called the pathogenic theory of medicine, is a theory that proposes that microorganisms are the cause of many diseases.

      1890: John Simon, the pioneer of English state medicine, surveys progress in public health during the past two centuries in his English Sanitary Institutions.

      1880: A Panama Canal building project is started by the French. After 8 years and almost 20,000 deaths from malaria and yellow fever, the French abandoned their effort.

      1881: Robert Koch discovers how to grow bacteria in culture, an advance for testing antibiotics.

      1889: Baltimore surgeon William Halsted suggests that his nurse wears rubber gloves during surgery and realizes effect on antisepsis.

      1890: Antibodies, called antitoxins at the time, are discovered.

      1890: Cause of dental caries is discovered. Dental caries, also described as tooth decay, damages the structures of teeth.

      1983: French physician, Jacques Bertillon, introduces the Bertillon Classification of Causes of Death at the International Statistical Institute in Chicago. A number of countries adopted Dr. Bertillon's system.

      1896: Radium is discovered. Radium is intensely radioactive and is used in medicine to produce radon gas, which in turn is used as a cancer treatment.

      1900: Blood types are discovered. The classification of blood is based on the presence or absence of inherited antigenic substances on red blood cells.

      1903: Several nations sign International Sanitary Agreement to prevent the spread of yellow fever, cholera, and bubonic plague.

      1904: An Edinburgh doctor reports that alcohol, lead, and morphine given to a pregnant woman can harm a developing fetus.

      1906: Word “allergy” is coined. Allergies are the immune system's incorrect response to a foreign substance.

      1907: The French government hosts the first international health office, called L'Office International d'Hygeine Publique (OIHP) in 1907 in Paris. OIHP was the first truly international health agency to monitor and report health outbreaks

      1909: Rockefeller Foundation begins with some 72,000 shares of stock in Standard Oil of New Jersey. Its purpose was to “Promote the well-being and to advance civilization of the peoples of the United States …”.

      1910: First gene is mapped to a chromosome. Today, scientists have identified more than 1 million genetic variations that relate to disease risk or drug responses, and predict whether a medicine might be effective, ineffective, or toxic in certain individuals.

      1911: Measles proven to be caused by a virus. Measles is a highly contagious infectious disease characterized by fever, cough, conjunctivitis, and a distinctive spreading rash.

      1912: Word “vitamins” is coined to describe nutrients, deficiencies of which cause disease.

      1913: James B. Waton's manifesto on behaviorism is published.

      1915: First-known medical transport takes place as the Serbian Army retreats from Albania.

      1919: Rickets are attributed to dietary deficiency, shown as preventable and curable with cod liver oil.

      1920s: George Papanicolaou introduces the Pap smear test for screening cervical cancer and uterine cancer.

      1921: Discovery of insulin to treat diabetes. The disease was reported as an uncommon condition in the developing world at the time.

      1922: Cures of cancer with radiotherapy reported.

      1923: League of Nations Health Organization forms. A series of basic clinical field research studies on medicine and public health are undertaken.

      1924: Last outbreak of bubonic plague in the United States begins. Last reported U.S. cases of human-to-human plague transmission occurs.

      1927: Pregnancy test is invented.

      1928: First antibiotic drug, penicillin, is discovered by Scottish scientist Sir Alexander Fleming.

      1934: Mumps shown to be caused by virus. Mumps is a viral infection that primarily affects the parotid glands.

      1936: Cystic fibrosis (CF) is described. Cystic fibrosis is an inherited disease that affects breathing and digestion.

      1937: First U.S. blood bank is established in Chicago.

      1937: The West Nile Virus is first isolated in a human in Uganda. West Nile Virus is spread by vector transmission where a living organism passes the virus to the human.

      1940: One of four viruses that cause dengue fever is discovered.

      1945: First water fluoridation program is launched in Michigan.

      1946: Communicable Disease Center, which developed into the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, is founded. 1946: The International Monetary Fund is developed representing 182 member countries who promote monetary cooperation, economic growth, and temporary financial assistance in other to help balance payment adjustments through surveillance and technical assistance.

      1946: United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) is established.

      1947: Nuremberg Code is promulgated. The Nuremberg Code is a set of principles for human experimentation set as a result of the Nuremberg trials at the end of World War II.

      1948: World Health Organization (WHO) is founded. The WHO, the primary global health organization in the world.

      1949: Framingham Heart Study is launched. The Framingham Heart Study is a cardiovascular study based in Framingham, Massachusetts. The study began with 5,209 adult subjects from Framingham, and is on its third generation of participants today.

      1950: Studies conclude there is strong evidence that smoking cigarettes causes lung cancer.

      1950: Chinese government announces it wants to reconcile traditional Chinese medicine and Western medicine into a single system.

      1953: Structure of DNA is discovered. Watson and Crick published their results on DNA structure in the April 25, 1953 issue of Nature. The model of the DNA as a double helix revolutionized research.

      1954: Field trials of polio vaccine begin. Polio is an acute viral infectious disease which is spread from person to person via the fecal–oral route.

      1958: WHO recommends launching the Eradication of Smallpox Program at the World Health Assembly.

      1958: The International Standards for Drinking Water are published. In this instance the term “standards” was used to be applied to the suggested criteria of water quality.

      1958: Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is discovered. It is an emergency first aid procedure for a victim of cardiac arrest. It is part of the chain of survival, which includes early access (to emergency medical services), early CPR, early defibrillation, and early advanced care.

      1960: Birth control pill is introduced. The Federal Drug Administration (FDA) approved a drug containing artificial progesterone and estrogen as a contraceptive.

      1960: The Center for Health and Population Research is founded by the United States and Pakistan governments to study the epidemiology, prevention, and treatment of cholera.

      1962: Rubella virus is isolated. Rubella is a mild disease with signs and symptoms of low-grade fever, swollen lymph nodes in the neck, and a pink rash of many tiny raised bumps on the face, trunk, and extremities. The greatest health concern with rubella is to women in the first trimester of pregnancy and may result in spontaneous abortion.

      1962: Rabies virus is observed. Rabies is a serious viral disease that affects the central nervous system. Typically, rabies spreads by way of the saliva of infected animals.

      1963: Activities of Daily Living (ADLs) scale first published. ADLs refer to the regular, everyday tasks that are necessary for independent living and self-care.

      1964: U.S. Public Health Service launches its first antismoking campaign.

      1965: Medicare is signed into law on July 30, 1965 by President Lyndon B. Johnson as an amendment to Social Security legislation.

      1965: The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) is established to conduct research on environmental biology and cancer.

      1967: First successful heart transplant is completed.

      1970: Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is founded. The EPA is an agency of the federal government of the United States charged with protecting human health and with safeguarding the natural environment.

      1971: Australia passes its first law requiring seat-belt use. 1971: Herb used in ancient Chinese medicine to treat malaria, quinghaosu, is proven to be effective.

      1971: Family Health International is founded. It is among the largest and most established nonprofit organizations active in international public health.

      1972: Clean Water Act is passed.

      1972: WHO launches a special program of research, promotion, and development on human reproduction to meet the needs of developing countries.

      1972: Medicaid is instituted in the United States as health insurance for the poor.

      1973: Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results Program (SEER) is established by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to collect and study cancer incidence and survival data in the United States.

      1973: Supreme Court passes Roe v. Wade, a law legalizing first-term abortion and leaving the regulation of second- and third-term abortions in states' hands.

      1975: WHO, together with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and the World Bank, establishes a special program for research and training in tropical diseases.

      1975: First case of e. Coli O157:H7 is reported. Escherichia coli are bacteria of which the virulent strains can cause significant gastrointestinal morbidity and mortality. E. coli O157:H7's virulence stems from its ability to produce several toxins.

      1975: First hybridoma, cell that produces monoclonal antibodies is created.

      1975: United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) supports piloting and launch of Integrated Child Development services. Today, this program reaches out to 4.8 million expectant and nursing mothers and 30 million children under six years of age in India per year.

      1976: Existence of oncogenes reported by Dr. G. Steve Martin of the University of California, Berkeley. An oncogene is a modified gene, or a set of nucleotides that codes for a protein, that increases the malignancy of a tumor cell.

      1976: First mass flu (influenza) vaccine program is launched. Each year, the influenza virus changes and different strains become dominant. Due to the high mutability of the virus, a particular vaccine formulation created in labs usually only works for about a year.

      1978: First test-tube baby born.

      1978: Hepatitis A is grown in culture. Hepatitis A is spread through feces. One can get infected through close contact with an infected person (e.g., changing a diaper or having sexual contact). One also can get infected by eating contaminated food or drinking contaminated water.

      1979: Smallpox is eradicated. It was a highly infectious viral disease spread by respiratory discharge, killing 25–30 percent of unvaccinated patients. The virus still exists in at least two laboratories in the world (the CDC and a research institute in Moscow) so that a vaccine can be made in case there is another outbreak.

      1980: Congress passes Superfund Act, formerly known as the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act.

      1981: First description of acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) is published in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly.

      1982: A hepatitis B vaccine is available. Infection due to hepatitis B virus became a global health problem in the late 1980s.

      1982: The CDC changes the name of the illness called GRID or “gay cancer” to AIDS.

      1983: Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is discovered. HIV emerged as an explosive pandemic by the mid-1980s. As soon as the main modes of transmission of AIDS were identified, a global program on AIDS was initiated in the mid-1980s by WHO.

      1983: A dermatologist from India begins to identify skin lesions from arsenic poisoning on his patients from the Eastern Indian State of West Bengal which shares some aquifers with Bangladesh.

      1984: First needle exchange program is introduced in Amsterdam. 1985: FDA approves the first enzyme linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) test kit to screen for antibodies to HIV.

      1986: The largest-ever radiation accident involving a nuclear reactor occurs at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Ukraine. Radioactive contamination spread over large areas of Belarus, the Russian Federation, and Ukraine.

      1986: U.S. Surgeon General C. Everett Koop calls for AIDS education for children of all ages, saying that “We can no longer afford to sidestep frank, open discussions about sexual practices, homosexual or heterosexual.”

      1987: CDC recommends universal precautions for preventing the spread of infection.

      1988: The World Health Assembly resolves to eradicate polio by the year 2000.

      1988: Human Genome Project is launched. An international research effort to sequence and map all of the genes—together known as the genome—of members of the human species, Homo sapiens. Completed in April 2003.

      1988: The use of radiation sources in medical and other applications is widespread throughout the world.

      1988: Condom use is shown to be effective in preventing sexual transmission of HIV.

      1990s: At least 11 countries are experimenting with biological weaponry.

      1990: First public health recommendations urging women to have regular mammograms.

      1990: Around 1 billion people do not have access to a safe water supply, while over 1.7 billion are without adequate sanitation.

      1990: American AIDS deaths pass the 100,000 mark—nearly twice the number of Americans who died in the Vietnam War.

      1992: National Institutes of Health (NIH) forms Office of Alternative Medicine.

      1993: Tuberculosis emerges as a globally dangerous infection.

      1994: BRCA2, second breast cancer gene, is located and identified.

      1994: Obesity in the United States increases to 22.5 percent from 14.5 percent in 1976.

      1995: Hepatitis A vaccine is introduced. Hepatitis A is an acute infectious liver disease caused by the hepatovirus hepatitis A virus. The vaccine will prevent infection from hepatitis A for approximately 15–30 years.

      1995: Protease inhibitors (PIs) are introduced. PIs are a class of medication used to treat or prevent infection by viruses, including HIV and hepatitis C.

      1997: Scientists clone sheep.

      1997: Highly pathogenic avian influenza outbreak in Hong Kong causes 18 cases. Extensive studies of the human cases determined that direct contact with diseased poultry was the source of infection.

      1997: China's immunization program covers more than 95 percent of children.

      1997: The first human trials of an AIDS vaccine begin with 5,000 volunteers from across the nation.

      1998: WHO initiates a global program called Roll Back Malaria. Malaria remains a threat in about 100 countries, most of which are located in the tropics and subtropics.

      1998: Healthy People 2010 is released. It is a nationwide health promotion and disease prevention plan that is composed of 467 specific objectives, 28 goals, and two overarching goals to be achieved by the year 2010.

      1998: 134 million children are immunized against polio in a single day in India.

      1998: Human embryonic stem cells are cultured. Because of their plasticity and potentially unlimited capacity for self-renewal, Embryonic stem cell therapies have been proposed for regenerative medicine and tissue replacement after injury or disease.

      1999: Washington University in St. Louis researchers show that treating rats' injured spinal cords with immature nerve cells grown from stem cells helps restore some function. The research suggests that this technique could one day be used in human spinal cord injury treatment.

      2000: EPA signs agreement with 26 other nations to bring down the emissions of several chemicals to reduce smog, acid rain, and other types of environmental damage.

      2000: United Nations Millennium Declaration is signed. The Millennium Development Goals are eight goals that 191 United Nations member states have agreed to try to achieve by the year 2015.

      2002: The first human cases of SARS are identified. SARS originally involved a zoonotic transmission in which the novel coronavirus crossed over from an animal species to humans, then adapting itself so that it could be transmitted between human hosts.

      2002: The Global Fund is created. AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria are preventable diseases that can be treated effectively. Relative to high-income countries, the burden of these diseases is 30 times greater in developing countries, resulting in economic loss, social disintegration, and political instability. The Fund was created to respond to this challenge.

      2004: Road traffic injuries are a deadly scourge, taking the lives of 1.2 million men, women and children around the world each year. Hundreds of thousands more are injured on roads, some of whom become permanently disabled. The vast majority of these occur in developing countries, among pedestrians, cyclists, motorcyclists, and users of public transport, many of whom would never be able to afford a private motor vehicle.

      2005: Save the Children, a U.S.-based independent global humanitarian organization, released its annual Mothers' Index that ranks the best and worst places to be a mother and a child. The index, highlighted in the organization's State of the World's Mothers 2005 report, ranks the status of mothers and children in 110 countries based on ten indicators pertaining to health and education. The index reveals that where mothers survive and thrive, children survive and thrive. Scandinavian countries sweep the top rankings of the best places to be a mother, while countries in sub-Saharan Africa dominate the bottom tier. The United States ranks in 11th place.

      2007: Former United Nations chief Kofi Annan warns that climate change is likely to be the most urgent humanitarian challenge in the future, highlighting some one million people hit by recent flooding in Africa. Risks to international public health from floods, heat waves, and droughts arising from climate change are becoming the focus of global health organizations and officials around the world. A range of health problems is expected to accompany rising temperatures worldwide, especially in developing countries, according to Climate Change 2007: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability.

      BriseisKilfoy, Yale University
    • Resource Guide

      • Books

        Abraham, J. Science, Politics and the Pharmaceutical Industry (UCL Press, 1995)

        Abraham, J. and Lewis, G. Regulating Medicines in Europe (Routledge, 2000)

        Alberts, David S. and Hess, Lisa M. Fundamentals of Cancer Prevention (Springer, 2005)

        Aron, Joan L. and Patz, Jonathan A. Ecosystem Change and Public Health: A Global Perspective (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2001)

        Athanasou, Nicholas. Pathological Basis of Orthopaedic & Rheumatic Disease (Arnold, 2001)

        Basch, Paul. Textbook of International Health (Oxford University Press, 1999)

        Beck, A.T. Cognitive Theory and The Emotional Disorders. (Penguin Books, 1979)

        Bickley, Lynn S. Bates’ Guide to Physical Examination and History Taking, Eighth Edition (Lippincott Williams and Wilkins, 2003)

        Braunwald, Eugene, et al. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, Fifteenth Edition (McGraw-Hill, 2001)

        Buckingham, Robert. A Primer on International Health (Benjamin Cummings, 2000)

        Burbank, Patricia M. Vulnerable Older Adults: Health Care Needs and Interventions (Springer, 2006)

        Coope, John. Doctor Chekhov: A Study in Literature and Medicine (Cross Publishing, 1997)

        Cooper, B.S. and How, S. Medicare's Future: Current Picture, Trends, and Medicare Prescription Drug Improvement & Modernization Act of 2003 (The Commonwealth Fund, 2004)

        Debre, Patrice. Louis Pasteur (Flammarion, 1994)

        Dipiro, Joseph T., et al. Pharmacotherapy: A Pathophysiologic Approach (McGraw-Hill, 2005)

        Dowell, Scott F. and Levitt, Alexandra M. Protecting the Nation's Health in an Era of Globalization: CDC's Global Infectious Disease Strategy (HHS and CDC, 2002)

        Evans, Audrey E. Advances in Neuroblastoma Research (Raven Press, 1980)

        Fort, Meredith, et al. Sickness and Wealth: The Corporate Assault on Global Health (Sound End Press, 2004)

        Foster, K. Wade and Elmets, Craig A. Sunburn (Conn's Current Therapy, 2006)

        Framer, Paul. Infections and Inequalities: The Modern Plagues (University of California Press, 2001)

        French, H.E. The Productivity of Health Care and Pharmaceuticals: An International Comparison (AEI Press, 1999)

        Global Health Watch. Global Health Watch 2005–06: An Alternative World Health Report (Zed, 2005)

        Greenberg, Mark S. Handbook of Neurosurgery, Fifth Edition (Thieme, 2001)

        Gunn, S.W.A., et al. Understanding the Global Dimensions of Health (Springer, 2005)

        Harrison, A. Getting the Right Medicine? (King's Fund, 2003)

        Henderson, J.W. Health Economics and Policy (South-Western College Pub., 1999)

        Hennig, Willi. Phylogenetic Systematics (University of Illinois Press, 1966)

        Hirshkowitz, Max and Smith, Patricia B. Sleep Disorders for Dummies (Wiley, 2007)

        Hodges, L. Environmental Pollution (Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1973)

        Hoffman G.F., et al. Inherited Metabolic Diseases (Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2002)

        House, William F., et al. Acoustic Tumors: Diagnosis and Management (Singular, 1997)

        Kasmauski, Karen. Impact: On the Frontlines of Global Health (National Geographic, 2003)

        Kasper, Dennis L. Harrison's Principle's of Internal Medicine (McGraw-Hill Inc., 2005)

        Kinder, Molly and Levine, Ruth. Millions Saved: Proven Successes in Global Health (Center for Global Development, 2004)

        Klug, William S. and Cummings, Michael R. Concepts of Genetics (Prentice Hall, 2002)

        Koop, C. Everett, et al. Critical Issues in Global Health (Jossey-Bass, 2002)

        Krapp, Kristine and Wilson, Jeffrey. The Gale Encyclopedia of Children's Health: Infancy through Adolescence (Thomas Gale, 2005)

        Kufe, Donald. Cancer Medicine, Sixth Edition (Hamilton, 2003)

        Kumar, Vinay, et al. Pathologic Basis of Disease (Elsevier Saunders, 2005)

        Lang, Laura. GIS for Health Organizations (ESRI Press, 2000)

        Last, John. A Dictionary of Epidemiology (Oxford University Press, 2000)

        Lipsky, Martins S. American Medical Association: Concise Medical Encyclopedia (Random House Reference, 2007)

        Lopez, Alan D., et al. Global Burden of Disease and Risk Factors (World Bank Publications, 2006)

        MacKay, Ian R. and Rose, Noel Richard. The Autoimmune Diseases, Fourth Edition (St. Louis, 2006)

        Malt, Robert A. The Practice of Surgery (W.B. Saunders, 1993)

        Meade, Melinda S. and Earickson, Robert J. Medical Geography, Second Edition (Guilford Press, 2005)

        Merson, Michael. International Public Health (Jones and Bartlett, 2005)

        Meyer, Jerrold S. and Quenzer, Linda F. Psychopharmacology: Drugs, the Brain, and Behavior (Sinauer & Associates, 2004)

        Moeller, D.W. Environmental Health (Harvard University Press, 1992)

        Monagle, John F. Health Care Ethics: Issues for the 21st Century (Aspen, 1998)

        Murray, J.L. and Lopes, A.D. The Global Burden of Disease (Harvard University Press, 1996)

        Nadakavukaren, Anne. Our Global Environment: A Health Perspective, Sixth Edition (Waveland Press, 2005)

        National Bioethics Advisory Commission, Ethical Issues in Human Stem Cell Research, Volume 1: Report and Recommendations (National Bioethics Advisory Commission, 1999)

        Nussbaum, R.L., et al. Thompson & Thompson: Genetics in Medicine, Sixth Edition (Saunders, 2004)

        O'Neil, Edward. A Practical Guide to the Global Health Service (American Medical Association, 2006)

        Payne-James, Jason, et al. Forensic Medicine: Clinical and Pathological Aspects (Greenwich Medical Media, 2003)

        Pilling, Lucille B. The Global Health Alliance: Lessons Learned (Unlimited Publishing, 2006) Prados, Michael. Brain Cancer (B.C. Decker, 2002)

        Pratt, Carlos W. PsychiatricRehabilitation (Academic Press, 2002)

        Riddle, John M. Eve's Herbs: A History of Contraception and Abortion in the West (Harvard University Press, 1999)

        Rockefeller, David, et al. Global Health Leadership and Management (Jossey-Bass, 2005)

        Rosenberg, R.N., et al. The Molecular and Genetic Basis of Neurological Disease, Second Edition (Butterworth-Heinemann, 1997)

        Rothman, Kenneth and Greenland, Sander. Modern Epidemiology (Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 1998)

        Sackett, David, Evidence-based Medicine: How to Practice and Teach EBM (Churchill Livingstone, 1988)

        Sallis, Robert and Massimino, Ferdy. Essentials of Sports Medicine (Mosby, 1997)

        Schumacher Jr., H. Ralph. Primer of Rheumatic Diseases (Arthritis Foundation, 1993)

        Shalley, Halie. Williams Obstetrics: Breech Presentation and Delivery (McGraw-Hill, 2006)

        Silverstein, Arthur. A History of Immunology (Academic Press, 1989)

        Skinner, B.F. About Behaviorism (Alfred A. Knopf, 1974)

        Stekel, Dov. Microarray Bioinformatics (Cambridge University Press, 2003)

        Walkup JT, et al. Tourette Syndrome (Lippincoot Williams and Wilkins, 2006)

        Wanjek, C. Bad Medicine: Misconceptions and Misuses Revealed, from Distance Healing to Vitamin O (John Wiley, 2002)

        Weinberg, Robert A. Racing to the Beginning of the Road: The Search for the Original Cancer (Harmony Books, 1996)

        Wermuth, Laurie. Global Inequality and Human Needs: Health and Illness in an Increasingly Unequal World (Allyn and Bacon, 2003)

        Werner, David. Where There Is No Doctor: A Village Health Care Handbook (Hesperian Foundation, 2006)

        Wolinsky, Howard and Brune, Tom. The Serpent on the Staff: The Unhealthy Politics of the American Medical Association (Putnam, 1994)

        World Health Organization, Unsafe Abortion: Global and Regional Estimates of the Incidence of Unsafe Abortion and Associated Mortality in 2000 (World Health Organization, 2004)

        Zemlin, Willard R. Speech and Hearing Science: Anatomy and Physiology, Fourth Edition (Prentice Hall 1998)

        Zipperer, Lorri A. The Health Care Almanac: A Resource Guide to the Medical Field (American Medical Association, 1995)

      • Journals

        American Family Physician

        American Journal of Ophthalmology

        American Journal of Psychology

        American Journal of Public Health

        American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene

        Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences

        British Medical Journal

        British Journal of General Practice

        International Journal of Developmental Biology

        International Journal of Epidemiology

        Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology

        Journal of Clinical Infectious Diseases

        Journal of Clinical Psychiatry Journal of Health Psychology

        Journal of Holistic Nursing Journal of Molecular Evolution

        Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology

        Journal of Pediatric Neurology

        Journal of Perinatology

        Journal of Psychosomatic Research

        Journal of the American Medical Association

        Journal of the American Geriatrics Society

        Journal of Youth and Adolescence

        New England Journal of Medicine

        Psychiatric Quarterly

        The European Journal of Contraception and Reproductive Health Care

      • Internet


        American Association of Physicists in Medicine


        American Heart Association


        American Medical Association


        American Red Cross


        American Society on Aging


        American Telemedicine Association


        Centers for Disease Control and Prevention


        eMedicine World Health Library


        March of Dimes


        Medical Research Council


        National Asian Women's Health Organization


        National Breast Cancer Coalition


        National Cancer Institute


        National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke


        National Mental Health Association (NMHA)


        National Network for Immunization Information


        Osteogenesis Imperfecta Foundation


        Pan American Health Organization


        Scoliosis World


        Society for Public Health Education


        Spinal Cord Injury Information Page


        The Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network


        The National Library of Medicine


        The Nurses Health Study Website


        United Health Foundation


        United Network for Organ Sharing


        Voluntary Euthanasia Society


        World Health Organization


      abdomen: area between the chest and the hips that contains the stomach, small intestine, large intestine, liver, gallbladder, pancreas, and spleen.

      abdominal bracing: technique of tensing the stomach muscles to support the spine.

      abdominal hysterectomy: a procedure in which the uterus is removed through the abdomen via a surgical incision.

      abdominoplasty (also called “tummy tuck.”): a procedure that minimizes the abdominal area. In abdominoplasty, the surgeon makes a long incision from one side of the hipbone to the other. Excess fat and skin are surgically removed from the middle and lower abdomen and the muscles of the abdomen wall are tightened.

      abdominoscopy: a type of surgery using a laparoscope (a long, thin tube with a camera lens attached), which is inserted into one or more small incisions, to examine the abdominal cavity.

      ablation: elimination or removal.

      ablative therapy: treatment that removes or destroys the function of an organ, such as surgical removal of an organ or some types of chemotherapy.

      abortion: medical termination of a pregnancy before the fetus has developed enough to survive outside the uterus.

      abscess: hole filled with pus that forms as a result of a local infection.

      absorption: the process by which nutrients from food move from the small intestine into the body cells.

      abutment teeth: the surrounding teeth of each side of the gap where teeth are missing.

      accessory digestive organs: organs that help with digestion but are not part of the digestive tract. These organs include the tongue, pancreas, liver, gallbladder, and glands in the mouth that make saliva.

      accessory movement: joint movements that cannot be performed voluntarily or in isolation by the patient.

      accommodation: the ability of the eye to focus.

      ACE (angiotensin-converting enzyme) inhibitor: a medication that lowers blood pressure.

      acetaminophen: a pain-relieving and fever-reducing drug found in many over-the-counter medications (i.e., Tylenol, Tempra, or Feverall).

      acetylcholine: a chemical in the brain that acts as a neurotransmitter.

      achalasia: a rare disorder of the esophagus in which the muscle at the end of the esophagus does not relax enough for the passage to open properly.

      Achilles tendonitis: Inflammation of the Achilles tendon.

      acne: a chronic disorder of the hair follicles and sebaceous glands. Acne is characterized by black heads, pimple outbreaks, cysts, infected abscesses, and (sometimes) scarring.

      acoustic neurinoma: a tumor, usually benign, which develops on the hearing and balance nerves and can cause gradual hearing loss, tinnitus, and dizziness.

      acquired deafness: loss of hearing that occurs or develops over the course of a lifetime; deafness not present at birth.

      acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS): a disease caused by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), which kills or impairs cells of the immune system and progressively destroys the body's ability to fight infections and certain cancers. HIV is most commonly spread by sexual contact with an infected partner. The term AIDS applies to the most advanced stages of an HIV infection.

      acromegaly: excessive growth due to the production of excessive growth hormone by the pituitary gland.

      acromion: the roof, or highest point, of the shoulder that is formed by a part of the scapula, or shoulder blade.

      actinic keratosis: a precancerous condition of thick, scaly patches of skin.

      action tremor: a tremor that increases when the hand is moving voluntarily.

      activated charcoal: an over-the-counter product that may help relieve intestinal gas.

      activities of daily living (ADLs): personal care activities necessary for everyday living, such as eating, bathing, grooming, dressing, and toileting; a term often used by healthcare professionals to assess the need and/or type of care a person may require.

      acupuncture points: anatomic points on the body used in acupuncture.

      acute: severe; sharp; begins quickly.

      acute appendicitis: acute inflammation of the appendix due to infection.

      acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL): a rapidly progressing cancer of the blood in which too many immature (not fully formed) lymphocytes, a type of white blood cell, are found in the bone marrow, blood, spleen, liver, and other organs.

      acute myelogenous leukemia (AML): a rapidly progressing cancer of the blood in which too many immature (not fully formed) granulocytes, a type of white blood cell, are found in the bone marrow and blood.

      adenocarcinoma: cancerous tumors of the glands, such as in the ducts or lobules of the breast.

      adenoma: benign growths which often appear on glands or in glandular tissue.

      adhesion: a band of scar tissue that joins normally separated internal body structures, most often after surgery, inflammation, or injury in the area.

      adhesions: abnormal bands of tissue that grow between joint surfaces, restricting motion.

      adjuvant treatment: treatment that is added to other therapies to increase effectiveness.

      adrenal cortex: outer portion of the adrenal gland that secretes hormones that are vital to the body.

      adrenal glands: two small glands located on top of the kidneys that secrete hormones.

      adrenaline (also called epinephrine): one of two chemicals (the other is norepinephrine) released by the adrenal gland that increases the speed and force of heart beats. It dilates the airways to improve breathing and narrows blood vessels in the skin and intestine so that an increased flow of blood reaches the muscles and allows them to cope with the demands of exercise.

      advance directives: legal documents, such as living wills and durable powers of attorney for healthcare decisions, stating a patient's medical preferences in the event the patient should become incapable of voicing his/her opinion.

      advanced cancer: stage of cancer in which the disease has spread from the primary site to other parts of the body.

      aerophagia: condition that occurs when a person swallows too much air; causes gas and frequent belching.

      African trypanosomiasis (also called “African sleeping sickness.”): a systemic disease caused by parasite of the Trypanosoma brucei family, and transmitted by the bite of the tsetse fly. There is West African trypanosomiasis and East African trypanosomiasis, referring to the areas in Africa where they are found.

      ageusia: loss of the sense of taste.

      agitation: a non-specific symptom of one or more physical or psychological processes in which vocal or motor behavior (screaming, shouting, complaining, moaning, cursing, pacing, fidgeting, wandering) pose risk or discomfort, become disruptive or unsafe, or interfere with the delivery of care in a particular environment.

      agonist: a drug that increases neurotransmitter activity by stimulating the dopamine receptors directly.

      agoraphobia: a Greek word that literally means “fear of the marketplace.” This anxiety disorder involves the fear of experiencing a panic attack in a place or situation from which escape may be difficult or embarrassing.

      air bags: safety devices installed in most newer vehicles that inflate to protect the driver and/or passenger in certain collisions.

      air pollution: the presence of noxious substances in the air that we breathe.

      akinesia: no movement.

      alactasia: inherited condition that causes a lack of the enzyme needed to digest milk sugar.

      albinism: a rare, inherited disorder characterized by a total or partial lack of melanin (skin pigment) in the skin.

      albumin: a protein found in blood plasma and urine, which can be a sign of kidney disease.

      alcohol-induced chronic hepatitis: one type of hepatitis; continued liver damage throughout the liver from heavy alcohol consumption.

      aldosterone: a hormone secreted by the adrenal cortex that controls sodium and potassium in the blood.

      alimentary canal: gastrointestinal (GI) tract.

      allergen: a substance that triggers an allergic reaction.

      allergic conjunctivitis: red, itchy, watery eyes; a result of an exposure to an allergen or an irritant.

      allergy: an acquired, abnormal immune response to a substance that can cause a broad range of inflammatory reactions.

      allodynia: pain due to a stimulus that does not normally provoke pain.

      allogeneic bone marrow transplantation: a procedure in which a person receives stem cells from a compatible donor.

      allogeneic transplant: the transfer of bone marrow from one person to another.

      alopecia: a partial or complete loss of hair that may result from radiation therapy to the head, chemotherapy, skin disease, drug therapy, and natural causes.

      alpha thalassemia: an inherited blood disorder affecting the alpha chains of the hemoglobin molecule.

      alpha-fetoprotein (AFP): a protein produced by a developing fetus that is present in amniotic fluid and, in smaller amounts, in a pregnant woman's blood. Abnormal levels of AFP found in a blood test between the 15th and 18th weeks of pregnancy can indicate abnormalities in the fetus.

      Alport's syndrome: A hereditary condition characterized by kidney disease, sensorineural hearing loss, and some difficulties with eye defects.

      alternative medicine: any form of therapy used alone, without recommended standard/conventional treatment.

      alveolus: air sac where gas exchange takes place.

      Alzheimer's disease: A progressive, degenerative disease that occurs in the brain and results in impaired memory, thinking, and behavior.

      amblyopia: sometimes called “lazy eye,” is the reduction or dimming of vision in an eye that appears to be normal.

      amebiasis: acute or chronic infection; symptoms vary from mild diarrhea to frequent, watery diarrhea and loss of water and fluids in the body.

      amenorrhea: absence or cessation of menstrual periods.

      amenorrhea, primary: from the beginning and lifelong; menstruation never begins at puberty.

      amenorrhea, secondary: due to some physical cause and usually of later onset; a condition in which menstrual periods which were at one time normal and regular become increasing abnormal and irregular or absent.

      American Cancer Society (ACS): An organization that supports research, produces educational materials and programs, and offers many other services to cancer patients and their families.

      American National Standards Institute (ANSI): An organization that evaluates and approves helmets.

      American Sign Language (ASL): Manual (hand) language with its own syntax and grammar used primarily by people who are deaf.

      American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM): An organization that evaluates and approves helmets.

      amniocentesis: a test performed to determine chromosomal and genetic disorders and certain birth defects. The test involves inserting a needle through the abdominal and uterine wall into the amniotic sac to retrieve a sample of amniotic fluid.

      amniotic fluid: clear liquid that surrounds and protects the fetus throughout pregnancy.

      amniotic sac: a thin-walled sac that surrounds the fetus during pregnancy. The sac is filled with amniotic fluid: liquid made by the fetus and the amnion (the membrane that covers the fetal side of the placenta) which protects the fetus from injury and helps to regulate the temperature of the fetus.

      Amsler grid: A chart featuring horizontal and vertical lines used to test vision.

      amyloidosis: a rare disease which causes the buildup of amyloid, a protein and starch, in tissues and organs.

      amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (also called ALS or Lou Gehrig's disease): a terminal, neurological disorder characterized by progressive degeneration of motor cells in the spinal cord and brain.

      anal fissure: small tear in the anus that may cause itching, pain, or bleeding.

      anal fistula: channel that develops between the anus and the skin. Most fistulas are the result of an abscess (infection) that spreads to the skin.

      analgesia: absence of pain in response to stimulation that would normally be painful.

      analgesic: any drug intended to alleviate pain.

      anaphylaxis (also called anaphylactic shock): a sudden, severe, potentially life-threatening allergic reaction caused by food allergy, insect stings, or medications. Symptoms can include hives, swelling (especially of the lips and face), difficulty breathing (either because of swelling in the throat or an asthmatic reaction), vomiting, diarrhea, cramping, and a fall in blood pressure.

      anastomosis: operation to connect two body parts. An example is an operation in which a part of the colon is removed and the two remaining ends are rejoined.

      androgen hormone: a hormone that stimulates activity of male sex organs, and encourages development of male sex characteristics.

      anemia: blood disorder caused by a deficiency of red blood cells or hemoglobin (the oxygen-carrying protein in red blood cells).

      anesthesia: lack of normal sensation, especially the awareness of pain, which may be brought on by anesthetic drugs. General anesthesia causes loss of consciousness; local or regional anesthesia causes loss of feeling only to a specified area.

      anesthetics: medications that cause loss of sensation to pain or awareness.

      aneurysm: a weakened, pouched area on the wall of an artery.

      angina pectoris (also called angina): recurring chest pain or discomfort that happens when some part of the heart does not receive enough blood.

      angiodysplasia: abnormal or enlarged blood vessels in the gastrointestinal tract.

      angiogenesis: the formation of new blood vessels.

      angiogenesis inhibitor: a chemical which signals the process of angiogenesis to stop.

      angiography: an x-ray that uses dye injected into arteries so that blood circulation can be studied.

      angioma: a benign tumor in the skin, which is made up of blood or lymph vessels.

      angioplasty: the use of a small balloon on the tip of a catheter inserted into a blood vessel to open up an area of blockage inside the vessel.

      ankle sprain: over-stretched lateral (outside) ligament of the ankle joint.

      ankylosing spondylitis: disease that affects the spine, causing the bones of the spine to grow together.

      anomaly: a health problem or feature not normally present in a healthy individual; a deviation from the normal.

      anorexia nervosa (also called anorexia): an eating disorder characterized by low body weight (less than 85 percent of normal weight for height and age), a distorted body image, and an intense fear of gaining weight.

      anoscopy: test to look for fissures, fistulae, and hemorrhoids using a special instrument, called an anoscope, to look into the anus.

      anosmia: absence of the sense of smell.

      anovulation: failure of the ovaries to produce or release mature eggs.

      antacids: medications that balance acids and gas in the stomach.

      anterior chamber: the front section of the eye's interior where aqueous humor flows in and out of providing nourishment to the eye and surrounding tissues.

      anterior cruciate ligament (ACL): the ligament, located in the center of the knee, that controls rotation and forward movement of the tibia (shin bone).

      anterolateral shin splint: a type of shin splint that affects the front and outer part of the muscles of the shin and is caused by a congenital (present at birth) imbalance in the size of opposite muscles.

      antibiotic: a chemical substance produced by living organisms or synthesized (created) in laboratories for the purpose of killing other organisms that cause disease.

      antibodies: proteins produced by the immune system to fight specific bacteria, viruses, or other antigens.

      antibody: a special protein produced by the body's immune system that recognizes and helps fight infectious agents and other foreign substances that invade the body.

      anticholinergics: medications that calm muscle spasms in the intestine.

      anticipatory grief: the deep emotional distress that occurs when someone has a prolonged illness and death is expected often by the patient as well as the family. Anticipatory grief can be just as painful and stressful as the actual death of the person.

      anticoagulant: a medication that keeps blood from clotting.

      antidiarrheals: medications that help control diarrhea.

      antiemetics: medications that prevent and control nausea and vomiting.

      antiestrogen: substance (i.e., tamoxifen) that blocks the effects of estrogen on tumors.

      antigen: a substance that can trigger an immune response causing the production of antibodies as part of the body's defense against infection and disease.

      antihistamine: a medication that blocks the effects of histamine, a chemical released in body fluids during an allergic reaction.

      antihypertensive: a medication or other therapy that lowers blood pressure.

      anti-inflammatory: medications that reduce the symptoms and signs of inflammation.

      antioxidants: compounds that protect against cell damage inflicted by molecules, called oxygen-free radicals, which are a major cause of disease and aging.

      antisocial personality disorder: persons with this disorder characteristically disregard the feelings, property, authority, and respect of others for their own personal gain. This may include violent or aggressive acts involving or targeting other individuals, without a sense or remorse or guilt for any of their destructive actions.

      antispasmodics: medications that help reduce or stop muscle spasms in the intestines.

      antivenin: an antidote to snake venom used to treat serious snake bites. Antivenin is derived from antibodies created in a horse's blood serum when the animal is injected with snake venom. Because antivenin is obtained from horses, snake bite victims sensitive to horse products must be carefully managed.

      antrectomy: operation to remove the upper portion of the stomach, called the antrum, to help reduce the amount of stomach acid.

      anus: opening at the end of the digestive tract where the bowel contents leave the body.

      aorta: blood vessel that delivers oxygen-rich blood from the left ventricle to the body; it is the largest blood vessel in the body.

      aortic valve: the valve that regulates blood flow from the heart into the aorta.

      Apert syndrome: A craniofacial abnormality characterized by an abnormal head shape, small upper jaw, and fusion of the fingers and toes.

      apex: top portion of the upper lobes of the lungs.

      Apgar test: A scoring system to evaluate the condition of a newborn immediately after birth.

      aphasia: total or partial loss of ability to use or understand language; usually caused by stroke, brain disease, or injury.

      apheresis: a procedure in which blood is removed from a patient, certain fluid and cellular elements are removed, and the blood is then infused back into the patient.

      aphonia: complete loss of voice.

      aplastic anemia: one type of anemia that occurs when the bone marrow produces too few of all three types of blood cells: red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets.

      appendectomy: the surgical removal of the appendix (to treat acute appendicitis)

      appendicitis: inflammation and reddening of the appendix caused by infection, scarring, or blockage.

      appendix: a small pouch, attached to the first part of the large intestine, whose function in the body is unknown.

      apraxia: inability to make a voluntary movement in spite of being able to demonstrate normal muscle function.

      areola: dark area of skin that surrounds the nipple of the breast.

      arrhythmia (also called dysrhythmia): an abnormal heartbeat.

      arteriogram (also called an angiogram): an x-ray of the arteries to detect blockage or narrowing of the vessels.

      arterioles: small branches of arteries.

      arteriosclerosis (also called “hardening of the arteries”): a variety of conditions caused by fatty or calcium deposits in the artery walls causing them to thicken.

      artery: a blood vessel that carries oxygenated blood away from the heart to the body.

      arthralgia: pain in a joint, usually due to arthritis or arthropathy.

      arthritis: inflammation of a joint, usually accompanied by pain, swelling, and sometimes a change in structure.

      arthrogram: an x-ray to view bone structures following an injection of a contrast fluid into a joint area. When the fluid leaks into an area that it does not belong, disease or injury may be considered, as a leak would provide evidence of a tear, opening, or blockage.

      arthroplasty: total joint replacement.

      arthroscopy: a minimally-invasive diagnostic and treatment procedure used for conditions of a joint. This procedure uses a small, lighted, optic tube (arthroscope) which is inserted into the joint through a small incision in the joint. Images of the inside of the joint are projected onto a screen; used to evaluate any degenerative and/or arthritic changes in the joint; to detect bone diseases and tumors; to determine the cause of bone pain and inflammation.

      articular cartilage: covers the ends of bones and allows the distribution of compressive loads over the cross section of bones; provides frictionless and wear-resistant surface for joint movement.

      articulation disorder: inability to correctly produce speech sounds (phonemes) because of imprecise placement, timing, pressure, speed, or flow of movement of the lips, tongue, or throat.

      artificial insemination: a procedure that involves the placement of relatively large numbers of healthy sperm either at the entrance of the cervix or into a women's uterus, bypassing the cervix, to have direct access to the fallopian tubes.

      artificial ventilation: the process of supporting breathing by manual or mechanical means when normal breathing is inefficient or has stopped.

      ascending colon: part of the colon on the right side of the abdomen.

      ascites: fluid build-up in the abdominal cavity.

      assisted living facility (ALF): an out-of-home care option for elderly persons who continue to lead relatively active, healthy, and independent lives. Most ALFs feature apartment-style living and many services for the elderly.

      assisted reproductive technology (ART): medical procedures, such as intrauterine insemination, that are performed to help infertile couples conceive.

      assistive devices: technical tools and devices such as alphabet boards, text telephones, or text-to-speech conversion software used to assist people with physical or emotional disorders in performing certain actions, tasks, and activities.

      asthma: a chronic, inflammatory lung disease characterized by recurrent breathing problems and is usually triggered by allergens. Infection, exercise, cold air, and other factors may also be allergic triggers.

      astigmatism: a vision problem that results in blurred images.

      asymmetry: lacking symmetry; parts of the body are unequal in shape or size.

      asymptomatic: to be without symptoms of disease.

      ataxia: loss of balance.

      atherectomy: a non-surgical procedure that involves removing plaque from the walls of arteries with a rotating blade.

      atherosclerosis: a type of arteriosclerosis caused by a build-up of plaque in the inner lining of an artery.

      athetosis: slow, involuntary movements of the hands and feet.

      atonic colon (also called lazy colon): lack of normal muscle tone or strength in the colon caused by the overuse of laxatives or by Hirschsprung's disease; may result in chronic constipation.

      atopic dermatitis (also called eczema): a skin disorder that is characterized by itching, scaling, and thickening of the skin; usually located on the face, elbows, knees, and arms.

      atresia: lack of a normal opening from the esophagus, intestines, or the anus.

      atrioventricular (AV) node: a cluster of cells between the atria and ventricles that regulate the electrical current.

      atrioventricular block: an interruption of the electrical signal between the atria and the ventricles.

      atrium: one of two upper chambers in the heart.

      atrophic gastritis: chronic inflammation of the stomach lining that causes the breakdown of the mucous membranes of the stomach.

      atrophic skin: skin that is thin and wrinkled.

      atrophy: wasting away of a body part or tissue.

      attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD): a syndrome (a group of symptoms or signs) that is usually characterized by serious and persistent difficulties, resulting in inattentiveness or distractibility, impulsivity, and hyperactivity.

      atypical: not usual; often refers to the appearance of precancerous or cancerous cells.

      audiologist: a healthcare professional trained to identify and measure hearing impairments and related disorders using a variety of tests and procedures.

      auditory brainstem response (ABR) test: used to test hearing in infants and young children, or to test for brain functioning in unresponsive patients.

      auditory nerve: eighth cranial nerve that connects the inner ear to the brainstem.

      auditory perception: ability to identify, interpret, and attach meaning to sound.

      auditory prosthesis: device that substitutes or enhances the ability to hear.

      augmentative devices: tools that help individuals with limited or absent speech to communicate.

      aural rehabilitation: techniques used with people who are hearing impaired to improve ability to speak and to communicate.

      autism: brain disorder that begins in early childhood and persists throughout adulthood; affects three crucial areas of development: communication, social interaction, and creative or imaginative play.

      autoimmune hepatitis: liver disease caused when the body's immune system destroys liver cells for no known reason.

      autoimmune process: a process in which the body's immune system attacks and destroys body tissue that it mistakes for foreign matter.

      autologous bone marrow transplantation: a procedure in which a patient's own bone marrow is removed, treated with anticancer drugs or radiation, then returned to the patient.

      autologous tissue breast reconstruction: the use of the patient's own tissues to reconstruct a new breast mound. The common technique is the TRAM (transverse rectus abdominous muscle) flap. A TRAM flap involves removing an area of fat, skin, and muscle from the abdomen and stitching it in place to the mastectomy wound.

      autopsy: examination of a body after death. Autopsies are performed to determine cause of death, or to verify a diagnosis.

      autosomal recessive inheritance: a gene on one of the first 22 pairs of chromosomes, which, when present in two copies, causes a trait or disease to be expressed.

      avascular necrosis: death of tissue due to depletion of blood supply.

      avoidant personality disorder: persons with this disorder are hypersensitive to rejection and thus, avoid situations with any potential for conflict. This reaction is fear-driven, however, persons with avoidant personality disorder become disturbed by their own social isolation, withdrawal, and inability to form close, interpersonal relationships.

      avulsion: when a muscle is forcefully stretched beyond its freely-available range of motion, or when it meets a sudden unexpected resistance while contracting forcefully.

      axilla: armpit.

      axillary dissection: a surgical procedure in which the lymph nodes in the armpit (axillary nodes) are removed and a microscopic examination is performed.

      axon: the long, hair-like extension of a nerve cell that carries a message to the next nerve cell.

      bacteremia: the presence of bacteria in the bloodstream.

      balance: biological system that enables individuals to know where their bodies are in the environment and to maintain a desired position; normal balance depends on information from the labyrinth in the inner ear, and from other senses such as sight and touch, as well as from muscle movement.

      balance disorder: disruption in the labyrinth, the inner ear organ that controls the balance system allowing individuals to know where their bodies are in the environment.

      balloon urethroplasty: a thin tube with a balloon is inserted into the opening of the penis and guided to the narrowed portion of the urethra. The balloon is then inflated to widen the urethra and ease the flow of urine.

      barium: a metallic, chemical, chalky, liquid used to coat the inside of organs so that they will show up on an x-ray.

      barium enema (also called lower GI, or gastrointestinal, series): a procedure that examines the rectum, large intestine, and lower part of the small intestine. A fluid called barium (a metallic, chemical, chalky, liquid used to coat the inside of organs so that they will show up on an x-ray) is given into the rectum as an enema.

      barium beefsteak meal: during this test, the patient eats a meal containing barium, allowing the radiologist to watch the stomach as it digests the meal. The amount of time it takes for the barium meal to be digested and leave the stomach gives the physician an idea of how well the stomach is working and helps to detect emptying problems that may not show up on the liquid barium x-ray.

      barium swallow: upper gastrointestinal (GI) series.

      barotrauma: injury to the middle ear caused by a reduction of air pressure.

      basal body temperature: temperature of a person's body taken first thing in the morning after several hours of sleep and before any activity, including getting out of bed or talking; often charted to determine the time of ovulation.

      basal cell carcinoma: the most common form of skin cancer; characterized by small, shiny, raised bumps on the skin that may bleed.

      basal cells: a type of cells found in the outer layer of skin. Basal cells are responsible for producing the squamous cells in the skin.

      basal ganglia: several large clusters of nerve cells, including the striatum and the substantia nigra, deep in the brain below the cerebral hemispheres.

      basal metabolic rate (BMR): a measurement of energy required to keep the body functioning at rest. Measured in calories, metabolic rates increase with exertion, stress, fear, and illness.

      base: bottom portion of lower lobes of the lungs, located just above the diaphragm.

      bed sores: ulcers that occur on areas of the skin that are under pressure from lying in bed, sitting in wheelchairs, wearing a cast, or being immobile for a long period of time.

      belching (also called burping): noisy release of gas from the stomach through the mouth.

      Bell's palsy: An unexplained episode of facial muscle weakness or paralysis that begins suddenly and steadily worsens.

      benign: non-cancerous.

      benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV): balance disorder that results in a sudden onset of dizziness, spinning, or vertigo that occurs when suddenly moving the head from one position to another.

      benign prostatic hyperplasia (also called BPH or benign prostatic hypertrophy): an enlargement of the prostate caused by disease or inflammation. It is not cancer, but its symptoms are often similar to those of prostate cancer.

      benign tumor: an abnormal growth that is not cancer and does not spread to other areas of the body.

      bereavement: to be in a sad or lonely state due to a loss or death.

      Bernstein test: Test to find out if heartburn is caused by acid in the esophagus; involves dripping a mild acid, similar to stomach acid, through a tube placed in the esophagus.

      beta blocker: an antihypertensive medication that limits the activity of epinephrine (a hormone that increases blood pressure).

      beta cells: cells that make insulin; found in areas of the pancreas called the islets of Langerhans.

      beta thalassemia: an inherited blood disorder affecting the beta chains of the hemoglobin molecule.

      bezoar: ball of food, mucus, vegetable fiber, hair, or other material that cannot be digested in the stomach, which can cause blockage, ulcers, and bleeding.

      biarthrodial muscles: muscles that span over two joints and have a function over those joints.

      bilateral: affecting both sides of the body. For example, bilateral breast cancer is cancer occurring in both breasts at the same time.

      bile: yellowish-brown or green fluid secreted by the liver that carries away waste and aids in the digestive process.

      bile acids: acids made by the liver that work with bile to break down fats.

      bile ducts: tubes that carry bile from the liver to the gallbladder for storage, and to the small intestine for use in digestion.

      biliary atresia: condition present from birth in which the bile ducts inside or outside the liver do not have normal openings. Bile becomes trapped in the liver, causing jaundice and cirrhosis. Without surgery, the condition may cause death.

      biliary stricture: narrowing of the biliary tract from scar tissue. The scar tissue may result from injury, disease, pancreatitis, infection, or gallstones.

      biliary tract (also called biliary system or biliary tree): gallbladder and the bile ducts.

      bilirubin: a yellowish-green substance formed when hemoglobin breaks down. Bilirubin gives bile its color. Bilirubin is normally passed in stool. Too much bilirubin causes jaundice.

      binge eating disorder: an illness that resembles bulimia nervosa and is characterized by episodes of uncontrolled eating or bingeing. It differs from bulimia, however, because its sufferers do not purge their bodies of the excess food, via vomiting, laxative abuse, or diuretic abuse.

      bingeing: persons with bulimia nervosa and binge eating disorder engage in a destructive pattern of excessively overeating, called bingeing.

      binocular vision: the ability to use both eyes at once.

      biological therapy (also called immunotherapy, biotherapy, or biological response modifier therapy): uses the body's immune system, either directly or indirectly, to fight cancer or to lessen side effects that may be caused by some cancer treatments.

      biopsy: a procedure performed to remove tissue or cells from the body for examination under a microscope.

      birthmark: abnormality of the skin that is present at birth or shortly afterward.

      bismuth subsalicylate: nonprescription medication used to treat diarrhea, heartburn, indigestion, and nausea; also part of the treatment for ulcers caused by the bacterium Helicobacter pylori.

      bladder: a triangular-shaped, hollow organ located in the lower abdomen that holds urine. It is held in place by ligaments that are attached to other organs and the pelvic bones. The bladder's walls relax and expand to store urine, and contract and flatten to empty urine through the urethra.

      bladder instillation (also called a bladder wash or bath): a procedure in which the bladder is filled with a solution that is held for varying periods of time, from a few seconds to 15 minutes, before being drained through a catheter.

      blasts: immature blood cells.

      blepharoplasty (also called eyelid lift): a procedure in which the physician surgically removes excess fat, muscle, and skin from both the upper and lower eyelids to redefine the shape of the eye.

      blink rate: number of times per minute that the eyelid automatically closes: normally 10 to 30 per minute.

      blister: a raised area on the skin containing fluid. The fluid can be blood or serum, the clear liquid portion of the blood.

      bloating: fullness or swelling in the abdomen that often occurs after meals.

      blood: the life-maintaining fluid which is made up of plasma, red blood cells (erythrocytes), white blood cells (leukocytes), and platelets; blood circulates through the body's heart, arteries, veins, and capillaries; it carries away waste matter and carbon dioxide, and brings nourishment, electrolytes, hormones, vitamins, antibodies, heat, and oxygen to the tissues.

      blood banking: the process that takes place in the laboratory to ensure that donated blood, or blood products, are safe before they are used in blood transfusions and other medical procedures. Blood banking includes typing the blood for transfusion and testing for infectious diseases.

      blood clot: a gelled mass of blood tissue.

      blood glucose: the main sugar that the body makes from food; cells cannot use glucose without the help of insulin.

      blood plasma: the fluid part of blood that contains nutrients, glucose, proteins, minerals, enzymes, and other substances.

      blood pressure: pressure of blood against the walls of a blood vessel or heart chamber.

      blood pressure cuff: a device usually placed around the upper of the arm to measure blood pressure.

      blood-brain barrier: the protective membrane that separates circulating blood from brain cells.

      body mass index (BMI): the number, derived by using height and weight measurements, that gives a general indication if weight falls within a healthy range.

      boil: tender, swollen areas that form around hair follicles.

      bone: living tissue that makes up the body's skeleton.

      bone density: measurement of the bone's mass in relation to its volume.

      bone graft: a surgical procedure in which healthy bone is transplanted from another part of the patient's body into the affected area.

      bone marrow: the soft, spongy tissue found inside bones. It is the medium for development and storage of about 95 percent of the body's blood cells.

      bone marrow aspiration and biopsy: a procedure in which marrow is removed by aspiration or a needle biopsy under local anesthesia. In aspiration biopsy, a fluid specimen is removed from the bone marrow. In a needle biopsy, marrow cells (not fluid) are removed. These methods are often used together.

      bone marrow transplantation (BMT): the transfusion of healthy bone marrow cells into a person after their unhealthy bone marrow has been eliminated.

      bone scan: a nuclear imaging method to evaluate any degenerative and/or arthritic changes in the joints; to detect bone diseases and tumors; to determine the cause of bone pain or inflammation.

      booster seat: a seat to help raise a child in a vehicle so that the vehicle's seat belt fits properly.

      borborygmi: rumbling sounds, or stomach “growling,” caused by gas moving through the intestines.

      borderline personality disorder: persons with this disorder present instability in their perceptions of themselves, and have difficulty maintaining stable relationships. Moods may also be inconsistent, but never neutral: their sense of reality is always seen in “black and white.” Persons with borderline personality disorder often feel as though they lacked a certain level of nurturing while growing up and, as a result, incessantly seek a higher level of caretaking from others as adults. This may be achieved through manipulation of others, leaving them often feeling empty, angry, and abandoned, which may lead to desperate and impulsive behavior.

      botanical: of plants and plant life.

      botulinum toxin type A: an injection of botulinum toxin into specific muscles will immobilize those muscles, preventing them from forming wrinkles and furrows.

      bowel: another word for the small and large intestines.

      bowel movement: body wastes passed through the rectum and anus.

      bowel prep: process used to clean the colon with enemas and a special drink; used before surgery of the colon, colonoscopy, or barium x-ray.

      brachytherapy: a type of radiation treatment in which the radioactive substance is placed inside the patient as close as possible to the area being treated.

      “brady-”: prefix meaning slow.

      bradycardia: abnormally slow heartbeat.

      bradykinesia: slowness of movement.

      bradyphrenia: slowness of thought processes.

      brain attack (also called stroke): occurs when brain cells die due to inadequate blood flow to the brain.

      brain scan: an imaging method used to find abnormalities in the brain, including brain cancer and cancer that has spread to the brain from other places in the body.

      brainstem implant: auditory prosthesis that bypasses the cochlea and auditory nerve to help individuals who cannot benefit from a cochlear implant because the auditory nerves are not working.

      Braxton-Hicks contractions: Painless contractions during pregnancy that help the uterus to grow and to help the blood circulate through the uterus.

      BRCA1: gene, which, when altered, indicates an inherited susceptibility to breast cancer.

      BRCA2: gene, which, when altered, indicates an inherited susceptibility to breast and/or ovarian cancer.

      breast augmentation (also called augmentation mammaplasty): a procedure to reshape the breast in order to make it larger. The procedure can also be performed to reconstruct the breast following breast surgery.

      breast cancer: a cancerous tumor of the breast tissue.

      breast conservation therapy: surgery to remove a breast cancer and a small amount of benign tissue around the cancer without removing any other part of the breast. These procedures include a lumpectomy or a partial (segmental) mastectomy.

      breast implant: a manufactured, silicone, rubber sac which is filled with sterile saline or silicone gel that is used for either breast augmentation or reconstruction.

      breast reconstruction: surgery to rebuild a breast mound following a mastectomy.

      breast self-examination (BSE): a method in which a woman examines her breasts and the surrounding areas for lumps or changes. A BSE should be performed once a month, usually at a time other than the days before, during, or immediately after the menstrual period.

      breast specialist: term describing healthcare professionals who have a dedicated interest in breast health.

      breech birth: an abnormal delivery presentation in which the baby's feet, knees, or buttocks come into the birth canal first, before the baby's head.

      bromocriptine: a medication which acts on hormone-producing tumors to suppress its hormone-producing function.

      bronchiolitis: inflammation that involves the bronchioles (small airways).

      bronchitis: an inflammation of the mucous membranes of the bronchial tubes, causing a persistent cough that produces considerable quantities of sputum (phlegm).

      bronchodilators: a group of medications that widen the airways in the lungs.

      bronchoscopy: the examination of the bronchi (the main airways of the lungs) using a flexible tube (bronchoscope). Bronchoscopy helps to evaluate and diagnose lung problems, assess blockages, obtain samples of tissue and/or fluid, and remove a foreign body.

      bronchus: any of the larger air passages that connect the trachea to the lungs.

      bruise (also called contusion): a collection of blood due to broken blood vessels underneath the skin usually caused by trauma. A bruise causes discoloration and swelling in the area.

      bruxism: the condition of incessant grinding and clenching of the teeth, unintentionally, and at inappropriate times.

      Budd-Chiari syndrome: Rare liver disease in which the veins that drain blood from the liver are blocked or narrowed.

      bulimia nervosa (also known as bulimia): a disease in which there are uncontrolled episodes of overeating that are usually followed by purging (self-induced vomiting), misuse of laxatives, enemas, or medications that cause increased production of urine, fasting, and/or excessive exercise to control weight.

      bulking agents: laxatives that make bowel movements soft and easy to pass.

      bundle-branch block: a condition in which the heart's electrical system is unable to normally conduct the electrical signal.

      bunion: an inflammation and thickening of the bursa in the joint of the big toe.

      bursa: a sac filled with fluid located between a bone and a tendon or muscle.

      bursitis: repeated small stresses and overuse that cause the bursa to swell and become irritated.

      CA-125 test: Blood test to detect an elevated level of a protein antigen called CA-125, which may indicate ovarian cancer, among other disorders.

      calcification: the gathering of small deposits of calcium in the breast tissue, usually found by mammography.

      calcitonin: a hormone secreted by the thyroid gland which controls the levels of calcium and phosphorous in the blood.

      calcium: mineral that gives strength to bones and teeth and has an important role in muscle contraction, blood clotting, and nerve function.

      calcium channel blocker (or calcium blocker): a medication that lowers blood pressure.

      calculi: stones or solid lumps such as gallstones.

      calluses: thick, hardened areas of the skin, usually on the foot, caused by friction or pressure.

      CAM (Complementary & Alternative Medicine): Non-conventional approaches to healing, beyond traditional medicine. Complementary medicine is any form of therapy used in combination with other alternative treatments or standard/conventional medicine. Alternative medicine is used alone, without recommended standard treatment.

      Campylobacter pylori: Original name for the bacterium that causes ulcers; new name is Helicobacter pylori.

      cancellous tissue: the sponge-like tissue inside bones.

      cancer: abnormal cells that divide without control, which can invade nearby tissues or spread through the bloodstream and lymphatic system to other parts of the body.

      candidiasis (also called yeast infection): a skin infection caused by yeast that can occur in the skin folds, navel, vagina, penis, mouth, and nail beds.

      capillaries: tiny blood vessels between arteries and veins that distribute oxygen-rich blood to the body.

      capsular contracture: the most common complication of breast reconstruction surgery; occurs if the scar or capsule around the implant begins to tighten.

      capsule: the layer of cells around an organ such as the prostate.

      captioning: text display of spoken words presented on a television or a movie screen that allows a deaf or hard-of-hearing viewer to follow the dialogue and the action of a program simultaneously.

      carbohydrates: one of the three main classes of food and a source of energy. Carbohydrates are the sugars and starches found in breads, cereals, fruits, and vegetables, which, during digestion, are changed into a simple sugar called glucose. Glucose is stored in the liver until cells need it for energy.

      carbon monoxide (CO): a colorless, odorless gas which can be created whenever a fuel (such as wood, gasoline, coal, natural gas, or kerosene) is burning.

      carbuncles: clusters of boils on the skin.

      carcinogen: substance that is known to cause cancer.

      carcinoma: cancer found in body tissues that cover or line surfaces of organs, glands, or body structures.

      carcinoma in situ: cancer that is confined to the cells in which it first developed and has not invaded the surrounding tissues (metastasized).

      cardiac: pertaining to the heart.

      cardiac arrest: the stopping of the heartbeat.

      cardiac catheterization: a diagnostic procedure in which a tiny, hollow tube (catheter) is advanced from a vessel in the groin through the aorta into the heart in order to image the heart and blood vessels.

      cardiac output: total amount of blood being pumped by the heart over a particular period of time.

      cardiology: the clinical study and practice of treating the heart.

      cardiomyopathy: a disease of the heart muscle that causes it to lose its pumping strength.

      cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR): an emergency life-saving method in which artificial respirations and chest compressions are used to restart the heart and lungs.

      cardiovascular (CV): pertaining to the heart and blood vessel (circulatory) system.

      cardioversion: the procedure of applying electrical shock to the chest to change an abnormal heartbeat into a normal one.

      caregiver: someone who provides assistance, generally in the home environment, to an aging parent, spouse, other relative, or unrelated person, or to an ill or disabled person of any age. A caregiver can be a family member, friend, volunteer, or paid professional.

      carotid artery: the major artery in the neck that supplies blood to the brain.

      carpal tunnel syndrome: a condition in which the median nerve is compressed as it passes through the carpal tunnel in the wrist, a narrow confined space. Since the median nerve provides sensory and motor functions to the thumb and three middle fingers, many symptoms may result.

      Carpenter syndrome: A birth defect that typically includes traits such as abnormally short fingers, webbed toes, extra toes, underdeveloped jaw, highly arched palate, widely spaced eyes, and/or low-set, deformed ears. Half of patients with Carpenter syndrome also have heart defects.

      cartilage: a smooth material that covers bone ends of a joint to cushion the bone and allow the joint to move easily without pain.

      cast: a cast holds a broken bone in place as it heals, prevents, or decreases muscle contractures, or provides immobilization, especially after surgery. Casts immobilize the joint above and the joint below the area that is to be kept straight and without motion.

      cataract: a change in the structure of the crystalline lens that causes blurred vision.

      cathartics: laxatives.

      catheter: a thin, flexible tube that carries fluids into or out of the body.

      cavernous hemangioma: a raised, red or purple mark in the skin, made up of enlarged blood vessels.

      cecostomy: tube that goes through the skin into the beginning of the large intestine to remove gas or feces; it is a short-term way to protect part of the colon while it heals after surgery.

      cecum: beginning of the large intestine; it is connected to the lower part of the small intestine, the ileum.

      celiac disease (also called celiac sprue or gluten sensitive enteropathy): a sensitivity to gluten, a wheat protein. Individuals with this disease must avoid glu-ten-containing grains, which include all forms of wheat, oats, barley, and rye.

      cellular pathology (also called cytopathology): the study of cellular alterations in disease.

      cellulitis: a bacterial infection of the skin that is characterized by swelling and tenderness.

      central auditory processing disorder: inability of individuals with normal hearing and intelligence to differentiate, recognize, or understand sounds.

      central nervous system: the brain and spinal cord.

      cephalohematoma: an area of bleeding underneath one of the cranial bones that appears as raised lump on the baby's head.

      cerebellum: a large structure consisting of two halves (hemispheres) located in the lower part of the brain; responsible for the coordination of movement and balance.

      cerebral embolism: a stroke that occurs when a wandering clot (embolus), or some other particle, forms in a blood vessel away from the brain: usually in the heart.

      cerebral hemorrhage: a type of stroke that occurs when a defective artery in the brain bursts, flooding the surrounding tissue with blood.

      cerebral spinal fluid analysis (also called spinal tap or lumbar puncture): a procedure used to make an evaluation or diagnosis by examining the fluid withdrawn from the spinal column.

      cerebral thrombosis: the most common type of stroke; occurs when a blood clot (thrombus) forms and blocks blood flow in an artery bringing blood to part of the brain.

      cerebrovascular: pertaining to blood vessels in the brain.

      cerebrovascular accident: apoplexy or stroke; an impeded blood supply to the brain.

      cerebrovascular occlusion: an obstruction in the blood vessel in the brain.

      cerebrum: consists of two parts (lobes), left and right, which form the largest and most developed part of the brain; initiation and coordination of all voluntary movement take place within the cerebrum. The basal ganglia are located immediately below the cerebrum.

      cervical dysplasia: condition in which cells in the cervix have undergone precancerous changes, as detected by a Pap smear; treatment can prevent it from progressing to cervical cancer.

      cervical intraepithelial neoplasia (CIN): term used to classify the degree of precancerous changes in cells of the cervix in a condition called cervical dysplasia.

      cervical spine: the area of the spinal cord located in the neck.

      cervicitis: an irritation of the cervix by a number of different organisms. Cervicitis is generally classified as either acute or chronic.

      cervix: the lower, narrow part of the uterus (womb) located between the bladder and the rectum. It forms a canal that opens into the vagina, which leads to the outside of the body.

      cesarean delivery (also called c-section): surgical procedure to deliver a baby through an incision in the lower abdomen and uterus.

      CHAMPUS: The Civilian Health and Medical Program for Uniformed Services.

      chemical burns: burns due to strong acids or alkalies coming into contact with the skin and/or eyes.

      chemical peels: a procedure often used to minimize sun-damaged skin, irregular pigment, and superficial scars. The top layer of skin is removed with a chemical application to the skin. By removing the top layer, the skin regenerates, often improving the skin's appearance.

      chemosensory disorders: disorders or diseases of smell or taste.

      chemotherapy: treatment to destroy cancer cells with drugs.

      chickenpox: a highly infectious viral disease, usually associated with childhood. By adulthood, more than 95 percent of Americans have had chickenpox. The disease is caused by the varicella-zoster virus (VZV). Transmission occurs from person-to-person by direct contact or through the air.

      child safety seat: special seats for infants and toddlers that are secured in a vehicle with seat belts or special anchors to increase the safety of the child in the event of a crash.

      chlamydial infection: very common sexually transmitted disease or urinary tract infection caused by a bacteria-like organism in the urethra and reproductive system.

      chlorhydria: too much hydrochloric acid in the stomach.

      cholangiography: series of x-rays of the bile ducts.

      cholangitis: irritated or infected bile ducts.

      cholecystectomy: surgery to remove the gallbladder.

      cholecystitis: inflammation of the gallbladder wall.

      cholecystography: x-ray that shows the flow of contrast fluid through the intestines into the gallbladder.

      cholecystokinin: hormone released in the small intestine; causes muscles in the gallbladder and the colon to tighten and relax.

      choledocholithiasis: a condition characterized by gallstones present in the bile ducts.

      cholelithiasis: a condition in which gallstones are present in the gallbladder.

      cholera: an acute, infectious disease caused by the consumption of water or food contaminated with the bacterium Vibrio cholerae.

      cholestasis: any interruption in the flow of bile.

      cholesteatoma: accumulation of dead cells in the middle ear caused by repeated middle ear infections.

      cholesterol: a waxy substance that is produced in the human body, animal fats, and in dairy products and is transported in the blood.

      chondroblasts: immature cartilage-producing cells.

      chorea: rapid, jerky movement of the body.

      chorionic villus sampling (CVS): diagnostic test, usually performed between the 10th and 12th weeks of pregnancy, in which a small sample of tissue is taken from the placenta and examined to detect genetic abnormalities in a fetus.

      choroid: the thin, blood-rich membrane that covers the whites of the eyeballs; responsible for supplying blood to the retina.

      chromatography: a laboratory test performed on a pregnant woman's urine to detect illegal drugs, such as cocaine, heroin, and marijuana.

      chromosomes: filaments of genetic material in every cell nucleus that are made up of genes and that transmit genetic information from one generation of cells to the next.

      chronic: referring to a disease or disorder that usually develops slowly and lasts for a long period of time.

      chronic fatigue syndrome (also called CFS or chronic fatigue and immune dysfunction syndrome): a debilitating condition characterized by profound fatigue, regardless of bedrest.

      chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL): a slowly progressing cancer of the blood in which too many lymphocytes, a type of white blood cell, are produced by the bone marrow and by organs of the lymph system.

      chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML): a slowly progressing cancer of the blood in which too many white blood cells are produced in the bone marrow.

      chyme: thick liquid made of partially digested food and stomach juices; made in the stomach and moves into the small intestine for further digestion.

      ciliary body: the part of the eye that produces aqueous humor.

      cineangiography: the procedure of taking moving pictures to show the passage of dye through blood vessels.

      circulatory system: pertaining to the heart and blood vessels, and the circulation of blood.

      circumcision: surgical procedure to remove the skin covering the end of the penis, called the foreskin.

      cirrhosis: a long-term disease of the liver in which the liver becomes covered with fiber-like tissue and has difficulty removing toxins and poisonous substances from the body. Alcohol, medications, and other substances may build up in the bloodstream and cause problems. Cirrhosis may be a result of scarring and damage from other diseases, such as biliary atresia and alcoholism.

      claudication: pain or fatigue in arms and legs due to poor supply of oxygen to the muscles.

      cleft lip: an abnormality in which the lip does not completely form. The degree of the cleft lip can vary greatly, from mild (notching of the lip) to severe (large opening from the lip up through the nose).

      cleft palate: occurs when the roof of the mouth does not completely close, leaving an opening that can extend into the nasal cavity. The cleft may involve either side of the palate. It can extend from the front of the mouth (hard palate) to the throat (soft palate). The cleft may also include the lip.

      climacteric (also called perimenopause): the transition period of time before menopause, marked by a decreased production of estrogen and progesterone, irregular menstrual periods, and transitory psychological changes.

      clinical trials: organized research studies that provide clinical data aimed at finding better ways to prevent, detect, diagnose, or treat diseases.

      Clostridium difficile (C. difficile): Bacteria naturally present in the large intestine that make a substance that can cause a serious infection called pseudomembranous colitis in people taking antibiotics.

      coagulation disorders: problems with either the inability for blood to clot properly, resulting in excessive bleeding, or excessive clotting leading to obstruction of veins and arteries (thrombosis).

      cochlea: snail-shaped structure in the inner ear that contains the organ of hearing.

      cochlear implant: medical device that bypasses damaged structures in the inner ear and directly stimulates auditory nerve to allow some deaf individuals to learn to hear and interpret sounds and speech.

      cognition: mental functions such as the ability to think, reason, and remember.

      cold knife cone biopsy: a procedure in which a laser or a surgical scalpel is used to remove a piece of tissue. This procedure requires the use of general anesthesia.

      cold sore: small blisters around and in the mouth caused by the herpes simplex virus.

      colectomy: partial or complete removal of the large bowel or colon.

      colic: attacks of abdominal pain, caused by muscle spasms in the intestines.

      colitis: irritation of the colon.

      collagen: a protein produced by skin cells that provide strength and resilience to the skin.

      collagen injections: collagen, a protein, is sometimes injected to raise sunken scars. However, collagen is not safe in patients with certain diseases and retreatment is often necessary.

      collagen/fat injectable fillers (also called soft-tis-sue augmentation): a plastic surgery technique used to correct wrinkles, depressions in the skin, and/or scarring.

      collagenous colitis: type of colitis caused by an abnormal band of collagen, a threadlike protein.

      colon: large intestine.

      colon polyps: small, fleshy, mushroom-shaped growths in the colon.

      colonic inertia: condition of the colon in which the muscles do not work properly, causing constipation.

      colonoscopic polypectomy: removal of tumor-like growths (polyps) using a device inserted through a colonoscope.

      colonoscopy: a test that uses a long, flexible tube with a light and camera lens at the end (colonoscope) to examine inside the large intestine.

      colorectal cancer: cancer that occurs in the colon (large intestine) or the rectum.

      colorectal transit study: a test to show how well food moves through the colon. The patient swallows capsules containing small markers which are visible on x-ray. The patient follows a high-fiber diet during the course of the test, and the movement of the markers through the colon is monitored with abdominal x-rays taken several times three to seven days after the capsule is swallowed.

      colostomy: operation that makes it possible for stool to leave the body after the rectum has been removed.

      colostrum: thin, white, first milk produced by the breasts during late pregnancy and for a few days after childbirth. It provides a nursing infant with essential nutrients and infection-fighting antibodies.

      colposcopy (also called colposcopic biopsy): a procedure which uses an instrument with magnifying lenses, called a colposcope, to examine the cervix for abnormalities. If abnormal tissue is found, a biopsy is usually performed.

      common bile duct: tube that carries bile from the liver to the small intestine.

      common bile duct obstruction: blockage of the common bile duct, often caused by gallstones.

      compact tissue: the harder, outer tissue of bones.

      comparative pathology: the study of disease in animals and how it compares in humans.

      complementary medicine: any form of therapy used in combination with other alternative treatments or standard/conventional medicine.

      complete blood count (CBC): a measurement of size, number, and maturity of the different blood cells in a specific volume of blood.

      composite resins (also called white fillings): a tooth-colored plastic mixture filled with glass (silicon dioxide) that is used primarily for cosmetic improvements of the smile by changing the color of the teeth or reshaping disfigured teeth.

      compound fracture: a broken bone that protrudes through the skin.

      computed tomography scan (also called a CT or CAT scan): a diagnostic imaging procedure that uses a combination of x-rays and computer technology to produce cross-sectional images (often called slices), both horizontally and vertically, of the body. A CT scan shows detailed images of any part of the body, including the bones, muscles, fat, and organs. CT scans are more detailed than general x-rays.

      conductive hearing impairment: hearing loss caused by dysfunction of the outer or middle ear.

      cone biopsy (also called conization): a biopsy in which a larger, cone-shaped piece of tissue is removed from the cervix by using the loop electrosurgical excision procedure or the cold knife cone biopsy procedure. The cone biopsy procedure may be used as a treatment for precancerous lesions and early cancers.

      congenital: present at birth.

      congenital anomaly: a health problem present at birth (not necessarily genetic).

      congestive heart failure: a condition in which the heart cannot pump out all of the blood that enters it, which leads to an accumulation of blood in the vessels and fluid in the body tissues.

      conjunctiva: the membrane that lines the exposed eyeball and the inside of the eyelid.

      conjunctivitis: inflammation of the conjunctiva of the eye.

      constipation: a condition in which stool becomes hard and dry.

      contact dermatitis: a rash or an inflammation of the skin caused by an exposure to an allergen or irritant.

      continence: ability to hold in a bowel movement or urine.

      continent ileostomy: operation to create a pouch from part of the small intestine. Stool that collects in the pouch is removed by inserting a small tube through an opening made in the abdomen.

      contractions, labor: rhythmic tightening of the muscular wall of the uterus to push the fetus down through the vagina during childbirth.

      contracture: inability to move a joint due to a permanent rigidity or contraction of a muscle.

      contusion (also called bruise): a collection of blood due to broken blood vessels underneath the skin usually caused by trauma. A bruise causes discoloration and swelling in the area.

      corn: a yellowish, callus growth that develops on top of the toes.

      cornea: the clear, dome-shaped surface that covers the front of the eye.

      corneal curvature: the shape of the front surface of the eye.

      coronal suture: the joining line (suture) between the frontal and parietal bones of the skull that crosses the top of the skull from temple to temple.

      coronary arteries: arteries that come from the aorta to provide blood to the heart muscle.

      coronary artery bypass graft (CAB or CABG): a surgical procedure in which a healthy blood vessel is transplanted from another part of the body into the heart to replace or bypass a diseased vessel.

      coronary artery spasm: a sudden closing of an artery, which cuts off blood flow to the heart and causes symptom of angina or heart attack.

      coronary heart disease: a condition in which the coronary arteries narrow from an accumulation of plaque (atherosclerosis) and cause a decrease in blood flow.

      coronary occlusion: an obstruction of one of the coronary arteries that decreases flow to the heart muscle.

      coronary thrombosis: the formation of a clot in one of the arteries that carry blood to the heart muscle.

      cortex: the outer layer of the cerebrum, densely packed with nerve cells.

      corticosteroids (also called glucocorticoids): potent, anti-inflammatory hormones that are made naturally in the body or synthetically for use as drugs; most commonly prescribed drug of this type is prednisone.

      cosmetic plastic surgery (also called aesthetic plastic surgery): one type of plastic surgery performed to repair or reshape otherwise normal structures of the body, primarily to improve the patient's appearance and self-esteem.

      craniectomy: excision of a part of the skull.

      craniofacial: pertaining to the head (skull) and face.

      craniosynostosis: a condition in which the sutures (soft spots) in the skull of an infant close too early, causing problems with normal brain and skull growth. Premature closure of the sutures may also cause the pressure inside of the head to increase and the skull or facial bones to change from a normal, symmetrical appearance to an abnormal, asymmetrical appearance.

      craniotomy: surgical opening of the skull to gain access to the intracranial structures.

      creeping eruption: a skin infection, caused by hookworms, that is characterized by severe itching.

      crepitus: grinding noise or sensation within a joint.

      Crohn's disease (also called regional enteritis and ileitis): A chronic form of inflammatory bowel disease that usually affects the lower small intestine (called the ileum) or the colon, but can also affect the entire gastrointestinal tract.

      Crouzon's syndrome: A birth defect characterized by abnormalities in the skull and facial bones. This syndrome often causes the skull to be short in the front and the back. Flat cheek bones and a flat nose are also typical of this disorder.

      crown: a “cap” that covers a cracked or broken tooth, unfixed by a filling, to approximate its normal size and shape.

      crust (also called scab): a formation of dried blood, pus, or other skin fluid over a break in the skin.

      cryosurgery: use of liquid nitrogen, or a probe that is very cold, to freeze and kill cancer cells.

      cryoprostatectomy: freezing of the prostate through the use of liquid nitrogen probes guided by transrectal ultrasound of the prostate.

      cryothalamotomy: a surgical procedure in which a super-cooled probe is inserted into a part of the brain called the thalamus in order to stop tremors.

      cryptorchidism: failure of one or both of the testicle(s) to move down into the scrotum.

      cryptosporidia: parasite that can cause gastrointestinal infection and diarrhea.

      cryptosporidiosis: a diarrheal infection caused by the parasite Cryptosporidium. The parasite is transmitted after drinking or swallowing contaminated food or water, including water swallowed while swimming.

      cubital tunnel: a tunnel of muscle, ligament, and bone on the inside of the elbow.

      cued speech: method of communication that combines speech reading with a system of handshapes placed near the mouth to help deaf or hard-of-hearing individuals differentiate words that look similar on the lips.

      culdocentesis: a procedure in which a needle is inserted into the pelvic cavity through the vaginal wall to obtain a sample of pus.

      cupping: the use of warmed glass jars to create suction on certain points of the body.

      cyanosis: bluish discoloration of the skin from lack of oxygen.

      cyclic vomiting syndrome (CVS): sudden, repeated attacks of severe vomiting (especially in children), nausea, and physical exhaustion with no apparent cause.

      cyst: a fluid-filled or semi-solid sac in or under the skin.

      cystic duct: tube that carries bile from the gallbladder into the common bile duct and the small intestine.

      cystic duct obstruction: blockage of the cystic duct, often caused by gallstones.

      cystitis: inflammation of the bladder, usually caused by a bacterial infection.

      cystocele: condition in which weakened pelvic muscles cause the base of the bladder to drop from its usual position down into the vagina.

      cystometry: diagnostic procedure that measures bladder capacity and pressure changes as the bladder fills and empties.

      cystoscopy (also called cystourethroscopy): a procedure in which a cystoscope, a flexible tube and viewing device, is inserted through the urethra to examine the bladder and urinary tract for structural abnormalities or obstructions, such as tumors or stones.

      cystourethrocele: condition that results when the urethra and its supporting tissues weaken and drop into the vagina leading to stress incontinence.

      cystourethrogram (also called a voiding cystogram): a specific x-ray that examines the urinary tract. A catheter (hollow tube) is placed in the urethra (tube that drains urine from the bladder to the outside of the body) and the bladder is filled with a liquid dye. X-ray images will be taken as the bladder fills and empties.

      cytology: the study of individual cells.

      cytomegalovirus (congenital): one group of herpes viruses that infects humans and can cause a variety of clinical symptoms including deafness or hearing impairment; infection with the virus may be either before or after birth.

      debridement: the surgical removal of foreign material and/or dead, damaged, or infected tissue from a wound or burn.

      decibel: unit of measuring the intensity or loudness of sound.

      deciduous teeth: also known as “baby” or primary teeth.

      deep vein thrombosis (DVT): blockage of the deep veins; particularly common in the leg.

      defecation: passage of bowel contents through the rectum and anus.

      defecography: an x-ray of the anorectal area that evaluates completeness of stool elimination, identifies anorectal abnormalities, and evaluates rectal muscle contractions and relaxation.

      defibrillator: an electronic device used to establish a normal heartbeat.

      dehydration: loss of fluids from the body, often caused by diarrhea.

      delayed gastric emptying (also called gastroparesis): nerve or muscle damage in the stomach that causes slow digestion and emptying, vomiting, nausea, or bloating.

      delusions: a perception that is thought to be true by the person experiencing it, although the perception is wrong. There are many types of delusions (i.e., delusions of grandeur).

      dementia: not a disease itself, but group of symptoms that characterize diseases and conditions; it is commonly defined as a decline in intellectual functioning that is severe enough to interfere with the ability to perform routine activities.

      dendrite: a threadlike extension from a nerve cell that serves as an antenna to receive messages from the axons of other nerve cells.

      dengue fever: a viral disease transmitted by Aedes mosquitoes mainly in tropical and subtropical areas of the world.

      dental amalgams (also called silver fillings): dental fillings that are comprised of a mixture of mercury (45 to 50 percent), and an alloy of silver, tin, and copper (50 to 55 percent).

      dental fluorosis: a condition that results from drinking overly fluoridated water that often causes the teeth to become discolored and the enamel of the teeth to look spotted, pitted, or stained.

      dental implants: small dental appliances that are inserted into the upper and lower jaws to help restore a mouth that has little or no non-restorable teeth.

      dental pulp: the soft tissue around the tooth that contains nerves, blood vessels, and connective tissue.

      dental sealant: a thin, plastic film that is painted on the chewing surfaces of the back teeth: the molars and premolars: to prevent tooth decay.

      dependent personality disorder: persons with this disorder rely heavily on others for validation and fulfillment of basic needs. Often unable to properly care for themselves, persons with dependent personality disorder lack self-confidence and security, and are deficient in making decisions.

      depression: a depressive disorder characterized by extreme feelings of sadness, lack of self-worth, and dejection.

      depth perception: the ability to distinguish objects in a visual field.

      dermabrasion: a procedure used to minimize small scars, minor skin surface irregularities, surgical scars, and acne scars. As the name implies, dermabrasion involves removing the top layers of skin with an electrical machine that “abrades” the skin. As the skin heals from the procedure, the surface appears smoother and fresher.

      dermaplaning: a plastic surgery technique used to treat deep acne scars with a hand-held instrument called a dermatome.

      dermatitis: an inflammation of the skin characterized by redness and itching.

      dermatofibroma: small, red or brown bumps in the skin.

      dermatome: an instrument that resembles an electric razor and has an oscillating blade that moves back and forth to evenly “skim” off the surface layers of skin that surround craters or other facial defects.

      dermatopathology: the study of the skin in diagnosing skin diseases.

      dermis: the middle layer of skin, which is made up of blood vessels, lymph vessels, hair follicles, sweat glands, collagen bundles, and fibroblasts.

      dermoid cyst: a benign tumor made up of hairs, sweat glands, and sebaceous glands.

      descending colon: the middle part of the colon located on the left side of the abdomen.

      DEXA (dual energy x-ray absorptiometry): imaging technique that uses a very low dose of radiation to measure bone density for the diagnosis of osteoporosis.

      diabetes mellitus: disorder that occurs when the body is not able to use sugar for growth and energy for daily activities. There are two main types of diabetes mellitus: insulin-dependent (Type 1) and noninsulindependent (Type 2).

      diagnosis: identifying a disease by its signs, symptoms, and laboratory findings.

      diagnostic mammogram: an x-ray of the breast used to diagnose unusual breast changes, such as a lump, pain, nipple thickening or discharge, or a change in breast size or shape. A diagnostic mammogram is also used to evaluate abnormalities detected on a screening mammogram.

      diagnostic radiology: the use of various radiological techniques, mostly noninvasive, to diagnose an array of medical conditions. Diagnostic radiology includes the use of x-rays, computed tomography (CT) scans, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans, and ultrasound.

      dialysis: a medical procedure to remove wastes and additional fluid from the blood after the kidneys have stopped functioning.

      diaper rash: an irritation of the skin in the diaper area.

      diaphragm: primary muscle used for respiration, located just below the lung bases.

      diarrhea: frequent, loose, and watery bowel movements.

      diastolic blood pressure: the lowest blood pressure measure in the arteries, which occurs between heartbeats.

      diathermy machine: a piece of equipment used in the operating room to control bleeding.

      diffuse axonal injury (DAI): the shearing (tearing) of the brain's long connecting nerve fibers (axons) that can occur with severe brain injury.

      digestants: medications that aid or stimulate digestion.

      digestion: process the body uses to break down food into substances for energy, growth, and cell repair.

      digestive system: the group of organs that breaks down foods into chemical components that the body can absorb and use for energy, and for building and repairing cells and tissues.

      digital rectal examination (DRE): a procedure in which the physician inserts a gloved finger into the rectum to examine the rectum and the prostate gland for signs of cancer.

      dilate: relax; expand.

      dilation and curettage (also called D & C): a minor operation in which the cervix is dilated (expanded) so that the cervical canal and uterine lining can be scraped with a curette (spoon-shaped instrument).

      diphtheria: a serious, infectious disease that produces a toxin (poison) and an inflammation in the membrane lining of the throat, nose, trachea, and other tissues.

      diplopia: double vision.

      direct fluorescent antibody test (dFA): a test most frequently used to diagnose rabies in animals.

      disability: the inability to perform an activity in a normal way as a result of an impairment, such as not being able to walk due to a weakness or paralysis in a leg.

      disc herniation (also called disc prolapse, disc bulge, or slipped disc): a protruding or bulging of the padded areas, called discs, between the vertebrae in the spine.

      dislocation: occurs when extreme force is put on a ligament causing the two bone ends to separate. Dislocations can also affect a joint, the point where two or more bones come together. The joint is created as a “ball-and-socket” joint. A dislocated joint causes the head of the bone (ball) to partially or completely come out of the socket.

      distention: bloating or swelling; usually referring to the abdomen.

      diuretic: a medication that lowers blood pressure by causing excess fluid to be excreted.

      diverticula: plural form of diverticulum.

      diverticulosis: condition that occurs when small pouches (diverticula) push outward through weak spots in the colon.

      diverticulum: small pouch in the colon. These pouches are not painful or harmful unless they become infected or irritated.

      dizziness: physical unsteadiness and lightheadedness that may be associated with balance disorders.

      DMD: Doctor of Dental Medicine.

      domestic violence: violence and abuse by family members or intimate partners such as a spouse, former spouse, boyfriend or girlfriend, ex-boyfriend or ex-girlfriend, or date.

      dopa decarboxylase: an enzyme present in the body that converts levodopa to dopamine.

      dopamine: a chemical substance, a neurotransmitter, found in the brain that regulates movement, balance, and walking.

      Doppler ultrasound: A procedure that uses sound waves to evaluate heart, blood vessels, and valves.

      ducts: narrow tube structures or channels that carry body fluids. In the breast, ducts transport milk from the lobules to the nipple.

      dumping syndrome (also called rapid gastric emptying): condition that occurs when food moves too fast from the stomach into the small intestine.

      duodenal ulcer: ulcer in the lining of the first part of the small intestine (duodenum).

      duodenitis: irritation of the first part of the small intestine (duodenum).

      duodenum: the first section of the small intestine.

      durable power of attorney: a legal document denoting a friend or family member as the legal guardian in case a person is unable to make medical decisions for himself/herself.

      dysarthria: group of speech disorders caused by disturbances in the strength or coordination of the muscles of the speech mechanism as a result of damage to the brain or nerves.

      dysentery: infectious disease of the colon; symptoms include bloody, mucus-filled diarrhea, abdominal pain, fever, and loss of fluids from the body.

      dysequilibrium: any disturbance of balance.

      dysfluency: disruption in the smooth flow or expression of speech.

      dysgeusia: distortion or absence of the sense of taste.

      dyskinesia: an involuntary movement including athetosis and chorea.

      dysmenorrhea: pain or discomfort experienced just before or during a menstrual period.

      dysmenorrhea, primary: from the beginning and usually lifelong; severe and frequent menstrual cramping caused by uterine contractions.

      dysmenorrhea, secondary: due to some physical cause and usually of later onset; painful menstrual periods caused by an another medical condition present in the body (i.e., pelvic inflammatory disease, endometriosis).

      dysosmia: distortion or absence of the sense of smell.

      dyspareunia: pain in the vagina or pelvis experienced during sexual intercourse.

      dyspepsia: indigestion.

      dysphagia: difficulty in swallowing.

      dysphonia: any impairment of the voice or difficulty speaking.

      dysplasia: abnormal development of tissue.

      dyspnea: shortness of breath.

      dyspraxia of speech: partial loss of the ability to consistently pronounce words in individuals with normal muscle tone and coordination of the speech muscles.

      dysrhythmia: an abnormal heart rhythm.

      dysthymia (also known as dysthymic disorder): classified as a type of affective disorder or mood disorder that often resembles a less severe, yet more chronic form of major (clinical) depression. However, persons with dysthymia may also experience major depressive episodes at times.

      dystonia: abnormal muscle tone muscles.

      dystrophin: a protein; a chemical substance made by muscle fibers.

      E. coli O157:H7 (also called E. coli. or Escherichia coli): Species of bacteria found in the intestines of man and healthy cattle; often the cause of urinary tract infections, diarrhea in infants, and wound infections.

      ear infection: presence and growth of bacteria or viruses in the ear.

      ear wax: yellow secretion (cerumen) from glands in the outer ear that keeps the skin of the ear dry and protected from infection.

      echocardiography: a procedure that evaluates the structure and function of the heart by using sound waves recorded on an electronic sensor that produce a moving picture of the heart and heart valves.

      eclampsia: a serious, life-threatening condition in late pregnancy in which very high blood pressure can cause a woman to have seizures.

      ectopic pregnancy (also called tubal pregnancy): an abnormal pregnancy in which the fertilized egg implants outside of the uterus, usually in one of the fallopian tubes.

      ectropion: turning outward of an edge; generally refers to a rare condition of the eyelid in which the lining of the eyelid is exposed.

      eczema (also called atopic dermatitis): a skin disorder that is characterized by itching, scaling, and thickening of the skin; usually located on the face, elbows, knees, and arms.

      EDD: Estimated Due Date.

      edema: swelling due to the build-up of fluid.

      ejection fraction: the measurement of the blood pumped out of the ventricles.

      elder care: a relatively new and growing area of health-care concerned with providing medical and other services for the rapidly growing, aging population (most often persons 65 years of age and older).

      elective surgery (also called optional surgery): an operation the patient chooses to have done, which may not be essential to continuation of quality of life.

      electric and magnetic fields: refers to the electric and magnetic fields which surround both big power lines that distribute power and the smaller but closer electric lines in homes and appliances.

      electrical burns: burns due to contact with an electrical current.

      electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG): a test that records the electrical activity of the heart, shows abnormal rhythms (arrhythmias or dysrhythmias), and detects heart muscle damage.

      electrochemotherapy: uses a combination of chemotherapy and electrical pulses to treat cancer.

      electrocoagulation: procedure that uses an electrical current passed through an endoscope to produce coagulation.

      electroconvulsive therapy (ECT): a procedure that causes a brief convulsion by passing an electric current through the brain; used to treat some mental disorders.

      electrodermal activity (EDA): measures changes in perspiration rate.

      electrodesiccation: electrosurgery which destroys tissue.

      electrodiagnostic tests (i.e., electromyography and nerve conduction velocity): studies that evaluate and diagnose disorders of the muscles and motor neurons. Electrodes are inserted into the muscle, or placed on the skin overlying a muscle or muscle group, and electrical activity and muscle response are recorded.

      electroencephalogram (EEG): a procedure that records the brain's continuous electrical activity by means of electrodes attached to the scalp.

      electrolytes: chemicals such as salts and minerals needed for various functions in the body.

      electromyogram (EMG): a test to evaluate nerve and muscle function.

      electrophysiological study (EPS): cardiac catheterization to study persons who either have or may have cardiac arrhythmias.

      electrosurgery: surgery which uses electrical instruments.

      embolization: the insertion of a substance through a catheter into a blood vessel to stop hemorrhaging, or excessive bleeding.

      embolus: a “wandering” blood clot.

      embryo: the fetus is first called an embryo during the first eight weeks after conception.

      emergency surgery (also called urgent surgery): an operation performed immediately as a result of a urgent medical condition.

      emerging infectious diseases: commonly defined as diseases that have newly appeared in a population, and/or diseases that have existed in the past, but are rapidly increasing in incidence or geographic range. Emerging diseases include: AIDS, Lyme disease, Escherichia coli O157: H7 (E. coli), and others. Re-emerg-ing diseases include: malaria, tuberculosis, cholera, pertussis, influenza, and others.

      encephalitis: a viral infection of the brain.

      encopresis: constipation and intestinal obstruction (blockage) lead to an involuntary leakage of loose stool, or encopresis.

      endarterectomy: the surgical removal of plaque or blood clots in an artery.

      endemic: a disease caused by the health conditions constantly present within a community. It usually describes an infection that is transmitted directly or indirectly between humans and is occurring at the usual expected rate.

      endocarditis: a bacterial infection of the heart lining.

      endocardium: the membrane that covers the inside surface of the heart.

      endocervical curettage (ECC): a procedure which uses a narrow instrument called a curette to scrape the lining of the endocervical canal. This type of biopsy is usually completed along with the colposcopic biopsy.

      endodontist (also called a pulp specialist): an endodontist has undergone specialized training in performing root canal therapy.

      endolymph: fluid in the labyrinth: the organ of balance located in the inner ear.

      endometrial ablation: a procedure to destroy the lining of the uterus (endometrium).

      endometrial biopsy: a procedure in which a sample of tissue is obtained through a tube which is inserted into the uterus.

      endometrial hyperplasia: abnormal thickening of the endometrium caused by excessive cell growth.

      endometrial implants: fragments of endometrium that relocate outside of the uterus, such as in the muscular wall of the uterus, ovaries, fallopian tubes, vagina, or intestine.

      endometriosis: condition in which tissue resembling that of the endometrium grows outside the uterus, on or near the ovaries or fallopian tubes, or in other areas of the pelvic cavity.

      endometrium: mucous membrane lining of the inner surface of the uterus that grows during each menstrual cycle and is shed in menstrual blood.

      endorphins: biochemical substances made by the body that may help reduce the level of pain.

      endoscope: small, flexible tube with a light and a lens on the end used to look into the esophagus, stomach, duodenum, colon, or rectum. It can also be used to take tissue from the body for testing or to take color photographs of the inside of the body. Colonoscopes and sigmoidoscopes are types of endoscopes.

      endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP): a procedure that allows the physician to diagnose and treat problems in the liver, gallbladder, bile ducts, and pancreas. The procedure combines x-ray and the use of an endoscope: a long, flexible, lighted tube. The scope is guided through the patient's mouth and throat, then through the esophagus, stomach, and duodenum. The physician can examine the inside of these organs and detect any abnormalities. A tube is passed through the scope, and a dye is injected which will allow the internal organs to appear on an x-ray.

      endoscopic sphincterotomy (also called endoscopic papillotomy): operation to cut the muscle between the common bile duct and the pancreatic duct.

      endoscopy: procedure that uses an endoscope, a long, flexible, lighted tube, to diagnose or treat a condition.

      endothelial cells: the delicate lining, only one cell thick, of the organs of circulation.

      enema: liquid put into the rectum to clear out the bowel or to administer medications or food.

      enlarged heart: a condition of the heart in which it is abnormally larger than normal.

      enteral nutrition (also called tube feeding): a way to provide food through a tube placed in the nose, stomach, or small intestine. A tube in the nose is called a nasogastric or nasoantral tube. A tube that goes through the skin into the stomach is called a gastrostomy or percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy (PEG). A tube into the small intestine is called a jejunostomy or percutaneous endoscopic jejunostomy (PEJ) tube.

      enteritis: irritation of the small intestine.

      enterocele: condition caused by weakened muscles in the pelvis in which a portion of the intestines bulges into the top of the vagina.

      enteroscopy: examination of the small intestine with an endoscope.

      enterostomy: ostomy, or opening, into the intestine through the abdominal wall.

      enuresis: involuntary discharge of urine, usually during sleep at night.

      environmental medicine: the healthcare specialty concerned with human illnesses or dysfunctions that result from environmental factors.

      enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA): blood test used to detect Helicobacter pylori bacteria; also used to diagnose an ulcer.

      enzymes: proteins that regulate chemical reactions in the body.

      eosinophilic gastroenteritis: infection and swelling of the lining of the stomach, small intestine, or large intestine.

      epicardium: the membrane that covers the outside of the heart.

      epidemic: a disease that spreads rapidly through a demographic segment of the human population, such as everyone in a given geographic area, or a similar population segment; also refers to a disease whose incidence is beyond what is expected.

      epidemiology: the study of the spread, control, and prevention of disease in a group of persons.

      epidermis: the outermost layer of skin.

      epidural anesthetic: an anesthetic which is injected into the “epidural space” in the middle and lower back, just outside the spinal space, to numb the lower extremities.

      epilepsy (also called seizure disorder): a brain disorder involving recurrent seizures.

      epinephrine: one of two chemicals (the other is norepinephrine) released by the adrenal gland that increases the speed and force of heartbeats. It dilates the airways to improve breathing and narrows blood vessels in the skin and intestine so that an increased flow of blood reaches the muscles and allows them to cope with the demands of exercise.

      episiotomy: incision made in the skin between the vagina and anus to enlarge the vaginal opening and facilitate childbirth.

      epithelial cells: one of many kinds of cells that form the epithelium and absorb nutrients.

      epithelium: a specialized type of tissue that normally lines the surfaces and cavities of the body.

      erectile dysfunction (also called impotence): the inability to achieve an erection, and/or dissatisfaction with the size, rigidity, and/or duration of erections.

      ergonomics: the science of obtaining a correct match between the human body, work-related tasks, and work tools.

      eructation: belching.

      erysipelas: a bacterial skin infection that usually affects the arms, legs, or face, characterized by shiny, red areas, small blisters, and swollen lymph nodes.

      erythema multiforme: a skin condition characterized by symmetrical, red, raised skin areas all over the body.

      erythema nodosum: a skin condition characterized by red bumps that usually appear on the lower leg.

      erythrasma: a skin infection of the top layer of skin characterized by irregular pink patches that turn to brown scales.

      erythrocyte sedimentation rate (also called ESR or sed rate): a measurement of how quickly red blood cells fall to the bottom of a test tube. When swelling and inflammation are present, the blood's proteins clump together and become heavier than normal. Thus, when measured, they fall and settle faster at the bottom of the test tube. Generally, the faster the blood cells fall, the more severe the inflammation.

      erythroplakia: a red patch of mucous membrane inside the mouth; one cause of oral cancer.

      esophageal manometry: a diagnostic test that helps to determine the strength of the muscles in the esophagus. It is useful in evaluating gastroesophageal reflux and swallowing abnormalities. A small tube is guided into the nostril, then passed into the throat, and finally into the esophagus. The pressure the esophageal muscles produce at rest is then measured.

      esophageal Ph monitoring: a test to measure the amount of acid in the esophagus.

      esophageal spasms: muscle cramps in the esophagus that cause pain in the chest.

      esophageal stricture: narrowing of the esophagus often caused by acid flowing back from the stomach.

      esophageal ulcer: sore in the esophagus caused by long-term inflammation or damage from the residue of medications.

      esophageal varices: stretched veins in the esophagus that occur when the liver is not working properly.

      esophagitis: irritation of the esophagus, usually caused by acid that flows up from the stomach.

      esophagogastroduodenoscopy (also called EGD or upper endoscopy): a procedure that allows the physician to examine the inside of the esophagus, stomach, and duodenum. A thin, flexible, lighted tube, called an endoscope, is guided into the mouth and throat, then into the esophagus, stomach, and duodenum. The endoscope allows the physician to view the inside of this area of the body, as well as to insert instruments through a scope for the removal of a sample of tissue for biopsy (if necessary).

      esophagus: the muscular canal that connects the mouth to the stomach.

      estrogen: a hormone secreted by the ovaries which affects many aspects of the female body, including a woman's menstrual cycle and normal sexual and reproductive development.

      estrogen replacement therapy (ERT): use of the female hormone estrogen to replace that which the body no longer produces naturally after medical or surgical menopause.

      euphoria: a feeling of elation or well-being that is not based on reality and is commonly exaggerated.

      evoked potentials: procedures that record the brain's electrical response to sensory stimuli.

      exanthem: a rash.

      excisional: cutting away cancerous tissue with a scalpel or other instrument to completely remove it and (possibly) some surrounding tissue. There are many types of excisional surgeries, each named for the particular area of the body in which they are performed, or the particular purpose for which they are performed.

      excisional biopsy: surgery to remove tissue for examination.

      excoriation: an area of the skin covered by a crust, or scab, usually caused by scratching.

      expander/implant breast reconstruction: the use of an expander to create a breast mound, followed by the placement with a permanently-filled breast implant.

      expectant management (also called expectant therapy): “watchful waiting” or close monitoring of a disease by a physician instead of immediate treatment.

      expiration: exhaling; giving off carbon dioxide.

      extensor muscle: any muscle that causes the straightening of a limb or other part.

      external urethral sphincter muscle: a voluntary and involuntary ring-like band of muscle fibers that are voluntarily contracted to stop urinating.

      extracorporeal shockwave lithotripsy (ESWL): a procedure that uses shock waves to break gallstones up into tiny pieces that can pass through the bile ducts without causing blockages.

      extragenital: outside of, away from, unrelated to the genital organs.

      extrahepatic biliary tree: bile ducts located outside the liver.

      extrapyramidal system: system consisting of nerve cells, nerve tracts, and pathways that connects the cerebral cortex, basal ganglia, thalamus, cerebellum, reticular formation, and spinal neurons that is concerned with the regulation of reflex movements such as balance and walking.

      extrinsic asthma: asthma that is triggered by an allergic reaction, usually to something that is inhaled.

      facial implant: cosmetic plastic surgery to change the shape of the chin, check, or jaw. This procedure is typically done to enhance certain facial features, or to bring a certain aspect of the face into proportion with the rest of the facial structures.

      factor: a protein in the blood that is needed to form the blood clot.

      factor V Leiden: an inherited mutation (change in a gene) in factor V which increases a person's risk for venous thrombosis.

      fallopian tubes: two thin tubes that extend from each side of the uterus, toward the ovaries, as a passageway for eggs and sperm.

      false negative report: a negative result when in reality it is positive in nature.

      false positive report: a positive result when in reality it is negative in nature.

      familial: a clustering of disease in a family, with no specific inheritance pattern, but more cases than chance alone would predict.

      familial polyposis: an inherited disease that causes polyps in the colon. These polyps can lead to cancer.

      fat: one of three nutrients that supply calories to the body.

      fat necrosis: a benign breast condition in which painless, round, firm lumps caused by damaged and disintegrating fatty tissues form in the breast tissue, often in response to a bruise or blow to the breast.

      fatty liver (also called steatosis): build-up of fat in liver cells.

      fecal fat test: test to measure the body's ability to break down and absorb fat.

      fecal incontinence: being unable to hold stool in the colon and rectum.

      fecal occult blood test: a test to check for hidden (occult) blood in the stool. It involves placing a very small amount of stool on a special card, which is then tested in the physician's office or sent to a laboratory; screening test for cancer of the colon or rectum.

      feces (also called stool): solid wastes that pass through the rectum as bowel movements. Stools are undigested foods, bacteria, mucus, and dead cells.

      fertile: able to become pregnant.

      festination: walking with a series of quick, small, shuffling steps as if hurrying forward to keep balance.

      fetal alcohol syndrome: set of serious birth defects that can occur when a pregnant woman drinks excessive amounts of alcohol.

      fetus: an unborn baby from the eighth week after fertilization until delivery.

      fever (also called pyrexia): an abnormal temperature of the body. A fever generally indicates that there is an abnormal process occurring in the body.

      fiber: substance in foods that comes from plants, which helps with digestion by keeping stool soft so that it moves smoothly through the colon.

      fibrillation: rapid contractions of the heart muscles.

      fibroadenoma: a solid, smooth, benign (non-cancer-ous) lump in the breast that is painless and moves around easily when touched.

      fibrocystic breast disease(also called fibroid breasts or generalized breast lumpiness): non-cancerous irregularities and lumpiness in the breast tissue.

      fibrocystic breasts: non-cancerous condition in which small lumps and cysts develop in the breasts.

      fibroid embolization: a new, experimental technique which involves identifying which arteries are supplying blood to the fibroids and then blocking off these arteries, which cuts off the fibroids’ blood supply and causes them to shrink. Physicians are still evaluating the long-term implications of this procedure on fertility and regrowth of the fibroid.

      fibroids: non-cancerous growths in, on, or within the walls of the uterus.

      fibromyalgia (also called fibrositis): a chronic, widespread pain in muscles and soft tissues surrounding the joints throughout the body.

      fibrosis: the growth of scar tissue due to infection, inflammation, injury, or even healing.

      fine needle aspiration: the use of a thin, hollow needle to withdraw tissue from the body.

      fish poisoning: poisoning that occurs by eating various species of fish and shellfish at certain times of the year when they contain poisonous biotoxins. This can occur even if the fish is well-cooked.

      fistula: abnormal passage between two organs or between an organ and the outside of the body, caused when damaged tissues come into contact with each other and join together while healing.

      flap surgery: one type of surgery that involves transporting healthy, live tissue from one location of the body to another: often to areas that have lost skin, fat, muscle movement, and/or skeletal support. There are several different types of flap surgery methods that may be utilized, depending upon the location of the flap and the structures that need to be repaired.

      flatulence: excessive gas in the stomach or intestine; may also cause bloating.

      flexor muscle: any muscle that causes the bending of a limb or other body part.

      fluoride: a natural chemical that strengthens enamel, the hard outer coating on teeth, helps prevent tooth decay, and helps repair early damage to teeth.

      fluoroscopy: a study of moving body structures, similar to an x-ray “movie.” A continuous x-ray beam is passed through the body part being examined, and is transmitted to a TV-like monitor so that the body part and its motion can be seen in detail.

      flutter: ineffective contractions of the heart muscles.

      folate deficiency: the lack of folic acid (one of the B vitamins) in the blood.

      folic acid: a nutrient found in some green leafy vegetables, nuts, beans, citrus fruits, fortified breakfast cereals, and some vitamin supplements. Folic acid can help reduce the risk of birth defects of the brain and spinal cord.

      follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH): hormone secreted by the pituitary gland in the brain that stimulates the growth and maturation of eggs in females and sperm in males, and sex hormone production.

      folliculitis: an inflammation of the hair follicles due to an infection or irritation.

      food allergy: a physiological reaction caused when the immune system mistakenly identifies a normally harmless food as damaging to the body.

      food exchanges: a way to help people stay on special food plans by letting them replace items from one food group with items from another group.

      food intolerance: an adverse reaction of the body to a certain food(s) that does not affect the immune system, although some symptoms may be the same as in food allergy. Lactose intolerance is an example.

      food-drug interaction: occurs when food eaten affects the ingredients in a medication being taken, preventing the medication from working the way it should.

      forehead lift: the surgical removal of excess fat and skin, as well as a tightening of the muscles in the forehead area. It can correct sagging brows or deep furrows between the eyes. It is often done in conjunction with a facelift in order to create a smoother facial appearance overall.

      fracture: a partial or complete break in the bone.

      freckles: darkened, flat spots that typically appear only on sun-exposed areas of skin.

      free skin graft: the detaching of healthy skin from one part of the body to repair areas of lost or damaged skin in another part of the body.

      frostbite: an injury to the body caused by freezing.

      frozen shoulder (also called capsulitis): a shoulder injury which has four stages: pain, pain and stiffness, stiffness, and resolution.

      functional disorders (also called motility disorders): conditions that result from poor nerve and muscle function.

      functional incontinence: leakage of urine due to a difficulty reaching a restroom in time because of physical conditions such as arthritis.

      fundus: the top of the enlarged uterus.

      gait: pattern of walking or locomotion.

      galactose: a type of sugar in milk products and sugar beets, also produced within the body.

      galactosemia: a build-up of galactose in the body, caused by a lack of one of the enzymes needed to breakdown galactose into glucose.

      gallbladder: organ that stores the bile made in the liver and sends bile into the small intestine to help digest fat.

      gallstones: solid masses or stones made of cholesterol or bilirubin that form in the gallbladder or bile ducts.

      gamma camera: a device used in nuclear medicine to scan patients who have been injected with small amounts of radioactive materials.

      ganglion cysts: non-cancerous, fluid-filled cysts are common masses or lumps in the hand; usually found on the back of the wrist.

      gangrene: a death of body tissue that usually occurs when there has been an interruption of blood supply, followed by bacterial invasion.

      Gardner's syndrome: A condition in which many polyps form throughout the digestive tract.

      gas: air that comes from the normal breakdown of food and is passed out of the body through the rectum (flatus) or the mouth (belch).

      gastrectomy: complete or partial removal of the stomach.

      gastric: related to the stomach.

      gastric juices: liquids produced in the stomach to help break down food and kill bacteria.

      gastric resection: operation to remove part or all of the stomach.

      gastric ulcer (also called stomach ulcer): open sore in the stomach lining.

      gastrin: hormone released after eating, which causes the stomach to produce more acid.

      gastritis: inflammation of the stomach lining.

      gastrocolic reflex: increase of muscle movement in the gastrointestinal tract when food enters an empty stomach, which may cause the urge to have a bowel movement right after eating.

      gastroenteritis: infection or irritation of the stomach and intestines, which may be caused by bacteria or parasites from spoiled food or unclean water, or eating food that irritates the stomach lining and emotional upsets such as anger, fear, or stress.

      gastroenterologist: physician who specializes in digestive diseases.

      gastroenterology: field of medicine concerned with the function and disorders of the digestive system.

      gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD): a digestive disorder that is caused by gastric acid flowing from the stomach into the esophagus.

      gastroparesis (also called delayed gastric emptying): nerve or muscle damage in the stomach that causes slow digestion and emptying, vomiting, nausea, or bloating.

      gastroscopy: examining the lining of the esophagus, stomach, and the first part of the small intestine with a long viewing tube.

      gastrostomy: an artificial opening from the stomach to a hole (stoma) in the abdomen where a feeding tube is inserted.

      gastrostomy tubes: a gastrostomy tube (feeding tube) is inserted into the stomach if the patient is unable to take food by mouth.

      gated blood pool scan: a nuclear scan to see how the heart wall moves and how much blood is expelled with each heartbeat.

      general anesthetic: an anesthetic which causes the patient to become unconscious during surgery.

      generalized anxiety disorder (GAD): a mental disorder that causes its sufferers chronic and exaggerated worry and tension that seem to have no substantial cause. Persons with generalized anxiety disorder often worry excessively about health, money, family, or work, and continually anticipate disaster.

      genes: basic, functional units of heredity, each occupying a specific place on a chromosome.

      genetic counseling: providing information, advice, and testing to prospective parents at risk of having a child with a birth defect or genetic disorder.

      genetics: the study of how traits and diseases are inherited from one generation to the next.

      genital herpes: a sexually transmitted disease caused by the herpes simplex virus.

      genital warts (also called venereal warts or condylomata acuminata): caused by a virus related to the virus that causes common skin warts. Usually, genital warts first appear as small, hard, painless bumps in the vaginal area, on the penis, or around the anus.

      genitals: external sex organs.

      genu valgum: commonly known as “knock knees.”

      genu varum: commonly known as “bowed legs.”

      gestational diabetes: form of diabetes which begins during pregnancy in women who have not been known to have diabetes before, and usually disappears following delivery.

      giant cell arteritis (also called cranial arteritis, temporal arteritis, or Horton's disease): a disease that causes inflammation of the temporal arteries and other arteries in the head and neck, causing the arteries to narrow, reducing blood flow in the affected areas; may cause persistent headaches and vision loss.

      giardiasis: an infectious, diarrheal disease caused by the parasite Giardia lamblia, which can be transmitted through oral-fecal contact and by water contaminated by feces.

      GIFT (gamete intrafallopian transfer): method of treating infertility by removing eggs from a woman's ovaries, combining them with sperm from her partner or a donor in the laboratory, and placing the eggs and sperm together in one of her fallopian tubes, where fertilization can occur.

      glaucoma: increased intraocular pressure that can result in optic nerve damage and loss of sight.

      glomerulonephritis: a type of glomerular kidney disease in which the kidneys’ filters become inflamed and scarred, and slowly lose their ability to remove wastes and excess fluid from the blood to make urine.

      glomerulosclerosis: the term used to describe scarring that occurs within the kidneys in the small balls of tiny blood vessels called the glomeruli. The glomeruli assist the kidneys in filtering urine from the blood.

      glucagon: a protein hormone secreted by the pancreas to stimulate the liver to produce glucose.

      glucose: a simple sugar, which is the body's main source of energy.

      glucose tolerance test: blood test used to make the diagnosis of diabetes, including gestational diabetes.

      glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency (G6PD): a deficiency of an enzyme (G6PD) in red blood cells, causing hemolytic anemia.

      gluten: a protein found in wheat, rye, barley, and oats.

      gluten sensitive enteropathy (also called celiac sprue or celiac disease): a sensitivity to gluten, a wheat protein. Individuals with this disease must avoid gluten-containing grains, which include all forms of wheat, oats, barley, and rye.

      gluteus maximus: large, superficial, buttock muscle.

      glycogen: converted glucose for storage. Glycogen plays a role in controlling blood sugar levels.

      goiter: an overgrown thyroid gland.

      gonadotropins: luteinizing hormone and follicle-stimulating hormone, produced by the pituitary gland.

      gonorrhea: a common sexually transmitted disease caused by a bacterium, which can lead to infertility in women.

      Goodpasture syndrome: A rare, autoimmune disease that can affect the lungs and kidneys.

      gout: a result of a defect in body chemistry (such as uric acid in the joint fluid), this painful condition most often attacks small joints, especially the big toe. It can usually be controlled with medication and diet.

      grade: the grade of a cancer reflects how abnormal it looks under the microscope. There are several grading systems for different types of cancer.

      grades of movement: standardized means of documenting techniques of mobilization, relating it to the true feel of joint movement.

      grading: a process for classifying cancer cells to determine the growth rate of the tumor. The cancer cells are measured by how closely they look like normal cells.

      graft-versus-host disease (GVHD): when the donor's immune system acts against the recipient's tissue, after transplantation.

      granulocytes: a type of white blood cell. The different types of granulocytes include: basophils, eosinophils, and neutrophils.

      granuloma annulare: a chronic skin condition characterized by small, raised bumps that form a ring with a normal or sunken center.

      gray matter: the darker-colored tissues of the central nervous system; in the brain, the gray matter includes the cerebral cortex, thalamus, basal ganglia, and outer layers of the cerebellum.

      guided imagery: envisioning a certain goal to help cope with health problems.

      Guillain-Barrée syndrome: A disorder in which the body's immune system attacks part of the nervous system.

      Gulf War syndrome: A widely used term referring to unexplained illnesses occurring in Gulf War veterans.

      gustation: act or sensation of tasting.

      gynecomastia: a condition in which the male's breast tissue enlarges. Gynecomastia literally means “woman breast.” This increase in tissue usually occurs at times when the male is having hormonal changes, such as during infancy, adolescence, and old age.

      H2-blockers: medications used to treat gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) that decrease the amount of acid made by the stomach. The stomach lining has sites that react to a chemical normally found in the body called histamine. When histamine attaches to these sites, the stomach produces acid that aids in digestion of food. H2-blockers prevent the stomach from reacting to histamine, thereby decreasing stomach acid.

      Haemophilus influenzae (also called H. influenzae): Represents a group of bacteria that may cause different types of infections in infants and children. H. influenzae most commonly causes ear, eye, or sinus infections, and pneumonia.

      hair cells: sensory cells of the inner ear, which are topped with hair-like structures (stereocilia), which transform the mechanical energy of sound waves into nerve impulses.

      halitosis: an oral health condition characterized by consistently odorous breath.

      hallucinations: a strong perception of an event or object when no such situation is present; may occur in any of the senses (i.e., visual, auditory, gustatory, olfactory, or tactile).

      hammertoe: a permanent sideways bend in the middle toe joint.

      hamstrings: muscles located in the posterior compartment of the thigh.

      handicap: barriers imposed by society, the environment, or attitudes that prevent a person with a disability from performing a role that is normal for that person.

      hay fever (also called rhinitis): an inflammation of the mucous membrane that lines the nose, often due to allergy to pollen, dust or other airborne substances, which causes sneezing, itching, a runny nose and nasal congestion.

      headache: pain or discomfort in the head or face area. Headaches can be single or recurrent in nature, and localized to one or more areas of the head and face.

      headache (primary): includes tension (muscular contraction), vascular (migraine), and cluster headaches not caused by other underlying medical conditions.

      headache (secondary): includes headaches that result from other medical conditions. These may also be referred to as traction headaches or inflammatory headaches.

      hearing: series of events in which sound waves in the air are converted to electrical signals that are sent as nerve impulses to the brain where they are interpreted.

      hearing aid: electronic device that brings amplified sound to the ear.

      hearing disorder: disruption in the normal hearing process; sound waves are not converted to electrical signals and nerve impulses are not transmitted to the brain to be interpreted.

      heart attack (also called myocardial infarction): occurs when one of more regions of the heart muscle experience a severe or prolonged decrease in oxygen supply caused by a blocked blood flow to the heart muscle.

      heart block: interrupted electrical impulse to heart muscles.

      heart rate: the rate at which the heart beats. Normal heart rates range between 60 and 100 beats per minute.

      heart valve prolapse: a condition of the heart valve in which it is partially open when it should be closed.

      heartbeat: one complete contraction of the heart.

      heartburn: painful, burning feeling in the chest caused by stomach acid flowing back into the esophagus.

      heart-lung machine: a machine that pumps blood during open heart surgery.

      heat exhaustion: a form of heat-related illness that is more severe than heat cramps and results from a loss of water and salt in the body. It occurs in conditions of extreme heat and excessive sweating without adequate fluid and salt replacement. Heat exhaustion occurs when the body is unable to cool itself properly. If left untreated, heat exhaustion can lead to heat stroke.

      heat stroke: the most severe form of heat illness and is a life-threatening emergency. It is the result of long, extreme exposure to the sun, in which a person does not sweat enough to lower body temperature.

      heel spur: a bone growth on the heel bone.

      Heimlich maneuver: An emergency, first-aid treatment consisting of a series of under-the-diaphragm abdominal thrusts used on a person choking on food or a foreign object.

      Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori): Spiral-shaped bacterium found in the stomach. H. pylori damages stomach and duodenal tissue, causing ulcers; previously called Campylobacter pylori.

      hemarthrosis: bleeding into a joint.

      hematocrit: the measurement of the percentage of red blood cells found in a specific volume of blood.

      hematologist: a physician who specializes in the functions and disorders of the blood.

      hematology: the scientific study of blood and blood-forming tissues.

      hematoma: blood that collects under the skin or in an organ.

      hematopathology: the study of blood, bone marrow, and the organs and tissues that use blood cells to perform their functions.

      hematopoiesis: the process of producing and developing new blood cells.

      hematuria: the presence of red blood cells (RBCs) in the urine.

      hemochromatosis (also called iron overload disease): a metabolic disorder that causes increased absorption of iron, which is deposited in the body tissues and organs. The iron accumulates in the body where it may become toxic and cause damage.

      hemoglobin: substance in the red blood cells that supplies oxygen to the cells of the body.

      hemoglobin A1c (also called HbA1c test): a test that shows the average amount of sugar in the blood over the last three months. The result will indicate if the blood sugar level is under control.

      hemolytic anemia: one type of anemia in which the red blood cells are destroyed prematurely.

      hemolytic uremic syndrome: a rare kidney disorder that mostly affects children under the age of 10. It is often characterized by damage to the lining of blood vessel walls, destruction of red blood cells, and/or kidney failure.

      hemophilia (also called coagulation disorder): an inherited bleeding disorder caused by low levels, or absence of, a blood protein that is essential for clotting; hemophilia A is caused by a lack of the blood clotting protein factor VIII; hemophilia B is caused by a deficiency of factor IX.

      hemorrhoidectomy: the surgical removal of hemorrhoids.

      hemorrhoids: swollen blood vessels in and around the anus that cause itching, pain, and sometimes bleeding.

      hepatic: related to the liver.

      hepatitis: inflammation of the liver that sometimes causes permanent damage; caused by viruses, drugs, alcohol, or parasites. Hepatitis has the following forms: hepatitis A: a form of infectious hepatitis caused by the hepatitis A virus. The virus may be spread by fecal-oral contact, fecal-infected food or water, and may also be spread by a blood-borne infection (which is rare).

      hepatitis B: a form of infectious hepatitis caused by the hepatitis B virus. Transmission of the hepatitis B virus occurs through blood and body fluid exposure such as blood semen, vaginal secretions, or saliva.

      hepatitis C: a form of infectious hepatitis caused by the hepatitis C virus. Transmission of the hepatitis C virus occurs primarily from contact with infected blood, but can also occur from sexual contact or from an infected mother to her baby.

      hepatitis D: a form of infectious hepatitis caused by the hepatitis D (Delta) virus. This form of hepatitis can only occur in the presence of hepatitis B. Transmission of hepatitis D occurs the same way as hepatitis B.

      hepatitis E: a form of infectious hepatitis caused by the hepatitis E virus. This form of hepatitis is similar to hepatitis A. Transmission occurs through fecal-oral contamination. Hepatitis E is most common in poorly developed countries and is rarely seen in the US.

      hepatitis G: the newest form of infectious hepatitis. Transmission is believed to occur through blood and is seen in IV drug users, individuals with clotting disorders, such as hemophilia, and individuals who require hemodialysis for renal failure.

      hepatologist: physician who specializes in liver diseases.

      hepatomegaly: enlarged liver.

      hernia: a protrusion of part of an organ through the muscle that surrounds it.

      herpes genitalis: an infection caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV) and usually spread by sexual contact. Symptoms may include painful blisters or open sores in the genital area, which may be preceded by a tingling or burning sensation in the legs, buttocks, or genital region. The herpes sores usually disappear within a few weeks, but the virus remains in the body and the lesions may recur from time to time.

      herpes zoster (also called shingles): a viral infection of the nerves, characterized by a painful skin rash of small blisters anywhere on the body.

      hiatal hernia: small opening in the diaphragm that allows the upper part of the stomach to move up into the chest and causes heartburn from stomach acid flowing back up through the opening.

      high blood glucose: a condition that occurs in people with diabetes when their blood glucose levels are too high.

      high blood pressure: a condition in which the blood circulates through the arteries with too much force.

      high-density lipoprotein (HDL): a protein in the blood plasma that promotes breakdown and removal of cholesterol from the body.

      hip: the region on each side of the pelvis; made up of three sections: ilium, ischium, and pubis; the upper part of the femur (upper leg bone) fits into the hip via a ball-and-socket joint; the socket is a cup-shaped bone of the pelvis, called the acetabulum, and the ball is the head of the femur.

      Hirschsprung's disease: Birth defect in which some nerve cells are lacking in the large intestine.

      hirsutism: excessive hairiness.

      histamine: a chemical present in cells throughout the body that is released during an allergic reaction and one of the substances responsible for the symptoms of inflammation.

      histrionic personality disorder: persons with this disorder are overly conscious of their appearance, are constantly seeking attention, and often behave dramatically in situations that do not warrant this type of reaction. The emotional expressions of persons with histrionic personality disorder are often judged as superficial and exaggerated.

      hives (also called urticaria): a condition in which red, itchy, and swollen areas appear on the skin: usually as an allergic reaction from eating certain foods or taking certain medications.

      hoarseness: abnormally rough or harsh-sounding voice caused by vocal abuse and other disorders.

      Hodgkin's disease: A type of lymphoma, a cancer in the lymphatic system; a rare disease, accounting for less than 1 percent of all cases of cancer in the U.S., and occurs most often in people between the ages of 15 and 34, and in people over age 55. Hodgkin's disease causes the cells in the lymphatic system to abnormally reproduce, eventually making the body less able to fight infection. Steady enlargement of lymph glands, spleen, and other lymphatic tissue occurs.

      Holter monitor: An EKG recording done over a period of 24 or more hours.

      hormone replacement therapy (HRT): use of the female hormones estrogen and progestin (a synthetic form of progesterone) to replace those hormones the body no longer produces after menopause.

      hormone therapy: the use of hormones, medications, or surgery to suppress (block) or mimic hormones and alter the growth of hormone-sensitive cancer.

      hormones: chemical substances created by the body that control numerous body functions.

      hospice: literal meaning “a place of shelter.” Today, hospice refers to supportive care of a terminally ill patient.

      human chorionic gonadotropin: a hormone produced by the placenta about 10 days after fertilization.

      human papillomaviruses (HPVs): a group of viruses that can cause warts. Some HPVs are sexually transmitted and cause wart-like growths on the genitals. HPV is associated with some types of cancer.

      humerus: the bone of the upper arm.

      hyaloid canal: narrow passageway that allows blood to flow through the eye.

      hydrochloric acid: acid made in the stomach that works with pepsin and other enzymes to break down proteins.

      hydrocortisone: a hormone secreted by the adrenal cortex which affects metabolism.

      hydronephrosis: a condition that occurs as a result of urine accumulation in the upper urinary tract; usuallyoccurs from a blockage somewhere along the urinary tract.

      hydrotherapy: rehabilitation exercises performed in water.

      hyperactive: describes a situation in which a body tissue is especially likely to have an exaggerated reaction to a particular situation.

      hyperextension: active or passive force which takes the joint into extension, but beyond its normal range.

      hyperglycemia (also called high blood glucose): a condition that occurs in people with diabetes when their blood glucose levels are too high.

      hyperopia: farsightedness.

      hyperplasia: an abnormal increase in the number of cells in a tissue or an organ (i.e., cervix or the lining of the uterus).

      hypertension: abnormally high blood pressure.

      hypertrophic obstructive cardiomyopathy (HOCM): a bulge in the ventricle that causes impeded blood flow.

      hypertrophy: an increase in the size of tissue.

      hypogeusia: diminished sensitivity to taste.

      hypoglycemia: condition in which the blood sugar is lower than normal.

      hypomobility: a decrease in the normal range of joint movement.

      hyposmia: diminished sensitivity to smell.

      hypotension: abnormally low blood pressure.

      hypothalamus: small structure at the base of the brain that regulates many body functions, including appetite, body temperature, and stimulation of the pituitary gland.

      hypothermia: an abnormally low body temperature brought on by staying in cold temperatures for a long period of time; a life-threatening emergency.

      hypoxia: abnormally low oxygen content in the organs and tissues of the body.

      hysterectomy: surgical removal of the uterus.

      hysterosalpingography: x-ray examination of the uterus and fallopian tubes that uses dye and is often performed to rule out tubal obstruction.

      hysteroscope: a viewing instrument inserted through the vagina for a visual examination of the canal of the cervix and the interior of the uterus.

      hysteroscopy: a visual examination of the canal of the cervix and the interior of the uterus using a viewing instrument (hysteroscope) inserted through the vagina.

      IBCLC: International Board of Certified Lactation Consultants.

      ibuprofen: a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) found in many over-the-counter medications (i.e., Advil or Motrin).

      ice therapy: cooling of deeper tissues.

      idiopathic: of unknown origin.

      idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura: a blood disorder characterized by an abnormal decrease in the number of blood platelets, which results in internal bleeding. There are two forms of idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura: acute thrombocytopenic purpura and chronic thrombocytopenic purpura.

      ileal: related to the ileum, the lowest end of the small intestine.

      ileoanal anastomosis (also called a pull-through operation): an operation to remove the colon and inner lining of the rectum, but leave the outer muscle of the rectum. The bottom end of the small intestine (ileum) is pulled through the remaining rectum and joined to the anus, allowing stool to pass normally.

      ileoanal reservoir: an operation to remove the colon, upper rectum, and part of the lower rectum. An internal pouch is created from the remaining intestine to hold stool.

      ileocecal valve: a valve that connects the bottom end of the small intestine (ileum) and the upper part of the large intestine (cecum). This valve controls the flow of fluid in the intestines and prevents backflow.

      ileocolitis: irritation of the lower part of the small intestine (ileum) and colon.

      ileostomy: operation that makes it possible for stool to leave the body after the colon and rectum are removed. An opening is made in the abdomen and the bottom of the small intestine (ileum) attaches to it.

      ileum: lower end of the small intestine.

      illusions: a false perception; the mistaking of something for what is not.

      imaging: tests or evaluation procedures that produce pictures of areas inside the body.

      immobilization: preventing movement to allow for natural healing to take place.

      immune system: a collection of cells, proteins, antibodies, and organs that work together to protect the body from potentially harmful, infectious microorganisms, such as bacteria, viruses, and fungi.

      immunization: a process by which protection to an infectious disease is administered.

      immunocompromised: an abnormal condition in which one's ability to fight infection is decreased. This can be due to a disease process, certain medications, or a condition present at birth.

      immunoglobulin E (IgE): a type of antibody, formed to protect the body from infection, which attaches to mast cells in the respiratory and intestinal tracts and may cause allergic rhinitis, asthma, or eczema.

      immunoglobulins: antibodies or proteins found in blood and tissue fluids produced by cells of the immune system to bind to substances in the body that are recognized as foreign antigens. Immunoglobulins sometimes bind to antigens that are not necessarily a threat to health and provoke an allergic reaction.

      immunology: the study of the body's immune system and its functions and disorders.

      immunosuppresive medications: medications that suppress the body's immune system; used to minimize rejection of transplanted organs.

      immunotherapy: treatment of allergy to substances such as pollens, house dust mites, fungi, and stinging insect venom involving giving gradually increasing doses of the substance, or allergen, to which the person is allergic.

      impaction: trapping of an object in a body passage, such as stones in the bile duct or stool in the colon.

      impaired glucose tolerance (IGT): a condition in which blood sugar levels are higher than normal, but are not high enough to be classified as diabetes; a risk factor for type 2 diabetes.

      impairment: loss of normal function of part of the body due to disease or injury, such as paralysis of the leg.

      impedance plethysmography: a test to evaluate blood flow through the leg.

      impetigo: a bacterial skin infection characterized by microscopic, pus-filled blisters.

      impotence (also called erectile dysfunction): the inability to achieve an erection, and/or dissatisfaction with the size, rigidity, and/or duration of erections.

      in vitro fertilization: treatment for infertility in which a woman's egg is fertilized outside her body with her partner's sperm or sperm from a donor.

      incidence: statistic that equals the number of new cases of a particular disease that occur in a population during a defined period of time, usually one year.

      incontinence, urinary: uncontrollable, involuntary leaking of urine.

      indigestion (also called dyspepsia): poor digestion; symptoms include heartburn, nausea, bloating, and gas.

      infection: the invasion of the body by microorganisms that cause disease.

      infectious arthritis: an infection in the joint fluid and tissues.

      inferior vena cava: the large blood vessel (vein) that returns blood from the legs and abdomen to the heart.

      infertility: not being able to produce a child.

      inflammation: the response of the tissues of the body to irritation or injury. The signs of inflammation are redness, heat, swelling, and pain.

      inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD): diseases that cause irritation and ulcers in the intestinal tract. Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis are the most common inflammatory bowel diseases.

      influenza (also called the flu): a viral respiratory tract infection. The influenza viruses are divided into three types: A, B, and C.

      informed consent: a legal document that explains a course of treatment, the risks, benefits, and possible alternatives; the process by which patients agree to treatment.

      infusion therapy (also called intravenous therapy): the introduction of fluid other than blood into a vein.

      inguinal hernia: part of the small intestine that pushes through an opening in the abdominal muscle, causing a bulge underneath the skin in the groin area.

      inner ear: part of the ear that contains both the organ of hearing (cochlea) and the organ of balance (labyrinth).

      inotropic medications: medications that increase strength of the contractions in the heart.

      inpatient surgery: surgery which requires the patient to be admitted and stay in the hospital.

      insomnia: inability to sleep or to remain asleep throughout the night.

      inspiration: inhaling; taking in oxygen.

      insulin: hormone produced by the pancreas, which helps glucose leave the blood and enter the muscles and other tissues of the body.

      insulin-dependent diabetes (also called type 1 diabetes): a condition in which the pancreas makes so little insulin that the body cannot use blood glucose as energy, which must be controlled with daily insulin injections.

      insulin-resistance: partial blocking of the effect of insulin.

      intercostal muscles: muscles lying between ribs; often injured by muscle strain.

      interferon: a biological response modifier that stimulates the growth of certain disease-fighting blood cells in the immune system.

      interleukin-2: a biological response modifier that stimulates the growth of certain blood cells in the immune system that can fight cancer.

      internal derangement of the joint: a dislocated jaw or displaced disc, or injury to the condyle (the rounded edges of the jaw).

      interstitial cystitis: a complex, chronic disorder characterized by an inflamed or irritated bladder wall.

      interventional radiology: an area of specialty within the field of radiology which uses various radiological techniques (such as x-ray, computed tomography (CT) scans, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans, and ultrasounds) to place wires, tubes, or other instruments inside a patient to diagnose or treat an array of conditions.

      intervertebral disc: disc that forms a cartilaginous joint between the vertebrae to provide shock absorption.

      intestinal flora: bacteria, yeasts, and fungi that grow normally in the intestines.

      intestinal mucosa: surface lining of the intestines where the cells absorb nutrients.

      intolerance: allergy or sensitivity to a food, drug, or other substance.

      intracranial pressure (ICP): pressure inside the skull.

      intraductal papilloma: a small, wart-like growth that projects into the breast ducts near the nipple, which may cause a bloody or sticky discharge.

      intrauterine insemination: treatment for infertility in which semen is introduced into the uterus via a slim tube inserted through the vagina.

      intravascular echocardiography: echocardiography used in cardiac catheterization.

      intravascular ultrasound: the use of ultrasound inside a blood vessel to visualize the interior of the vessel in order to detect problems.

      intravenous: introducing a fluid into the bloodstream through a vein (usually in the patient's forearm).

      intravenous line: a thin, plastic tube inserted into a vein (usually in the patient's forearm) through which a volume of fluid is injected into the bloodstream.

      intravenous pyelogram (IVP): a series of x-rays of the kidney, ureters, and bladder with the injection of a contrast dye into the vein; to detect tumors, abnormalities, kidney stones, or any obstructions, and to assess renal blood flow.

      intrinsic asthma: asthma that has no apparent external cause.

      invasive cancer: cancer that begins in one area and then spreads deeper into the tissues of that area.

      investigational new drug: a drug allowed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to be used in clinical trials, but not approved for sale to the general public.

      iris: the colored part of the eye; partly responsible for regulating the amount of light permitted to enter the eye.

      iron-deficiency anemia: the most common type of anemia; characterized by a lack of iron in the blood, which is necessary to make hemoglobin.

      ischemia: lack of oxygen.

      ischemic colitis: decreased blood flow to the colon, which causes fever, pain, and bloody diarrhea.

      ischemic heart disease: coronary artery disease or coronary heart disease caused by narrowing of the coronary arteries and decreased blood flow to the heart.

      islets of Langerhans: pancreatic cells that produce insulin and glucagon; important regulators of sugar metabolism.

      isometric: muscle contraction without movement at the joint.

      isthmus: tissue that connects the lobes of the thyroid.

      jaundice: a yellow discoloration of the skin and whites of the eyes due to abnormally high levels of bilirubin (bile pigmentation) in the bloodstream.

      jejunostomy: operation to create an opening in the jejunum to a hole (stoma) in the abdomen, to allow for enteral nutrition.

      jejunum: middle section of the small intestine between the duodenum and ileum.

      joint: where the ends of two or more bones meet.

      joint locking: extremely painful condition usually caused by entrapment of a loose body within the joint.

      Jordan frame: Specialized stretcher developed for transport of suspected spinal injured patients.

      jugular veins: veins that carry blood from the head back to the heart.

      jumper's knee (also called patellar tendonitis): a condition characterized by inflammation of the tendons in the knee area that causes local pain and tenderness.

      juvenile rheumatoid arthritis (JRA): a form of arthritis in children ages 16 or younger that causes inflammation and stiffness of joints for more than six weeks. Unlike adult rheumatoid arthritis, which is chronic and lasts a lifetime, children often outgrow juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. However, the disease can affect bone development in the growing child.

      Kegel exercises: Repeatedly tightening and releasing the pelvic muscle, in order to prevent urine leakage.

      keloids: smooth, pink, raised, firm, fibrous growths on the skin that form secondary to injury.

      keratinocytes (also called squamous cells): the primary cell types found in the epidermis, the outer layer of skin.

      keratitis: inflammation of the cornea.

      keratoacanthomas: round, flesh-colored growths with craters that contain a pasty material.

      keratosis pilaris: a common skin condition characterized by small, pointed bumps, especially on the back and sides of the upper arms.

      ketoacidosis: high blood glucose, often caused by illness or taking too little insulin.

      ketone: break down product of fat that accumulates in the blood as a result of inadequate insulin or inadequate calorie intake.

      kidney stone: a solid piece of material that forms from crystallization of excreted substances in the urine.

      kidney transplantation: a procedure that places a healthy kidney from one person into a recipient's body.

      kidneys: a pair of bean-shaped organs located below the ribs toward the middle of the back.

      knee reconstruction: surgical restoration of the knee.

      kyphosis: a forward curvature of the back bones (vertebrae) in the upper back area, giving a “humpback” appearance.

      labia: the folds of skin at the opening of the vagina (and other organs).

      labyrinth: organ of balance located in the inner ear. The labyrinth consists of three semicircular canals and the vestibule.

      labyrinthine hydrops: excessive fluid in the organ of balance (labyrinth) that can cause pressure or fullness in the ears, hearing loss, dizziness, and loss of balance.

      labyrinthitis: viral or bacterial infection or inflammation of the inner ear that can cause dizziness, loss of balance, and temporary hearing loss.

      lactase: an enzyme in the small intestine needed to digest lactose, a sugar found in milk and milk products.

      lactase deficiency: lack of an enzyme made by the small intestine called lactase, which prevents the body from digesting lactose (a sugar found in milk and milk products) properly.

      lactose: sugar found in milk and milk products, which the body breaks down into galactose and glucose.

      lactose intolerance: inability to digest lactose, the sugar in milk, because the body does not produce the lactase enzyme.

      lactose tolerance test: a test that determines the body's ability to digest lactose (a sugar found in milk and milk products).

      laminectomy: surgical procedure which includes removal of a portion of the lamina to provide more room in the vertebral canal; usually for disc herniation or spinal canal stenosis.

      Landau-Kleffner syndrome: A childhood disorder of unknown origin that can be identified by gradual or sudden loss of the ability to understand and use spoken language.

      language: system for communicating ideas and feelings using sounds, gestures, signs, or marks.

      language disorders: problems with verbal communication and the ability to use or understand the symbol system for interpersonal communication.

      lanugo: fine, downy hair that covers the fetus until shortly before or after birth.

      laparoscope: a long, thin tube with a camera lens attached that allows the physician to examine the organs inside the abdominal cavity: to check for abnormalities, and to operate through small incisions.

      laparoscopic cholecystectomy: an operation to remove the gallbladder. The physician inserts a laparoscope, and other surgical instruments, through small holes in the abdomen. The camera allows the physician to see the gallbladder on a television screen. The physician removes the gallbladder through the holes.

      laparoscopic lymph node sampling: lymph nodes are removed through a viewing tube called a laparoscope, which is inserted through a small incision in the abdomen.

      laparoscopic lymphadenectomy: the removal of pelvic lymph nodes with a laparoscope performed through small incisions in the lower abdominal region.

      laparoscopy: use of a viewing tube with a lens or camera (and a light on the end), which is inserted through a small incision in the abdomen to examine the contents of the abdomen and remove tissue samples.

      laparotomy: a surgical procedure that involves an incision from the upper to lower abdomen; often used when making a diagnosis by less invasive tests is difficult.

      large intestine: part of the intestine that goes from the cecum to the rectum.

      laryngeal neoplasms: abnormal growths in the larynx (voice box) that can be cancerous or non-cancerous.

      laryngeal nodules: non-cancerous, callous-like growths on the inner parts of the vocal folds (vocal cords).

      laryngeal paralysis: loss of function or feeling of one or both of the vocal folds.

      laryngectomy: surgery to remove part or all of the larynx (voice box).

      laryngitis: hoarse voice or the complete loss of the voice because of irritation to the vocal folds (vocal cords).

      laryngoscopy: inspecting the larynx (voice box) with a mirror or viewing tube.

      larynx: valve structure between the trachea (windpipe) and the pharynx (the upper throat) that is the primary organ of voice production.

      laser resurfacing: uses high-energy light to burn away damaged skin. Laser resurfacing may be used to minimize wrinkles and fine scars.

      laser surgery: using a device which emits a beam of light radiation, surgeons can cauterize a wound, repair damaged tissue, or cut through tissue.

      lateral collateral ligament (LCL): the ligament that gives stability to the outer knee.

      lateral epicondylitis (also known as tennis elbow): pain is caused by damage to the tendons that bend the wrist backward away from the palm.

      lavage: cleaning of the stomach and colon using a special drink and enemas.

      laxatives medications to relieve constipation.

      lead poisoning: an abnormal condition often caused by breathing or swallowing substances that contain lead.

      learning disability (LD): a disorder that affects peo-ple's ability to either interpret what they see and hear, or to link information from different parts of the brain. These limitations are characterized by difficulty in reading, writing, and arithmetic.

      lens (also called crystalline lens): the transparent structure inside the eye that focuses light rays onto the retina.

      lesion: a destructive change in body tissue, such as a wound, injury, or inflammation.

      leukapheresis: a procedure to remove excess lymphocytes from the body.

      leukemia: a cancer of the blood-forming tissue. Leukemic cells look different than normal cells and do not function properly.

      leukoplakia: a whitish patch of mucous membrane inside the mouth; one cause of oral cancer.

      leukorrhea: whitish vaginal discharge during pregnancy.

      Levator syndrome: A feeling of fullness in the anus and rectum with occasional pain, caused by muscle spasms.

      levodopa (L-dopa): the single most effective anti-Par-kinson drug; it is changed into dopamine in the brain.

      Lewy body: A pink-staining sphere, found in the bodies of dying cells, that is considered to be a marker for Parkinson's disease.

      lice: tiny parasites that can infest the skin; characterized by intense itching.

      lichenification: skin that has thickened.

      ligament: a white, shiny, flexible band of fibrous tissue that binds joints together and connects various bones and cartilage.

      lipid: a fatty substance in the blood.

      lipomas: round or oval lumps under the skin caused by fatty deposits.

      lipoproteins: transporters of fatty substances in the blood.

      liposuction: type of cosmetic surgery in which localized areas of fat are removed from beneath the skin using a suction-pump device inserted in an incision.

      lithotripsy, extracorporeal shock wave (ESWL): method of breaking up bile stones and gallstones with a specialized tool and shock waves.

      liver: largest organ in the body, which carries out many important functions, such as making bile, changing food into energy, and cleaning alcohol and poisons from the blood.

      liver enzyme tests (also called liver function tests): blood tests to determine how well the liver and biliary system are working.

      living will: a legal document which states your medical preferences for treatment and resuscitation in the event a person can no longer speak for himself/her-self.

      LMP: last menstrual period.

      lobe: a roundish projection of any structure. In the breast, lobes of the mammary glands radiate from the central area to the nipple area like wheel spokes.

      lobectomy: removal of an entire lobe of the lung.

      lobule: a subdivision of a lobe in the breast.

      local anesthesia: anesthetic medicine injected into the site of the operation to temporarily numb that area.

      locally invasive: a tumor which can invade the tissues surrounding it by sending out “fingers” of cancerous cells into normal tissue.

      locking clip: a special device used when the vehicle's lap/shoulder belts do not lock. A locking clip will help secure a child safety seat tightly into a vehicle.

      loop electrosurgical excision procedure (LEEP): a procedure which uses an electric wire loop and low-energy current to remove abnormal tissue.

      loose body: name given to an object, located within a joint, that has become detached.

      lordosis (also called sway-back): an exaggeration of the forward curve of the lower part of the back.

      low blood glucose: a condition that occurs in people with diabetes when their blood glucose levels are too low.

      low-density lipoprotein (LDL): a blood substance containing large amounts of cholesterol.

      lower back (also called lumbar spine): a complex structure that connects the upper body to the lower body; consists of vertebrae, disks, spinal cord, and nerves.

      lower esophageal sphincter: muscle between the esophagus and stomach.

      lower GI (gastrointestinal) series (also called barium enema): a procedure that examines the rectum, the large intestine, and the lower part of the small intestine. A fluid called barium (a metallic, chemical, chalky, liquid used to coat the inside of organs so that they will show up on an x-ray) is given into the rectum as an enema. An x-ray of the abdomen shows strictures (narrowed areas), obstructions (blockages), and other problems.

      lumbar puncture (also called spinal tap): a special needle is placed into the lower back, into the spinal canal. This is the area around the spinal cord. The pressure in the spinal canal and brain can then be measured. A small amount of cerebral spinal fluid (CSF)can be removed and sent for testing to determine if there is an infection or other problems. CSF is the fluid that bathes the brain and spinal cord.

      lumpectomy: a surgical procedure to remove a tumor and surrounding tissue.

      lung volume: the amount of air the lungs hold.

      luteinizing hormone (LH): hormone secreted by the pituitary gland in the brain that stimulates the growth and maturation of eggs in females and sperm in males.

      Lyme disease (LD): A multi-stage, multi-system bacterial infection caused by the spirochete Borrelia burgdorferi, a spiral-shaped bacterium that is most commonly transmitted by a tick bite.

      lymph: part of the lymphatic system; a thin, clear fluid that circulates through the lymphatic vessels and carries blood cells that fight infection and disease.

      lymph node biopsy: a procedure performed to remove tissue or cells from the body for examination under a microscope.

      lymph nodes (also called lymph glands): small organs located in the channels of the lymphatic system which store special cells to trap bacteria or cancer cells traveling through the body in lymph. Clusters of lymph nodes are found in the underarms, groin, neck, chest, and abdomen.

      lymph vessels: part of the lymphatic system; thin tubes that carry lymph fluid throughout the body.

      lymphadenectomy: a procedure in which lymph nodes are taken from the body for purposes of diagnosing or staging cancer.

      lymphangiogram: an x-ray that uses a special dye to determine whether cancer has spread to the lymph nodes.

      lymphangioma: a raised, yellow-tan or red mark in the skin, made up of enlarged lymphatic vessels.

      lymphatic system: a complex network of capillaries, thin vessels, valves, ducts, nodes, and organs that helps to protect and maintain the fluid environment of the body by filtering and draining lymph and by producing blood cells.

      lymphedema: a disorder in which lymph accumulates in the soft tissues, resulting in swelling. Lymphedema may be caused by inflammation, obstruction, or removal of the lymph nodes during surgery.

      lymphocytes: part of the lymphatic system; white blood cells that fight infection and disease.

      lymphocytic leukemia: a type of leukemia in which the cancer develops in the lymphocytes (lymphoid cells).

      macrodactyly: a congenital problem in which there is an abnormal growth of a finger.

      macrosomia: a condition in which a baby is considerably larger than normal.

      macula: the portion of the eye that allows us to see fine details clearly.

      macular degeneration: degeneration in the macular region of the retina that results in decreased central vision and, sometimes, blindness.

      macular stains (also called angel's kisses or stork bites): faint, red marks that appear on the skin at birth. Angel's kisses are marks on the forehead and eyelids. Stork bites are marks on the back of the neck.

      macule: the smaller version of a patch; a flat, discolored spot.

      mad cow disease: scientifically known as bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE), this disease in cattle is related to a disease in humans called new variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (nvCJD). Both disorders are fatal brain diseases caused by an unconventional transmissible agent.

      magnetic resonance imaging (MRI): a diagnostic procedure that uses a combination of large magnets, radiofrequencies, and a computer to produce detailed images of organs and structures within the body.

      major depression (also known as clinical depression or unipolar depression): classified as a type of affective disorder or mood disorder that goes beyond the day's ordinary ups and downs, becoming a serious medical condition and important health concern in the US.

      malabsorption syndromes: conditions that may result when the small intestine cannot absorb nutrients from foods.

      malaria: a disease caused by a parasite that is transmitted person-to-person by the bite of an infected Anopheles mosquito. These mosquitoes are present in the tropics and subtropics in almost all countries. Malaria is the most deadly of all tropical parasitic diseases.

      malignant: cancerous cells are present.

      malignant melanoma: a rare, but sometimes deadly, skin cancer that begins as a mole that turns cancerous.

      malignant tumor: a mass of cancer cells that may invade surrounding tissues or spread to distant areas of the body.

      malnutrition: condition caused by not eating enough food or not eating a balanced diet.

      malocclusion: an orthodontic problem that means “bad bite,” including crowded, missing, or crooked teeth, extra teeth, or a misaligned jaw.

      mammogram: x-ray of the breast tissue.

      mania: a mood disorder which may be characterized by extreme elation, impulsivity, irritability, rapid speech, nervousness, distractibility, and/or poor judgment.

      manic depression (also known as bipolar disorder): classified as a type of affective disorder or mood disorder that goes beyond the day's ordinary ups and downs. Manic depression is characterized by periodic episodes of extreme elation, elevated mood, or irritability (also called mania) countered by periodic, classic depressive symptoms.

      manometry: tests that measure muscle pressure and movements in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract.

      Mantoux test: A skin test used to identify most people with M. tuberculosis within six to eight weeks after initial exposure.

      manual therapy: passive movement techniques.

      massage: mechanical form of therapy in which the soft tissues are made more pliable, promoting increased blood flow and healing.

      mast cells: cells, which synthesize and store histamines, found in most body tissues, particularly just below the epithelial surfaces, serous cavities, and around blood vessels. In an allergic response, an allergen stimulates the release of antibodies, which attach themselves to mast cells.

      mastalgia: pain in the breast that is generally classified as either cyclical (associated with menstrual periods) or non-cyclical.

      mastectomy: surgical removal of all or part of the breast.

      mastitis: an inflammation of the breast tissue.

      mastoid: back portion of the temporal bone behind the ear.

      mastoid surgery: surgical procedure to remove infection from the mastoid bone.

      maxillofacial: pertaining to the jaws and face.

      meal plan: a guide to help people include the proper amount of calories, carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins, minerals, and fiber in their diet.

      mean blood pressure: average blood pressure, taking account of the rise and fall that occurs with each heartbeat. It is often estimated by multiplying the diastolic pressure by two, adding the systolic pressure, and then dividing this sum by three.

      measles: a very contagious viral illness characterized by a distinct rash and a fever; spread through airborne droplets of nasal secretions.

      Meckel's diverticulum: Birth defect in which a small sac forms in the ileum (lower end of the small intestine).

      meconium: a sticky, greenish-black substance that forms in the intestines during fetal development and is the first bowel movement of a newborn.

      medial collateral ligament (MCL): the ligament that gives stability to the inner knee.

      medial epicondylitis (also known as golfer's elbow, baseball elbow, suitcase elbow, or forehand tennis elbow): pain caused by damage to the tendons that bend the wrist toward the palm.

      median nerve: large nerve, comprising segments from the cervical spine, that is involved in nerve function of the upper limb; commonly compressed in the carpal tunnel of the wrist.

      Medicaid: Federally- and state-funded healthcare program for low-income individuals.

      Medicare: Federally-funded healthcare program for individuals over age 65.

      megacolon: huge, swollen colon; results from severe constipation.

      megaloblastic (pernicious) anemia: a rare blood disorder in which the body does not absorb enough vitamin B12 from the digestive tract, resulting in an inadequate amount of red blood cells produced.

      Meige syndrome: A movement disorder that can involve excessive eye blinking (blepharospasm) with involuntary movements of the jaw muscles, lips, and tongue (oromandibular dystonia).

      melanin (also called pigment): a substance that gives the skin its color.

      melanocytes: cells present in the epidermis that produce melanin (skin pigment).

      melanoma: the most serious, life-threatening form of skin cancer.

      melasma: dark, brown, symmetrical patches of pigment on the face.

      menarche: a young woman's first menstrual period.

      Ménétrier's disease (also called giant hypertrophic gastritis): Long-term disorder that causes large, coiled folds in the stomach.

      Ménière's disease: An inner ear disorder that can affect both hearing and balance; can cause vertigo, tinnitus, and the sensation of fullness in the ear.

      meningitis: inflammation of the meninges, the membranes that envelop the brain and the spinal cord.

      menisci: two crescent-shaped discs of connective tissue between the bones of the knees that act as shock absorbers to cushion the lower part of the leg from the weight of the rest of the body.

      menopause: end of menstruation; commonly used to refer to the period ending the female reproductive phase of life.

      menorrhagia (also called dysfunctional uterine bleeding): the most common type of abnormal uterine bleeding characterized by heavy and prolonged menstrual bleeding. In some cases, bleeding may be so severe and relentless that daily activities become interrupted.

      menses: menstrual flow.

      menstruation: a cyclical process of the endometrium shedding its lining, along with discharge from the cervix and vagina, from the vaginal opening. This process results from the mature egg cell (ovum) not being fertilized by a sperm cell as it travels from one of the ovaries down a fallopian tube to the uterus, in the process called ovulation.

      mercury poisoning: an abnormal condition caused by breathing or swallowing a mercury substance.

      metabolism: the chemical activity that occurs in cells, releasing energy from nutrients or using energy to create other substances, such as proteins.

      metaplasia: the phenomenon by which one type of tissue is replaced by another type.

      metastasis: the spread of cancer cells to distant areas of the body by way of the lymph system or blood stream.

      metastasize: when cancer cells spread to other parts of the body.

      methyl-tert-butyl ether: a solution injected into the gallbladder to dissolve gallstones.

      metrorrhagia: any irregular, acyclic, non-menstrual bleeding from the uterus; bleeding between menstrual periods.

      micrographia: a change in handwriting with the script becoming smaller and more cramped.

      microsurgical fertilization: a procedure used to facilitate sperm penetration into the oocyte, and fertilization takes place under the microscope.

      middle ear: part of the ear that includes the eardrum and three tiny bones of the middle ear, ending at the round window that leads to the inner ear.

      milia: tiny, white, hard spots that look like pimples on a newborn's nose.

      minimally invasive surgery: any technique involved in surgery that does not require a large incision.

      miosis: constriction of the pupil.

      misarticulation: inaccurately produced speech sound (phoneme) or sounds.

      miscarriage: spontaneous termination of a pregnancy before the fetus has developed enough to survive outside the uterus.

      mitral valve: the valve that controls blood flow between the left atrium and left ventricle in the heart.

      mitral valve prolapse: a bulge in the valve between the left atrium and left ventricle of the heart that causes backward flow of blood into the atrium.

      mobility: movement.

      modified radical mastectomy: the removal of the entire breast (including the nipple, areola, and overlying skin), some of the lymph nodes under the arm (also called the axillary lymph glands), and the lining over the chest muscles. In some cases, part of the chest wall muscles is also removed.

      mold: a microscopic fungus that grows and lives on plant or animal matter or on non-organic objects. Most molds are made up of filaments and reproduce through the production of spores, which spread by air, water, or insects.

      moles: small skin marks caused by pigment-produc-ing cells in the skin.

      Mongolian spots: Bluish-black marks on the lower back and buttocks; affects mainly African-American or Asian children.

      monoclonal antibodies: substances that can locate and bind to cancer cells wherever they are in the body.

      monounsaturated fats: dietary fats, such as olive oil or canola oil, that do not seem to have any affect on blood cholesterol.

      morning-after pills: hormonal medications to prevent pregnancy taken within 72 hours of having unprotected intercourse.

      Moro reflex: Movement of arms and legs that occurs when a newborn is startled by a loud sound or movement.

      Morton's neuroma: A pinched nerve that usually causes pain between the third and fourth toes.

      motility: movement of food through the digestive tract.

      motion sickness: dizziness, sweating, nausea, vomiting, and generalized discomfort experienced when an individual is in motion.

      motor speech disorders: group of disorders caused by the inability to accurately produce speech sounds.

      moulding: elongation of the shape of a baby's head due to delivery through the birth canal.

      moxibustion: the burning of herbal leaves on or near the body.

      mucosal lining: lining of gastrointestinal (GI) tract organs that makes mucus.

      mucosal protective drugs: medications that protect the stomach lining from acid.

      mucus: a thick, jelly-like substance made by the intestines and other organs of the body (such as the nose), that helps coat and protect the lining of the organ. Mucus also helps stool pass through the large intestine and rectum more easily.

      multifidus: deep lumbar spine muscle that stabilizes the lumbar spine.

      multiple chemical sensitivity: a diagnostic label for people who suffer multi-system illnesses as a result of contact with, or proximity to, a variety of airborne agents and other substances.

      multiple sclerosis (MS): an unpredictable disease of the central nervous system that can be relatively benign, disabling, or devastating, leaving the patient unable to speak, walk, or write.

      multiple semen analysis: at least two semen examples are collected on separate days to examine the semen and sperm for various factors, such as semen volume, consistency, and pH, and the sperm count, motility, and morphology (shape).

      mumps: an acute and highly contagious viral disease that usually occurs in childhood. Spread by airborne droplets from the upper respiratory tract, the disease usually takes two to three weeks to appear.

      murmur: a blowing or rasping sound heard while listening to the heart that may or may not indicate problems within the heart or circulatory system.

      muscular dystrophy (MD): a broad term that describes a genetic (inherited) disorder of the muscles. MD causes the muscles in the body to become very weak. The muscles break down and are replaced with fatty deposits over time. The most common form of MD is called Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD).

      musculoskeletal system: the complex system involving the body's muscles and skeleton, and including the joints, ligaments, tendons, and nerves.

      mycoplasma: very common sexually transmitted disease or urinary tract infection caused by a bacteria-like organism in the urethra and reproductive system.

      mycosis fungoides: cutaneous T-cell lymphoma skin tumors.

      mydriasis: dilation of the pupil.

      myelogenous leukemia: a type of leukemia in which the cancer develops in the granulocytes or monocytes (myeloid cells).

      myelogram: involves the injection of a dye or contrast material into the spinal canal; a specific x-ray study that also allows careful evaluation of the spinal canal and nerve roots.

      myeloproliferative disorders: diseases in which the bone marrow produces too many of one of the three types of blood cells: red blood cells, which carry oxygen to all the tissues in the body; white blood cells, which fight infection; and platelets, which control bleeding.

      myocardial infarction (also called heart attack): occurs when one of more regions of the heart muscle experience a severe or prolonged decrease in oxygen supply caused by a blocked blood flow to the heart muscle.

      myocardial ischemia: insufficient blood flow to part of the heart.

      myocardium: the muscle wall of the heart.

      myoclonus: jerking, involuntary movements of the arms and legs; may occur normally during sleep.

      myofascial pain: the most common form of temporomandibular disorder; discomfort or pain in the muscles that control jaw function and the neck and shoulder muscles.

      myomectomy: surgical procedure done to remove fibroids from the uterus while leaving the uterus intact.

      myopia: nearsightedness.

      myringotomy: a surgical opening of the eardrum to release pressure on the middle ear.

      narcissistic personality disorder:persons with this disorder present severely overly-inflated feelings of self-worth, grandiosity, and superiority over others. Persons with narcissistic personality disorder often exploit others who fail to admire them, and are overly sensitive to criticism, judgment, and defeat.

      nasal: relating to the nose.

      National Cancer Institute: The U.S. Government agency for cancer research and information.

      nausea: a feeling or sensation leading to the urge to vomit.

      near point of accommodation: the closest point in front of the eyes that an object may be clearly focused.

      near point of convergence: the maximum extent the two eyes can be turned inward.

      necrosis: pertaining to the death of tissue.

      needle aspiration (of the breast): a procedure that uses a thin needle and syringe to collect tissue or drain a lump after using a local anesthetic.

      needle biopsy: use of a needle to extract tissue, cells, or fluid for microscopic examination.

      neoadjuvant therapy: treatment such as chemotherapy, radiation therapy, or hormone therapy which is given before the primary treatment.

      neoplasm: any abnormal growth of new tissue; a proliferation of cells no longer under normal physiologic control. These may be benign (non-cancerous) or malignant (cancerous).

      nephrectomy: surgical removal of the kidney.

      nephritis: inflammation of the kidneys.

      nephrology: the medical specialty concerned with diseases of the kidneys.

      nephropathy: diabetic kidney disease.

      nephrotic syndrome: a condition characterized by high levels of protein in the urine, low levels of protein in the blood, tissue swelling, and high cholesterol.

      nerve conduction tests: procedure to determine nerve impulse generation.

      nerve sparing technique: a surgical technique during a radial prostatectomy in which one or both of the neurovascular bundles controlling erections are spared.

      neural plasticity: ability of the brain and/or certain parts of the nervous system to change in order to adapt to new conditions, such as an injury.

      neural prostheses: devices that substitute for an injured or diseased part of the nervous system to enhance the function.

      neural stimulation: to activate or energize a nerve through an external source.

      neural tube defect: type of birth defect, such as spina bifida, that results from failure of the spinal cord or brain to develop normally in a fetus.

      neuralgia: pain in distribution of nerve or nerves.

      neuritis: inflammation of a nerve or nerves.

      neurofibromatosis: a group of inherited disorders in which non-cancerous tumors grow along several nerves; can affect the development of other tissues, including bones and skin, possibly leading to developmental abnormalities.

      neurogenic: of nerve origin.

      neurogenic bladder (also called neuropathic bladder): a bladder disorder that can be caused by a tumor or other condition of the nervous system.

      neurogenic communication disorder: inability to exchange information with others because of hearing, speech, and/or language problems caused by impairment of the nervous system.

      neurological: pertaining to the nervous system.

      neuron: a cell specialized to conduct and generate electrical impulses and to carry information from one part of the brain to another.

      neuropathology: the pathology of the nervous system.

      neuropathy: diabetic nerve damage.

      neurosonography: a procedure that uses ultra high-frequency sound waves that enable the physician to analyze blood flow in cases of possible stroke.

      neurotransmitters: chemical substances that carry impulses from one nerve cell to another; found in the space (synapse) that separates the transmitting neuron's terminal (axon) from the receiving neuron's terminal (dendrite).

      nigral: of or referring to the substantia nigra.

      nitroglycerin: a medication used to relax or dilate arteries.

      nodule (also called papule): a solid, raised bump.

      noise-induced hearing loss: hearing loss that is caused either by a one-time or repeated exposure to very loud sound or sounds at various loudness levels over an extended period of time.

      non-Hodgkin's lymphoma: a type of lymphoma, a cancer in the lymphatic system; causes the cells in the lymphatic system to abnormally reproduce, eventually causing tumors to grow. Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma cells can also spread to other organs.

      noninvasive procedures: a diagnostic effort or treatment that does not require entering the body or puncturing the skin.

      nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs): medication that produces fever reducing, analgesic (pain relieving), and anti-inflammatory effects.

      nonsyndromic hereditary hearing impairment: hearing loss or deafness that is inherited and is not associated with other inherited clinical characteristics.

      nonulcer dyspepsia: constant pain or discomfort in the upper gastrointestinal (GI) tract.

      norepinephrine: a neurotransmitter found mainly in areas of the brain that are involved in governing autonomic nervous system activity, especially blood pressure and heart rate.

      nuclear medicine: a specialized area of radiology that uses very small amounts of radioactive substances to examine organ function and structure.

      Nutcracker syndrome: Abnormal muscle tightening in the esophagus.

      nutrients: proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, and minerals provided by food and necessary for growth and the maintenance of life.

      obesity: overweight by 30 percent of the ideal body weight.

      obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD): an anxiety disorder in which a person has an unreasonable thought, fear, or worry that he/she tries to manage through a ritualized activity to reduce the anxiety. Frequently occurring disturbing thoughts or images are called obsessions, and the rituals performed to try to prevent or dispel them are called compulsions.

      obstetrician/gynecologist (OB/GYN): physician who specializes in general women's medical care, diagnosis and treatment of disorders of the female reproductive system, and care of pregnant women.

      obstruction: blockage in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract that prevents the flow of liquids or solids.

      occluded artery: an artery that is narrowed by plaque that impedes blood flow.

      occult: disease or symptoms that are not readily detectable by physical examination or laboratory tests.

      occult bleeding: blood in stool that is not visible to the naked eye.

      ocular hypertension: high (greater than 21 mm Hg) intraocular pressure.

      odorant: substance that stimulates the sense of smell.

      olfaction: the act of smelling.

      olfactometer: device for estimating the intensity of the sense of smell.

      oligomenorrhea: infrequent or light menstrual cycles.

      oncogenes: genes that promote normal cell division.

      “-oma”: a suffix meaning “tumor” or “lump.”

      oncologist: a physician who specializes in treating cancer, including surgical oncologist, radiation oncologist, pediatric oncologist, gynecologic oncologist, and medical oncologist.

      on-off effect, on-off phenomena: a change in the patient's condition, with sometimes rapid fluctuations between uncontrolled movements and normal movement, usually occurring after long-term use of levodopa and probably caused by changes in the ability to respond to this drug.

      oophorectomy: removal of one or both ovaries.

      oophoritis: inflammation of the ovary.

      open heart surgery: surgery that involves opening the chest and heart while a heart-lung machine performs for the heart.

      open surgery: cutting the skin and tissues during surgery to expose a full view of the structures and organs involved in the procedure.

      open-set speech recognition: understanding speech without visual clues.

      ophthalmoscopy: examination of the internal structure of the eye.

      optic nerve: a bundle of more than one million nerve fibers that connects the retina with the brain. The optic nerve is responsible for interpreting the impulses it receives into images.

      optional surgery (also called elective surgery): an operation the patient chooses to have done, which may not be essential to continuation or quality of life.

      oral and maxillofacial surgeon: orthopaedic facial surgeon who is responsible for treating a wide variety of dental problems, including the removal of impacted teeth and reconstructive facial surgery.

      oral cancer: a cancer found in the oral cavity (mouth), on the lip, and the oropharynx (the part of the throat at the back of the mouth).

      oral dissolution therapy: method of dissolving cholesterol gallstones.

      orchiectomy (also called castration): the surgical removal of the testicles.

      orchitis: inflammation of the testicle.

      oropharynx: the part of the throat at the back of the mouth.

      orthodontics: the dental specialty that focuses on the development, prevention, and correction of irregularities of the teeth, bite, and jaws.

      orthokeratology: the use of contact lenses to change the shape of the cornea in order to correct refractive error.

      orthopaedic surgeon (also called an orthopaedist): a physician who diagnoses, treats, manages the rehabilitation process, and provides prevention protocols for patients who suffer from injury or disease in any of the components of the musculoskeletal system.

      orthopaedic surgery (also called orthopaedics): the medical specialty devoted to the diagnosis, treatment, rehabilitation, and prevention of injuries and diseases of the body's musculoskeletal system.

      orthosis: a brace or splint used to strengthen or stabilize part of the body, usually an arm or leg.

      orthostatic hypotension: a large decrease in blood pressure upon standing; may result in fainting.

      osteitis pubis: an inflammation of the pubic symphysis, the bone to which the two hip bones connect in front of the body.

      osteoarthritis: a condition caused by wear and tear that causes inflammation of the joint, causing swelling, pain, and stiffness.

      osteoblast: cell found in bone; its function is to form the tissue and minerals that give bone its strength.

      osteoclast: very large cell formed in bone marrow; its function is to absorb and remove unwanted tissue.

      osteocyte: cell found within the bone; its function is to help maintain bone as living tissue.

      osteophyte: outgrowth of bone.

      osteoporosis: disorder in which bones thin and become brittle and more prone to fracture; most common in women after menopause due to estrogen deficiency.

      ostomy: operation that makes an artificial opening in the abdomen to allow for the release of urine or feces. Colostomy and ileostomy are types of ostomy.

      otitis externa: inflammation of the outer part of the ear extending to the auditory canal.

      otitis media: inflammation of the middle ear caused by infection.

      otoacoustic emissions: low-intensity sounds produced by the inner ear that can be quickly measured with a sensitive microphone placed in the ear canal.

      otolaryngologist: physician/surgeon who specializes in diseases of the ears, nose, throat, head, and neck.

      otologist: physician/surgeon who specializes in diseases of the ear.

      otoplasty (also called ear surgery): a type of cosmetic plastic surgery procedure aimed at setting prominent ears closer to the head, or reducing the size of larger ears.

      otosclerosis: abnormal growth of bone in the inner ear, which prevents structures within the ear from working properly, resulting in a gradual loss of hearing.

      otoscope: a lighted instrument that allows the physician to see inside the ear.

      ototoxic drugs: drugs that can damage the hearing and balance organs located in the inner ear.

      outer ear: external portion of the ear, consisting of the pinna, or auricle, and the ear canal.

      outpatient surgery: surgery which allows the patient to go home the same day.

      ovaries: pair of small glands, located on either side of the uterus, in which egg cells develop and are stored and the female sex hormones estrogen and progesterone are produced.

      overflow incontinence: leakage of urine that occurs when the quantity of urine produced exceeds the blad-der's capacity to hold it.

      overuse conditions: injuries due to minor trauma involving soft-tissue injuries: injuries that affect the bone, muscles, ligaments, and/or tendons.

      ovulation: release of a mature egg from an ovary.

      ovum: a mature egg cell released during ovulation from an ovary.

      oxytocin: hormone produced by the pituitary gland that stimulates contractions of the uterus during labor and release of milk during breastfeeding.

      pacemaker: an electronic device that is surgically implanted into the patient's heart and chest to regulate heartbeat.

      pain: an unpleasant sensory or emotional experience primarily associated with tissue damage, or described in terms of tissue damage, or both.

      pain threshold: the least experience of pain that a person can recognize.

      pain tolerance level: the greatest level of pain that a person is prepared to tolerate.

      palliative treatment: therapy that relieves symptoms, such as pain, but does not alter the course of the disease. Its primary purpose is to improve the quality of life.

      pallidotomy: a surgical procedure in which a part of the brain, called the globus pallidus, is lesioned in order to improve symptoms of tremor, rigidity, and bradykinesia.

      palming: an imaging technique involving the visualization of color.

      palpation: examination by feeling part of the body.

      palpitation: sensation of rapid heartbeats.

      palsy: paralysis of a muscle or group of muscles.

      pancreas: long gland that lies behind the stomach, which manufactures insulin and digestive enzymes.

      pancreatitis: inflammation of the pancreas.

      panic disorder: characterized by chronic, repeated, and unexpected panic attacks: bouts of overwhelming fear of being in danger when there is no specific cause for the fear. In-between panic attacks, persons with panic disorder worry excessively about when and where the next attack may occur.

      Pap test (also called Pap smear): Test that involves microscopic examination of cells collected from the cervix; used to detect changes that may be cancer or may lead to cancer, and to show non-cancerous conditions, such as infection or inflammation.

      papillary stenosis: condition in which the openings of the bile ducts and pancreatic ducts narrow.

      paranoid personality disorder: persons with this disorder are often cold, distant, and unable to form close, interpersonal relationships. Often overly, yet unjustifiably, suspicious of their surroundings, persons with paranoid personality disorder generally cannot see their role in conflict situations and often project their feelings of paranoia as anger onto others.

      paraplegia: loss of movement and sensation in both legs.

      parenteral nutrition (also called hyperalimentation or total parenteral nutrition): a way to provide liquid food mixture through a special tube in the chest.

      parietal cells: cells in the stomach wall that make hydrochloric acid.

      parkinsonism: the name given to a group of disorders with similar features; four primary symptoms, including tremor, rigidity, postural instability, and bradykinesia, resulting from the loss of dopamine-producing brain cells.

      Parkinson's disease (PD): The most common form of parkinsonism; a slowly progressing, degenerative disease that is usually associated with the following symptoms, all of which result from the loss of dopa-mine-producing brain cells: tremor or trembling of the arms, jaw, legs, and face; stiffness or rigidity of the limbs and trunk; bradykinesia (slowness of movement); postural instability, and/or impaired balance and coordination.

      paronychia: a skin infection around a finger or toenail.

      parosmia: any disease or perversion of the sense of smell, especially the subjective perception of odors that do not exist.

      partial (segmental) mastectomy: surgery to remove the breast cancer and a larger portion of the normal breast tissue around the breast cancer. The surgeon may also remove the lining over the chest muscles below the tumor and some of the lymph nodes under the arm.

      partial abdominoplasty: a “mini tummy tuck.” This procedure is ideal for individuals who have fat deposits limited to the area below the navel.

      partial colectomy: the removal of part of the large intestine.

      partial nephrectomy: surgery to remove the kidney; only the part of the kidney that contains the tumor is removed.

      patellar tendonitis: inflammatory condition of the patellar ligament, usually due to overuse.

      pathologist: physician who identifies diseases bystudying cells and tissues under a microscope.

      pathology: the study of diseases.

      pauciarticular: a form of juvenile rheumatoid arthritis that affects four or less joints.

      peak flow meter (PFM): a device used to measure the air flowing out of the lungs, called peak expiratory flow rate (PEFR). During an asthma or other respiratory flare up, the large airways in the lungs slowly begin to narrow. This will slow the speed of air leaving the lungs and can be measured by a PFM. This measurement is very important in evaluating how well or how poorly the disease is being controlled.

      prick skin test: a test to determine if a patient is allergic to certain substances. A physician places a drop of the substance being tested on the patient's forearm or back and pricks the skin with a needle, allowing a tiny amount to enter the skin. If the patient is allergic to the substance, a wheal (mosquito bite-like bump) will form at the site within about 15 minutes.

      peak flow monitoring: a measure of lung function.

      pediatric dentist: a specialist in the field of dentistry whose primary concern involves the oral healthcare of children, from infancy through the teenage years.

      pediatrics: the branch of medicine that deals with diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of diseases in children.

      pelvic examination: an internal examination of the uterus, vagina, ovaries, fallopian tubes, bladder, and rectum.

      pelvic inflammatory disease (PID): inflammation of the pelvic organs caused by a type of bacteria.

      pelvic lymph node dissection: removal of some lymph nodes from the pelvis.

      pelvic node dissection: a procedure in which lymph nodes near the prostate are removed to determine if cancer has spread.

      pelvis: a basin-shaped structure that supports the spinal column and contains the sacrum, coccyx, and hip bones (ilium, pubis, and ischium).

      penis: the outer reproductive organ of a male.

      pepsin: enzyme made in the stomach that breaks down proteins.

      peptic: related to the stomach and the duodenum, where pepsin is present.

      peptic ulcer: sore in the lining of the esophagus, stomach, or duodenum; usually caused by the bacterium Helicobacter pylori. An ulcer in the stomach is a gastric ulcer. An ulcer in the duodenum is a duodenal ulcer.

      perception (hearing): process of knowing or being aware of information through the ear.

      percutaneous transhepatic cholangiography: x-ray of the gallbladder and bile ducts; a dye is injected through the abdomen to make the organs show up on the x-ray.

      percutaneous transluminal coronary angioplasty (PTCA): a technique to treat heart disease and chest pain by using angioplasty in the coronary arteries to permit more blood flow into the heart.

      perforated ulcer: ulcer that breaks through the wall of the stomach or duodenum and causes the stomach contents to leak into the abdominal cavity.

      perforation: hole in the wall of an organ.

      perfusion: flow.

      perianal: area around the anus.

      pericardiocentesis: a diagnostic procedure that uses a needle to draw fluid from the pericardium (the membrane that surrounds the heart).

      pericarditis: inflammation of the membrane that surrounds the heart.

      pericardium: the membrane that surrounds the heart.

      perilymph fistula: leakage of inner ear fluid to the middle ear that occurs without apparent cause, or is associated with head trauma, physical exertion, or barotrauma.

      perimenopause (also called climacteric): the transition period of time before menopause, marked by a decreased production of estrogen and progesterone, irregular menstrual periods, and transitory psychological changes.

      perineal: related to the perineum.

      perineum: area between the anus and the sex organs.

      periodontal disease (also called gum diseases): serious bacterial infections that destroy the gums and the surrounding tissues of the mouth.

      periodontist: a specialist in the field of dentistry responsible for the care and prevention of gum-related diseases, guided bone regeneration, and dental implants.

      periosteum: fiber-like covering of the bones; beneath the hard outer shell of the periosteum, there are tunnels and canals through which blood and lymphatic vessels run to carry nourishment for the bone.

      peripheral stem cell transplantation: a process in which the stem cells (immature cells from which blood cells develop) are removed, treated with anticancer drugs, and frozen until returned to the patient.

      peristalsis: wavelike contractions that move food through the digestive tract.

      peritoneum: lining of the abdominal cavity.

      peritonitis: infection of the peritoneum.

      personal flotation device (PFD): any type of item that keeps a person afloat in water. Only U.S. Coast Guard-approved PFDs should be used on boats.

      pertussis (also called whooping cough): mainly affects infants and young children; caused by a bacterium, pertussis is characterized by paroxysms of coughing that end with the characteristic whoop as air is inhaled. Pertussis caused thousands of deaths in the 1930s and 1940s, but with the advent of a vaccine, the rate of death has declined dramatically.

      pessary: rubber or plastic device that is inserted through the vagina to help hold the uterus in place in women who have prolapse of the uterus.

      petechia: tiny red dots under the skin that are the result of very small bleeds.

      Peutz-Jeghers syndrome: Inherited condition in which many polyps grow in the intestine.

      Peyronie's disease: A plaque, or hard lump, that forms on the erection tissue of the penis. The plaque often begins as an inflammation that may develop into a fibrous tissue.

      Pfeiffer syndrome: A birth defect characterized by abnormalities of the skull, hands, and feet.

      Phalen's test: Test for carpal tunnel syndrome in which the wrists are flexed for one minute.

      phantom pain: pain that occurs after an amputation, below the level of the amputated limb.

      pharynx: space behind the mouth that serves as a passage for food from the mouth to the esophagus and for air from the nose and mouth to the larynx.

      phlebotomy: a procedure that involves removing blood from the body.

      phobia: an uncontrollable, irrational, and persistent fear of a specific object, situation, or activity.

      phonology: study of speech sounds.

      photodynamic therapy: uses a certain type of light and a special chemical to kill cancer cells.

      photophobia: sensitivity to light.

      photorefractive keratectomy (PRK): procedure using an excimer laser to change the cornea.

      physiatry: branch of medicine that deals with restoring function for a person who has been disabled as a result of a disease, disorder, or injury.

      pigmentosa: a rare, inherited, skin disease that causes the skin to become very sensitive to ultraviolet light.

      pinguecula: irritation caused by the degeneration of the conjunctiva.

      pituitary gland: gland at the base of the brain that secretes hormones and regulates and controls other hormone-secreting glands and many body processes, including reproduction.

      pityriasis rosea: a common skin condition characterized by scaly, pink, and inflamed skin.

      placenta: organ that develops in the uterus during pregnancy; links the blood supplies of a pregnant woman to the fetus to provide nutrients and remove waste products.

      placenta previa: abnormal location of the placenta in the lower part of the uterus, near or over the cervix.

      placental abruption: premature detachment of the placenta from the wall of the uterus, causing severe bleeding that is life threatening to both a pregnant woman and fetus.

      plantar fascia: a long band of connecting tissue running from the heel to the ball of the foot.

      plantar warts: warts that occur on the sole of the foot and look like calluses; result from an infection or a specific virus.

      plaque: fat or substances attached to the artery wall.

      plasma: the watery, liquid part of the blood in which the red blood cells, the white blood cells, and platelets are suspended.

      plastic surgery: the surgical specialty that deals with the reconstruction of facial and body tissue that requires a reshaping or remolding due to disease, a defect, or disorder: in order to approximate a normal appearance or to repair working ability.

      plateletpheresis: a procedure to remove extra platelets from the blood.

      platelets: cells found in the blood that are needed to control bleeding; often used in the treatment of leukemia and other forms of cancer.

      pleura: membrane that covers the outside of the lung.

      pleural effusion: a collection of fluid between the lung and chest wall.

      pleurisy: inflamed membranes around the lungs.

      pluripotent stem cell: the most primitive, undeveloped blood cell.

      pneumatic otoscope: an instrument that blows a puff of air into the ear to test eardrum movement.

      pneumoconiosis: a lung disease caused by the long-term breathing (ingestion) of dust.

      pneumonectomy: removal of an entire lung.

      pneumothorax: air becomes trapped in the pleural space (the area between the lung and the chest wall); causes the lung to collapse.

      poliomyelitis: a highly contagious infectious disease caused by various types of poliovirus. Spread though feces and airborne particles, the poliovirus usually causes no more than a mild illness. However, some of the more serious manifestations of the disease include meningitis, which can lead to extensive paralysis.

      polyarticular: a form of juvenile rheumatoid arthritis that affects five or more joints.

      polycystic kidney disease (PKD): a genetic disorder characterized by the growth of numerous cysts filled with fluid in the kidneys.

      polycythemia vera: a blood disorder in which there is an increase in all types of blood cells, particularly red blood cells.

      polydactyly: a congenital problem characterized by an increase in the number of fingers or toes.

      polymenorrhea: too frequent menstruation.

      polymyalgia rheumatica: condition of unknown cause that affects the lining of joints, particularly in the shoulders and hips.

      polyp: growth that projects, usually on a stem, from a membrane in the body; can sometimes develop into cancer.

      polyposis: presence of many polyps.

      polyunsaturated fat: a type of fat found in vegetable oils and margarines that does not appear to raise blood cholesterol levels.

      pontic tooth: false tooth.

      porcelain veneers: a ceramic material is bonded to the front of teeth to change the tooth's color, size, and/or shape.

      porphyria: group of rare, inherited, blood disorders in which cells fail to change chemicals (porphyrins) to the substance (heme) that gives blood its color.

      portal hypertension: abnormally high blood pressure in the portal vein, which supplies the liver with blood from the intestine.

      portal vein: large vein that carries blood from the intestines and spleen to the liver.

      portosystemic shunt: operation to create an opening between the portal vein and other veins around the liver.

      port-wine stain: a flat, pink, red, or purple colored birthmark.

      port-wine stains (also called nevi flammeus): permanent flat, pink, red, or purple marks on the skin.

      positron emission tomography (PET) scan: a com-puter-based imaging technique that uses radioactive substances to examine body processes. For example, a PET scan of the heart provides information about the flow of blood through the coronary arteries to the heart.

      post-anesthesia care unit (also called recovery room): the area a patient is brought to after surgery to recover.

      postcholecystectomy syndrome (also called biliary dyskinesia): condition that occurs after gallbladder removal in which the muscle between the gallbladder and the small intestine does not work properly, causing pain, nausea, and indigestion.

      posterior chamber: the back section of the eye's interior.

      posterior cruciate ligament (PCL): the ligament, located in the center of the knee, that controls backward movement of the tibia (shin bone).

      posterior optical segment: portion of the eye located behind the crystalline lens, and including vitreous, choroid retina, and optic nerve.

      posterior vitreous detachment (PVD): the separation of the vitreous from the retina.

      posteromedial shin splint: a type of shin splint that affects the back and inner part of the muscles of the shin and is caused by running and/or by wearing inappropriate footwear.

      postgastrectomy syndrome: condition that occurs after an operation to remove the stomach (gastrectomy).

      postlingually deafened: individual who becomes deaf after having learned language.

      post-Lyme disease syndrome (PLDS): a condition also known as chronic Lyme disease, characterized by persistent musculoskeletal and peripheral nerve pain, fatigue, and memory impairment.

      postmenopausal bleeding: any bleeding that occurs more than six months after the last normal menstrual period at menopause.

      post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD): a debilitating condition that often follows a terrifying physical or emotional event causing the person who survived the event to have persistent, frightening thoughts and memories, or flashbacks, of the ordeal. Persons with PTSD often feel chronically, emotionally numb. Once referred to as “shell shock” or “battle fatigue.”

      postvagotomy stasis: delayed stomach emptying; occurs after surgery on the vagus nerve.

      pouch: special bag worn over a stoma to collect stool; sometimes referred to as an ostomy appliance.

      predisposition: tendency to develop a certain disease.

      prednisolone: corticosteroid medication; usually used for inflammation.

      preeclampsia: a condition characterized by pregnan-cy-induced high blood pressure, protein in the urine, and swelling (edema) due to fluid retention.

      prelingually deafened: individual who is either born deaf or who lost hearing early in childhood, before learning language.

      premature: a baby born before full term or 37 weeks of gestation.

      premature ejaculation (PE): the inability to maintain an erection long enough for mutual satisfaction.

      premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD): a much more severe form of the collective symptoms known as premenstrual syndrome (PMS), premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) is considered a severe and chronic medical condition that requires attention and treatment.

      premenstrual syndrome (PMS): a group of physical and emotional symptoms that some women experience during their menstrual cycle. Although the symptoms usually cease with onset of the menstrual period, in some women, symptoms may last through and after their menstrual periods.

      presbycusis: loss of hearing that gradually occurs because of changes in the inner or middle ear in individuals as they grow older.

      presbyopia: a form of farsightedness in which it is difficult to focus on close objects or to read.

      preterm labor: labor that begins before the 37th week of pregnancy.

      prevalence: statistic that equals the total number of people in a population with a disease at a time.

      priapism: persistent erection of the penis, usually accompanied by tenderness and pain.

      prickly heat: a rash caused by trapped sweat under the skin.

      primary sclerosing cholangitis: irritation, scarring, and narrowing of the bile ducts inside and outside the liver.

      primary site: the location where cancer begins. Primary cancer is named after the organ in which it originates. For example, cancer that starts in the kidney is always kidney cancer, even if it spreads (metastasizes) to other organs such as bones or lungs.

      proctalgia fugax: intense pain in the rectum that occasionally happens at night; caused by muscle spasms around the anus.

      proctectomy: operation to remove the rectum.

      proctitis: inflammation of the rectum.

      proctocolectomy (also called coloproctectomy): operation to remove the colon and rectum.

      proctocolitis: inflammation of the colon and rectum.

      proctologist: physician who specializes in disorders of the anus and rectum.

      proctoscope: short, rigid metal tube used to look into the rectum and anus.

      proctoscopy: examination of the rectum and anus with a proctoscope.

      proctosigmoiditis: inflammation of the rectum and the sigmoid colon.

      proctosigmoidoscopy: endoscopic examination of the rectum and sigmoid colon.

      progesterone: a hormone secreted by the ovaries which affect manyaspects of the female body, including menstrual cycles and pregnancy.

      prolactin: a hormone secreted by the pituitary gland which affects growth of the mammary glands.

      progestin: synthetic form of the female sex hormone progesterone.

      prognosis: predicting the likely outcome of a disease based on the condition of the patient and the action of the disease.

      prokinetic drugs: medications that cause the muscles in the gastrointestinal tract to move food.

      prolactin: hormone produced by pituitary gland that stimulates breast development and milk production.

      prolapse: condition that occurs when a body part slips from its normal position.

      prolapse of the uterus: displacement of the uterus down into the vagina caused by a weakening of supporting tissues in the pelvis.

      prostatalgia: pain in the prostate gland.

      prostate: a sex gland in men. It is about the size of a walnut, and surrounds the neck of the bladder and urethra, the tube that carries urine from the bladder. It is partly muscular and partly glandular, with ducts opening into the prostatic portion of the urethra. It is made up of three lobes: a center lobe with one lobe on each side.

      prostate acid phosphatase (PAP): an enzyme produced by the prostate that is elevated in some patients when prostate cancer has spread beyond the prostate.

      prostatectomy: surgical procedure for the partial or complete removal of the prostate.

      prostate-specific antigen (PSA): an antigen made by the prostate gland and found in the blood; may indicate cancer in the prostate gland.

      prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test: a blood test used to help detect prostate cancer by measuring a substance called prostate-specific antigen produced by the prostate.

      prostatism: any condition of the prostate that causes interference with the flow of urine from the bladder.

      prostatitis: an inflamed condition of the prostate gland that may be accompanied by discomfort, pain, frequent urination, infrequent urination, and, sometimes, fever.

      prosthesis: an artificial body part replacement.

      prosthodontist: a dental specialist who has undergone additional training and certification in the restoration and replacement of broken teeth with crowns, bridges, or removable prosthetics (dentures).

      protein: substance found in many parts of the body that helps the body to resist disease.

      proteinuria: large amounts of protein in the urine.

      proton pump inhibitors: medications that stop the stomach's acid pump.

      prune belly syndrome (also called Eagle-Barrett syndrome): condition of newborn babies, in which the baby has no abdominal muscles, so the stomach looks like a shriveled prune.

      pruritus ani: itching around the anus.

      pseudomembranous colitis: severe irritation of the colon caused by Clostridium difficile bacteria; occurs after taking oral antibiotics, which kill bacteria that normally live in the colon.

      psoriasis: a chronic skin condition characterized by inflamed, red, raised areas that develop silvery scales.

      psoriatic arthritis: a form of arthritis associated with psoriasis, a skin and nail disease.

      psychiatrist: a medical doctor who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of mental disorders.

      psychologist: a specialist in the study of the structure and function of the brain and related behaviors or mental processes.

      puberty: a sequence of events by which a child becomes a young adult; characterized by secretions of hormones, development of secondary sexual characteristics, reproductive functions, and growth spurts.

      pubic symphysis: anterior joint of the pelvis.

      pudendal block: pain relieving procedure used during childbirth in which an anesthetic is injected into tissues surrounding the pudendal nerves on either side of the vagina. It blocks pain in the tissues between the vagina and anus.

      pulmonary: pertains to lungs and respiratory system.

      pulmonary artery: blood vessel delivering oxygen-poor blood from the right ventricle to the lungs.

      pulmonary edema: a condition in which there is a fluid accumulation in the lungs caused by an incorrectly functioning heart.

      pulmonary hypertension: abnormally high blood pressure in the arteries of the lungs.

      pulmonary valve: the heart valve located between the right ventricle and the pulmonary artery that controls blood flow to the lungs.

      pulmonary vein: the vessel that carries newly oxygenated blood to the heart from the lungs.

      pulse oximeter: a device that measures the amount of oxygen in the blood.

      punch grafts: small skin grafts to replace scarred skin. A hole is punched in the skin to remove the scar, which is then replaced with unscarred skin (often from the back of the earlobe). Punch grafts can help treat deep acne scars.

      pupil: the dark center in the middle of the iris through which light passes to the back of the eye.

      pupillary response: the constriction or dilation of the pupil as stimulated by light.

      purging: persons with bulimia nervosa engage in a destructive pattern of ridding their bodies of the excess calories (to control their weight) by: vomiting, abusing laxatives or diuretics, taking enemas, and/or exercising obsessively: a process called purging.

      purines: components of certain foods that metabolize into uric acid in the body.

      pustule (also called pimple): inflamed lesions that look like pink bumps.

      pyelonephritis: an infection of the kidney.

      pyloric sphincter: muscle between the stomach and the small intestine.

      pyloric stenosis: narrowing of the opening between the stomach and the small intestine.

      pyloroplasty: operation to widen the opening between the stomach and the small intestine to allow contents to pass more freely from the stomach.

      pylorus: opening from the stomach into the top of the small intestine (duodenum).

      pyogenic granuloma: red, brown, or bluish-black raised marks caused by excessive growth of capillaries.

      pyramidal pathway: a collection of nerve tracts that travel from the cerebral cortex through the pyramid of the medulla oblongata in the brainstem to the spinal cord. Within the pyramid of the medulla, fibers cross from one side of the brain to the opposite side of the spinal cord; the pyramidal pathway is intact in Parkin-son's disease.

      Qi: Chinese word for life force.

      quadriceps: a large, four-part muscle at the front of the thigh that facilitates leg extension.

      quadriplegia: loss of movement and sensation in all four limbs.

      rabies: a widespread, viral infection of warm-blooded animals caused by a virus in the Rhabdoviridae family Rabies attacks the nervous system and, once symptoms develop, is 100 percent fatal in animals.

      radial keratotomy: a surgical procedure in which incisions are made into the epithelium of the cornea to correct refractive errors.

      radiation: use of high-energy radiation from x-rays, neutrons, and other sources to kill cancer cells and shrink tumors.

      radiation colitis: damage to the colon from radiation therapy.

      radiation enteritis: damage to the small intestine from radiation therapy.

      radiation therapy (also called radiotherapy): treatment with high-energy rays (such as x-rays or gamma rays) to kill cancer cells; may be by external radiation or by internal radiation from radioactive materials placed directly in or near the tumor.

      radical mastectomy: surgery to remove the entire breast (including the nipple, areola, and overlying skin), the lymph nodes under the arm, also called the axillary lymph glands, and the chest muscles.

      radical prostatectomy: surgery to remove the prostate along with the two seminal vesicle glands attached to the prostate.

      radical retropubic prostatectomy: an operation to remove the entire prostate gland and seminal vesicles through the lower abdomen.

      radioisotope: a radioactive material injected into the body so that a nuclear scanner can make pictures.

      radioisotope scan: a procedure that uses radioactive substances introduced into the body to create an image.

      radioisotopes: materials that produce radiation.

      radiologist: a physician specializing in the medical field of radiology.

      radionuclide bone scan: a nuclear imaging technique that uses a very small amount of radioactive material, which is injected into the patient's bloodstream to be detected by a scanner. This test shows blood flow to the bone and cell activity within the bone.

      radionuclide scan: an imaging scan in which a small amount of radioactive substance is injected into the vein. A machine measures levels of radioactivity in certain organs, thereby detecting any abnormal areas or tumors.

      radionuclide ventriculography: a diagnostic procedure used to determine the shape and size of the heart's chambers.

      radiopharmaceutical (also called a tracer or radionuclide): basic radioactively-tagged compound necessary to produce a nuclear medicine image.

      radius: the shorter of the two bones of the forearm.

      radon: a colorless, naturally-occurring, radioactive, inert gas formed by radioactive decay of radium atoms in soil or rocks.

      Rancho scales: Levels of a patient's response to external stimuli and the environment following a brain injury.

      range of motion: measurement of the extent to which a joint can go through all of its normal spectrum of movements.

      rape: forced or manipulated nonconsensual sexual contact, including vaginal or anal intercourse, oral sex, or penetration with an object.

      RAST (RadioAllergoSorbent Test, a trademark of Pharmacia Diagnostics): a laboratory test used to detect IgE antibodies to specific allergens. A RAST requires a blood sample, which is sent to a medical laboratory where tests are done with specific foods to determine whether the patient has IgE antibodies to that food.

      reactive arthritis (also called Reiter's syndrome): a type of arthritis that occurs as a reaction to infection.

      recommended dietary allowance (RDA): recommendations for daily intake of specific nutrients for groups of healthy individuals set by the Food and Nutrition Board of the National Research Council of the National Academy of Science.

      reconstructive plastic surgery: one type of plastic surgery that is performed on abnormal structures of the body that may be caused by trauma, infection, developmental abnormalities, congenital defects, disease, and/or tumors. This type of surgery is usually performed to improve function, but may also be performed to approximate a normal appearance.

      rectal manometry: test that uses a thin tube and balloon to measure pressure and movements of the rectal and anal sphincter muscles.

      rectal prolapse: condition in which the rectum slips so that it protrudes from the anus.

      rectal ultrasound: a test in which a probe is inserted in the rectum and directs sound waves at the prostate. The patterns of the sound waves form an image of the prostate gland on a screen.

      rectocele: condition in which weakening of the lower vaginal wall causes the rectum to bulge into the vagina.

      rectum: lower end of the large intestine, leading to the anus.

      recur: to occur again; reappearance of cancer cells at the same site or in another location.

      red blood cells (also called RBCs or erythrocytes): blood cells that transport oxygen to all the tissues in the body.

      reflux (also called regurgitation): condition that occurs when gastric juices or small amounts of food from the stomach flow back into the esophagus and mouth.

      reflux esophagitis: irritation of the esophagus because stomach contents flow back into the esophagus.

      refractive error: the degree to which light reaches the back of the eye: myopia, hyperopia, astigmatism.

      regional anesthetic: an anesthetic used to numb a portion of the body.

      regurgitation: backward flow of blood caused by a defective heart valve.

      rehabilitation: the process of helping a person achieve the highest level of function, independence, and quality of life possible. From the Latin “habilitas,” which means “to make able.”

      renal: pertains to kidneys.

      renal angiography (also called renal arteriography): a series of x-rays of the renal blood vessels with the injection of a contrast dye into a catheter, which is placed into the blood vessels of the kidney; to detect any signs of blockage or abnormalities affecting the blood supply to the kidneys.

      renal ultrasound: a non-invasive test in which a transducer is passed over the kidney producing sound waves which bounce off of the kidney, transmitting a picture of the organ on a video screen. The test is used to determine the size and shape of the kidney, and to detect a mass, kidney stone, cyst, or other obstruction or abnormalities.

      required surgery: an operation which is necessary to continue quality of life. Required surgery may not have to be done immediately, like emergency surgery.

      residential care facility (RCF): an out-of-home care option for elderly persons who are no longer able to live alone and independently, but do not require skilled nursing care. RCFs typically provide assistance with personal hygiene, grooming, and other activities of daily living, as well as recreational and social services.

      respiration: gas exchange from air to the blood and from the blood to the body cells.

      respiratory diphtheria: when a person is infected with diphtheria, the bacterium usually multiplies in the throat, leading to the respiratory version of diphtheria. A membrane may form over the throat and tonsils, causing a sore throat. Other common symptoms of respiratory diphtheria may include: breathing difficulty, a husky voice, enlarged lymph glands, and an increased heart rate.

      respiratory system: the group of organs responsible for carrying oxygen from the air to the bloodstream, and for expelling carbon dioxide.

      resting tremor: a tremor of a limb that increases when the limb is at rest.

      retching: dry vomiting.

      retina: the light-sensitive nerve layer that lines the back of the eye. The retina sense light and creates impulses that are sent through the optic nerve to the brain.

      retinal detachment: separation of the retina from the epithelium layer and from blood supply.

      retinopathy: diabetic eye disease.

      retrolisthesis: posterior slippage of one vertebra onto another.

      retropulsion: the tendency to step backwards if bumped from the front or upon initiating walking; usually seen in patients who tend to lean backwards because of problems with balance.

      Reye syndrome: A potentially fatal disease that causes severe problems with the brain and other organs. Although the exact cause of the disease is not known, there has been an association with giving aspirin to children and developing the disease. It is now advised not to give aspirin to children during illnesses, unless prescribed by your child's physician.

      rheumatic fever: a childhood disease that may damage the heart valves or the outer lining of the heart.

      rheumatoid arthritis: an inflammatory disease that involves the lining of the joint (synovium). The inflammation often affects the joints of the hands and the feet and tends to occur equally on both sides of the body.

      rheumatoid factor: special kind of antibody often found in people with rheumatoid arthritis.

      rhinitis: an inflammation of the mucous membrane that lines the nose, often due to an allergy to pollen, dust, or other airborne substances, which causes sneezing, itching, runny nose, and nasal congestion.

      rhinoplasty: the surgical repair of a defect of the nose, including reshaping or resizing the nose. Rhinoplasty may be performed to change the size of the nose, change the shape of the nose, narrow the nostrils, and/or change the angle between the nose and lips. Rhinoplasty involves the resculpting of the bone and cartilage.

      rhytidectomy (also called facelift): a surgical procedure that involves the removal of excess facial fat, the tightening of facial muscles, and the stretching of facial skin: to approximate a smoother, firmer appearance. The procedure takes place on either the face, neck, or both.

      R.I.C.E. (Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation): treatment plan for acute injury to prevent inflammatory processes from becoming uncontrolled and to speed up the recovery process by eliminating swelling; acute injury management.

      rigidity: increased resistance to the passive movement of a limb.

      ringworm: a fungal skin infection characterized by ring-shaped, red, scaly, or blistery patches.

      risk factor: activity or factor that may increase the chance of developing a disease.

      rooting: when a newborn turns his/her head toward touch near the mouth.

      rosacea: a common skin condition characterized by redness, pimples, and broken blood vessels.

      rotator cuff: muscles and tendons that form a cuff over the shoulder joint and attach the scapula to the bone in the upper arm (humerus); major function is to control and produce rotation of the shoulder.

      round window: membrane separating the middle ear and inner ear.

      rubella (also called German measles): an acute viral infection that causes a mild illness in children and slightly more severe illness in adults. The disease is spread person-to-person through airborne particles and takes two to three weeks to incubate.

      rupture: break or tear in any organ or soft tissue.

      Saethe-Chotzen: A birth defect characterized by an unusually short or broad head. In addition, the eyes may be spaced wide apart and have droopy eyelids, and fingers may be abnormally short and webbed.

      safe sex: sex in a monogamous relationship where neither party is infected with a sexually transmitted disease or urinary tract infection is considered to be “safe.” However, many healthcare professionals believe there really is no such thing as “safe” sex, and the only way to be truly safe is to abstain as all forms of sexual contact carry some risk.

      salicylic acid: a keratolytic drug (a drug that removes the outer layer of skin) that is used to treat various skin conditions.

      saline solution: a solution containing sodium chloride.

      saliva: mixture of water, protein, and salts that makes food easy to swallow and begins digestion.

      salmonella: bacterium that may cause intestinal infection and diarrhea.

      salmonella infections: diarrheal infections caused by the bacteria Salmonella. There are many kinds of Salmonella bacteria that cause diarrheal illnesses in humans.

      salpingectomy: surgical removal of one or both fallopian tubes.

      salpingo-oophorectomy: surgery to remove the fallopian tubes and ovaries.

      sarcoidosis: condition that causes small, fleshy swellings in the tissue around the organs, usually in the liver, lungs, and spleen.

      saturated fat: fat that is found in foods from animal meats and skin, dairy products, and some vegetables.

      scabies: an infestation of mites in the skin characterized by small pimples that itch.

      scales: dead skin cells that look like flakes or dry skin.

      scar: the body's natural way of healing and replacing lost or damaged skin. A scar is usually composed of fibrous tissue. Scars may be formed for many different reasons, including as a result of infections, surgery, injuries, or inflammation of tissue.

      Schiller test: A diagnostic test in which the cervix is coated with an iodine solution to detect the presence of abnormal cells.

      schizoid personality disorder: persons with this disorder are often cold, distant, introverted, and have an intense fear of intimacy. Persons with schizoid personality disorder are often too absorbed in their own thinking and daydreaming that they exclude themselves from attachment with persons and reality.

      schizophrenia: one of the most complex of all mental health disorders; involves a severe, chronic, and disabling disturbance of the brain.

      schizotypal personality disorder: similar to schizoid personality disorder, persons with this disorder are often cold, distant, introverted, and have an intense fear of intimacy and closeness. Yet, with schizotypal personality disorder, persons also exhibit disordered thinking, perception, and ineffective communication skills. Many symptoms of schizotypal personality disorder resemble schizophrenia, but are less mild.

      sciatica (also called lumbar radiculopathy): a pain that originates along the sciatic nerve.

      sclera: the white, visible portion of the eyeball. The muscles that move the eyeball are attached to the sclera.

      scleroderma: a very serious disease of the body's connective tissue that causes thickening and hardening of the skin.

      sclerosing adenosis: a benign breast condition that involves excessive growth of tissues in the breast's lobules, often resulting in breast pain.

      sclerotherapy: method of stopping upper gastrointestinal (GI) bleeding. A needle is inserted through an endoscope to administer hardening agents to the location that is bleeding.

      scoliosis: a lateral, or sideways, curvature and rotation of the back bones (vertebrae), giving the appearance that the person is leaning to one side.

      scotoma: an area of partial or complete loss of vision surrounded by an area of normal vision.

      screening mammogram: an x-ray of the breast used to detect breast changes in women who have no signs of breast cancer.

      scrotum: the bag of skin that holds the testicles.

      seasonal affective disorder (SAD): a mood disorder characterized by depression related to a certain season of the year: especially winter.

      sebaceous glands: glands in the skin that secrete oil to the surface of the skin.

      seborrheic keratosis: flesh-colored, yellow, brown, or black wart-like spots.

      sebum: oily substance produced by sebaceous glands in the skin.

      secondary tumor: a tumor that forms as a result of spread (metastasis) of cancer from the location where it originated.

      secretin: hormone made in the duodenum that causes the stomach to produce pepsin, the liver to make bile, and the pancreas to produce a digestive juice.

      segmental mastectomy: surgery to remove a portion of the breast.

      segmentation: process by which muscles in the intestines move food and wastes through the body.

      seizure: occurs when part(s) of the brain receives a burst of abnormal electrical signals that temporarily interrupts normal electrical brain function.

      self-monitoring blood glucose: method for people with diabetes to find out how much glucose is in their blood.

      sella turcica: bony structure that houses the pituitary gland.

      sensorineural hearing loss: hearing loss caused by damage to the sensory cells and/or nerve fibers of the inner ear.

      sepsis: the presence of bacteria, virus, fungus, or other organism in the blood or other tissues and the toxins associated with the invasion.

      septal defect: a hole in the wall of the heart.

      septoplasty: the surgical correction of defects and deformities of the nasal septum (the partition between the nostrils).

      septum: the muscle wall that divides the heart chambers.

      serology: the study of blood serum (the clear fluid that separates when blood clots).

      serotonin: a chemical necessary for communication between nerve cells.

      serum: a clear fluid that separates when blood clots.

      sexually transmitted disease (STD): infection spread through sexual intercourse and other intimate sexual contact.

      shigellosis: infection with the bacterium Shigella, usually causing a high fever, acute diarrhea, and dehydration.

      shin splints: damage to one of two groups of muscles along the shin bone that cause pain.

      shock: impaired body function due to blood loss or a disturbance in the circulatory system.

      short bowel syndrome (also called short gut syndrome): problems related to absorbing nutrients after removal of part of the small intestine.

      shunt: a connector to allow blood flow between two locations.

      Shwachman's syndrome: Digestive and respiratory disorder of children in which certain digestive enzymes are missing and white blood cells are few.

      sialorrhea: drooling.

      sickle cell anemia: an inherited blood disorder characterized by defective hemoglobin.

      sigmoid colon: lower part of the colon that empties into the rectum.

      sigmoidoscopy: a diagnostic procedure that allows the physician to examine the inside of a portion of the large intestine, and is helpful in identifying the causes of diarrhea, abdominal pain, constipation, abnormal growths, and bleeding. A short, flexible, lighted tube, called a sigmoidoscope, is inserted into the intestine through the rectum. The scope blows air into the intestine to inflate it and make viewing the inside easier.

      sign language: language of hand shapes, facial expressions, and movements used as a form of communication.

      silent ischemia: ischemia not accompanied by chest pain.

      simple mastectomy: surgical removal of the breast and possibly a few of the axillary lymph nodes close to the breast.

      sinus node: the cells that produce the electrical impulses that cause the heart to contract.

      sinuses: air cavities within the facial bones, lined by mucous membranes similar to those in other parts of the airways.

      sinusitis: inflammation of the membranes lining the facial sinuses, often caused by bacterial or viral infection, or allergic reaction.

      skilled nursing facility (SNF): an out-of-home care option for elderly persons who require continuous nursing care. SNFs can provide extensive care services, such as intravenous feedings, blood pressure monitoring, medication injections, and care for patients on ventilators.

      skin (cutaneous) diphtheria: one type of diphtheria; the symptoms are usually milder and may include yellow spots or sores (similar to impetigo) on the skin.

      skin cancer: a malignant tumor that grows in the skin cells.

      skin grafts: a skin graft may be used to cover skin that has been damaged and/or is missing. This surgical procedure involves removing healthy portions of skin from one part of the body to restore normal appearance and/or function to another portion of the same body. The location where the skin is removed is called the donor site. There are various types of skin grafts that may be utilized, depending upon the size and location of needed skin.

      skin tags: soft, small, flesh-colored skin flaps on the neck, armpits, or groin.

      small intestine: the digestive tract between the stomach and the large intestine. Most of digestion occurs here as nutrients are absorbed from food.

      smallpox: a highly contagious disease caused by a type of poxvirus; symptoms usually include a fever and a blistery-like rash.

      smell: to perceive odor or scent through stimuli affecting the olfactory nerves.

      smell disorder: inability to perceive odors that may be temporary or permanent.

      smooth muscle: muscle that performs automatic tasks, such as constricting blood vessels.

      social phobia: an anxiety disorder in which a person has significant anxiety and discomfort related to a fear of being embarrassed, humiliated, or scorned by others in social or performance situations.

      soft tissues: the ligaments, tendons, and muscles in the musculoskeletal system.

      somatosensory: refers to sensory signals from all tissues of the body including skin, viscera, muscles, and joints.

      somatostatin: hormone in the pancreas that helps tell the body when to make the hormones insulin, glucagon, gastrin, secretin, and renin.

      sound vocalization: ability to produce voice.

      spasm: a condition in which a muscle or group of muscles involuntarily contract.

      spasmodic dysphonia: momentary disruption of voice caused by involuntary movements of one or more muscles of the larynx (voice box).

      spasms: muscle movements such as those in the colon that cause pain, cramps, and diarrhea.

      spasticity: increased muscle tone that results in a tightening and shortening of a muscle.

      specific language impairment (SLI): difficulty with the organized symbol-system communication in the absence of problems such as mental retardation, hearing loss, or emotional disorders.

      specific phobia: a type of phobia characterized by extreme fear of an object or situation that is not harmful under general conditions.

      speech: making definite vocal sounds that form words to express thoughts and ideas.

      speech disorder: defect or abnormality that prevents an individual from communicating by means of spoken words.

      speech processor: part of a cochlear implant that converts speech sounds into electrical impulses to stimulate the auditory nerve.

      speech-language pathologist: professional trained to evaluate and treat people who have voice, speech, language, or swallowing disorders, including hearing impairment, that affect their ability to communicate.

      sperm disorders: problems with the production and maturation of sperm; the single most common cause of male infertility. Sperm may be immature, abnormally shaped, unable to move properly, or, normal sperm may be produced in abnormally low numbers (oligospermia).

      SPF: Sun Protection Factor.

      sphincter: ring-like band of muscle that opens and closes an opening in the body.

      sphincter muscles: circular muscles that help keep urine from leaking by closing tightly like a rubber band around the opening of the bladder.

      sphincter of Oddi: muscle between the common bile duct and pancreatic ducts.

      sphincterotomy: a procedure to open the muscle sphincter: a ring of muscle around a natural opening that acts like a valve: wide enough so stones can pass into the intestine.

      sphygmomanometer: the instrument used to measure blood pressure.

      spider angioma: a bright red mark with a distinct dark spot in the skin.

      spinal anesthesia: injection of an anesthetic into the area around the spinal cord to block pain sensation during surgery.

      spinal cord: a bundle of nerves that carries messages between the brain and the rest of the body.

      spinal instability: increased motion between vertebra, usually resulting from an injury; pain typically feels like tingling in the neck or arms.

      spinal stenosis: narrowing of the nerve openings either around the spinal cord or nerve roots that can cause symptoms similar to a pinched nerve; pain is described either as an aching or an electrical feeling down the arm.

      spinal tap (also called lumbar puncture): a special needle is placed into the lower back, into the spinal canal. This is the area around the spinal cord. The pressure in the spinal canal and brain can then be measured. A small amount of cerebral spinal fluid (CSF)can be removed and sent for testing to determine if there is an infection or other problems. CSF is the fluid that bathes the brain and spinal cord.

      spine: a column in the body consisting of 33 vertebrae.

      spirogram: a record of the amounts of air being moved in and out of the lungs.

      spirometer: an instrument that measures the amount of air moved in and out of the lungs (the amount of inhaled and exhaled air).

      spirometry: a pulmonary test of the lungs using a spirometer.

      spleen: organ that cleans blood and makes white blood cells.

      splenectomy: surgical removal of the spleen.

      splenic flexure syndrome: condition that occurs when air or gas collects in the upper parts of the colon.

      splints: a device for preventing movement of a joint or holding in place any part of the body.

      spondylitis: inflammation of the spine.

      spondylolisthesis: forward displacement of one vertebra on its lower neighbor.

      spondylosis: a degenerative process of the cervical spine that causes narrowing of the spinal canal and neural foramina, and produces compression of the spinal cord and nerve roots.

      sporadic: occurring by chance.

      sprain: a partial or complete tear of a ligament.

      sputum (also called phlegm): mucus from the lungs.

      squamous cell cancer: a slow-growing cancer in cells in the top layer of the skin.

      squamous cell carcinoma: a form of skin cancer that affects about 20 percent of patients with skin cancer. This highly treatable cancer is characterized by red, scaly skin that becomes an open sore.

      squamous cells (also called keratinocytes): the primary cell types found in the epidermis, the outer layer of skin.

      squamous intraepithelial lesion (SIL): a term used to classify the degree of precancerous change in cells of the cervix in a condition called cervical dysplasia.

      stage: the extent of a cancer; whether the disease has spread from the original site to other bosy parts.

      staging: an evaluation of the extent of disease that provides the basis for making treatment recommendations.

      steatorrhea: condition in which the body cannot absorb fat.

      stem cell transplantation: removing stem cells from the patient's or a donor's bone marrow and re-infusing them into the patient to help produce healthy blood cells; a method of replacing stem cells which are destroyed by cancer treatment.

      stem cells: the blood cells that produce other blood cells. It is the stem cells that are needed in bone marrow transplantation.

      stenosis: the narrowing or constriction of a blood vessel or valve in the heart.

      stent: a device implanted in a vessel used to help keep it open.

      stereopsis: ability to perceive three-dimensional depth.

      sternum: the breastbone.

      stethoscope: the instrument used to listen to the heart and other sounds in the body.

      stirrups: technique of ankle strapping using rigid tape placed on the ankle, medial to lateral adhering to the undersurface of the heel, mimicking a stirrup.

      stoma: a surgically created opening in an organ.

      stomach: organ between the esophagus and the small intestine. The stomach is where digestion of protein begins.

      stomach ulcer (also called a gastric ulcer): open sore in the stomach lining.

      stool (also called feces): solid wastes that pass through the rectum as bowel movements. Stools are undigested foods, bacteria, mucus, and dead cells.

      stork bite (also called salmon patch): small pink orred patches often found on a baby's eyelids, between the eyes, upper lip, and back of the neck.

      straight leg raise (SLR): technique for measuring sciatic nerve mobility and/or hamstring length.

      strain: a tear of a muscle or tendon.

      strawberry hemangioma: a bright or dark red, raised or swollen, bumpy area on the skin of a baby or child.

      streptokinase: a clot-dissolving medication.

      stress: mental or physical tension that results from physical, emotional, or chemical causes.

      stress fractures: weak spots or small cracks in the bone caused by continuous overuse.

      stress incontinence: the most common type of incontinence that involves the leakage of urine during exercise, coughing, sneezing, laughing, lifting heavy objects, or other body movements that put pressure on the bladder.

      stress ulcer: upper gastrointestinal (GI) ulcer from physical injury such as surgery, major burns, or critical head injury.

      striatum: part of the basal ganglia; a large cluster of nerve cells, consisting of the caudate nucleus and the putamen, that controls movement, balance, and walking; the neurons of the striatum require dopamine to function.

      stricture (also called stenosis): abnormal narrowing of a body opening.

      stroke (also called brain attack): occurs when brain cells die because of inadequate blood flow to the brain.

      stuttering: frequent repetition of words or parts of words that disrupts the smooth flow of speech.

      subarachnoid hemorrhage: a stroke that occurs when a blood vessel on the surface of the brain ruptures and bleeds into the space between the brain and the skull (but not into the brain itself).

      subchondral tissue: the smooth tissue at the ends of bones, which is covered with another type of tissue called cartilage.

      subcutis (also called subcutaneous layer): the deepest layer of skin.

      substantia nigra: a small area of the brain containing a cluster of black-pigmented nerve cells that produce dopamine, which is then transmitted to the striatum.

      subtotal or partial gastrectomy: surgical removal of a portion of the stomach.

      sudden deafness: loss of hearing that occurs quickly from such causes as explosion, a viral infection, or the use of some drugs.

      sudden death: death that occurs unexpectedly or immediately after onset of symptoms.

      sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS): unexplained, sudden death of an infant up to 1 year of age.

      suicide: the intentional taking of one's own life.

      sunburn: a visible reaction of the skin to overexposure to the sun's invisible ultraviolet (UV) rays.

      sunscreen: a product that protects the skin again sunburns by blocking the penetration of the sun's ultraviolet (UV) rays.

      superior vena cava: the large vein that returns blood to the heart from the head and arms.

      suprarenal glands: another name for the adrenal glands.

      surgery: operation to remove or repair a part of the body, or to determine if disease is present.

      suspensory ligament of lens: a series of fibers that connect the ciliary body of the eye with the lens, holding it in place.

      sustention (postural) tremor: a tremor of a limb that increases when the limb is stretched.

      swallowing disorders: any of a group of problems that interfere with the transfer of food from the mouth to the stomach.

      synapse: a tiny gap between the ends of nerve fibers across which nerve impulses pass from one neuron to another; at the synapse, an impulse causes the release of a neurotransmitter, which diffuses across the gap and triggers an electrical impulse in the next neuron.

      syncope: light-headedness or fainting caused by insufficient blood supply to the brain.

      syndactyly: a congenital problem characterized by a union of fingers or toes.

      syndromic hearing impairment: hearing loss or deafness that is inherited or passed through generations of a family.

      synovial fluid: a clear, sticky fluid that is released by the synovial membrane and acts as a lubricant for joints and tendons.

      synovial membrane: a tissue that lines and seals the joint.

      synovitis: inflammation of the synovial membrane, the tissue that lines and protects the joint.

      synovium: a fibrous envelope that produces a fluid to help to reduce friction and wear in a joint.

      syphilis: a sexually transmitted disease caused by Treponema pallidum bacteria. The initial symptom of syphilis is a painless open sore that usually appears on the penis or around or in the vagina. If untreated, syphilis may go on to more advanced stages, including a transient rash and, eventually, serious involvement of the heart and central nervous system.

      syrup of ipecac: an emetic made from the dried root of a plant called ipecacuanha, which is grown in Brazil. An emetic is an agent that causes vomiting.

      systemic: disease or symptoms that affect many different parts of the body.

      systemic chemotherapy: chemotherapy taken by pill or needle injection into a vein or muscle.

      systemic juvenile rheumatoid arthritis: a form of juvenile rheumatoid arthritis that affects joints and, sometimes, internal organs.

      systemic lupus erythematosus (also called SLE or lupus): a very serious, chronic, autoimmune disorder characterized by periodic episodes of inflammation of and damage to the joints, tendons, other connective tissues, and organs, including the heart, lungs, blood vessels, brain, kidneys, and skin.

      systemic treatment or therapy: treatment or therapy that reaches and affects cells throughout the body.

      systolic blood pressure: the highest pressure to which blood pressure rises with the contraction of the ventricles.

      tachycardia: rapid heartbeat.

      tachypnea: rapid breathing.

      tamoxifen: a drug used in hormone therapy to treat breast cancer by blocking the effects of estrogen.

      taste: sensation produced by a stimulus applied to the gustatory nerve endings in the tongue; the four tastes are salt, sour, sweet, and bitter; some say there is a fifth taste described as savory.

      taste buds: groups of cells located on the tongue that enable one to recognize different tastes.

      taste disorder: inability to perceive different flavors.

      telemetry unit: a small transmitter that is used to send information about the heart via radio transmission to healthcare professionals for evaluation.

      temporal arteries: vessels located over the temples on each side of the head, that supply blood to part of the head.

      temporomandibular joints (TMJ): the two joints that connect the jaw to the skull.

      tendon: the tough cords of tissue that connect muscles to bones.

      tendonitis: an inflammation in a tendon or the tendon covering.

      tenesmus: straining to have a bowel movement.

      tennis elbow (also called lateral epicondylitis): an injury to the tendons on the lateral portion of the elbow that bend the wrist backward away from the palms of the hands.

      testicular cancer: cancer that develops in a testicle.

      testis: one of the pair of male gonads that produce semen.

      testosterone: male sex hormone produced mostly by the testicles, which stimulates bone and muscle growth and the development of male sex characteristics.

      tetanus: an acute, sometimes fatal, disease of the central nervous system; caused by the toxin of the tetanus bacterium, which usually enters the body through an open wound. The tetanus bacterium live in soil and manure, but also can be found in the human intestine and other places.

      thalassemia: an inherited blood disorder in which the chains of the hemoglobin (a type of protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen to the tissues) molecule are abnormal; alpha thalassemia results when a mutation occurs in the alpha chain, while beta thalassemia results when the mutation occurs in the beta chain; signs and symptoms of thalassemias vary from mild (little to no symptoms) to severe (life threatening).

      thallium stress test: a study in which a radioactive substance is carried by the blood and its progress through the circulation of a specific body area is followed by x-ray pictures.

      thermal burns: burns due to external heat sources which raise the temperature of the skin and tissues and cause tissue cell death or charring. Hot metals, scalding liquids, steam, and flames, when coming in contact with the skin, cause thermal burns.

      thoracic spine: the 12 vertebrae between the cervical and lumbar spines that provide attachments for the ribs.

      thoracotomy: surgery to view the lung that may be used to confirm cancer, or for chest trauma to detect the source of bleeding.

      throat disorders: disorders or diseases of the larynx (voice box) or esophagus.

      thrombolysis: the breaking up of a blood clot.

      thrombolytic therapy: the use of a medication that dissolves blood clots.

      thrombosis: excess clotting which obstructs veins (venous thrombosis) and arteries (arterial thrombosis).

      thrombosis, deep-vein: formation of blood clots in veins deep inside the legs.

      thrombus: a blood clot.

      thyroid scan: uses a radioactive substance to create an image of the thyroid as it is functioning.

      thyroplasty (also known as laryngeal framework surgery): surgical technique to improve voice by altering the cartilages of the larynx.

      thyroxine (T4): a hormone secreted by the thyroid gland which regulates metabolism.

      triiodothyronine (T3): a hormone secreted by the thyroid gland which regulates metabolism.

      tibia: shin bone or larger bone of the lower leg.

      tinea versicolor: a common fungal skin infection characterized by white or light brown patches on the skin.

      tinnitus: sensation of a ringing, roaring, or buzzing sound in the ears or head; often associated with various forms of hearing impairment.

      tissue: group or layer of cells that together perform specific functions.

      tissue expansion: a surgical procedure that involves inserting a balloon-like device (called an expander) under the skin. The expander then slowly secretes liquid into the area to be repaired to actually stretch and expand the skin. This serves the function of “growing” extra skin to repair nearby lost or damaged skin.

      tissue plasminogen activator (TPA): a medication used to dissolve blood clots.

      tomography: from the Greek words “to cut or section” (tomos) and “to write” (graphein), in nuclear medicine, it is a method of separating interference from the area of interest by imaging a cut section of the object.

      tongue: large muscle on the floor of the mouth that manipulates food for chewing and swallowing; the main organ of taste, and helps form speech sounds.

      tonometry: test to measure intraocular pressure for glaucoma.

      topical chemotherapy: chemotherapy given as a cream or lotion placed on the skin to kill cancer cells.

      torticollis (also called wryneck): a twisting of the neck that causes the head to rotate on an angle.

      total (or simple) mastectomy: surgery to remove the entire breast (including the nipple, areola, and most of the overlying skin) and may also remove some of the lymph nodes under the arm, also called the axillary lymph glands.

      total hysterectomy: the surgical removal of the uterus, including the cervix; the fallopian tubes and the ovaries remain.

      total hysterectomy with bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy: the entire uterus, fallopian tubes, and the ovaries are surgically removed.

      Tourette's syndrome: Neurological disorder characterized by tics and other movements such as eye blinks or facial twitches that cannot be controlled.

      toxic epidermal necrolysis: a life-threatening skin disorder characterized by blistering and peeling of the top layer of skin.

      toxoplasmosis: an infection caused by a parasite that can lead to serious illness or death in the fetus.

      tracheoesophageal fistula (TEF): condition that occurs when there is a gap between the upper and lower segments of the esophagus, and food and saliva cannot pass through.

      tracheostomy: surgical opening into the trachea (windpipe) to help someone breathe who has an obstruction or swelling in the larynx (voice box) or upper throat.

      trans fat: vegetable oil that has been treated with hydrogen in order to make it more solid and give it a longer shelf life.

      transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS): a method of providing pain relief using electrical signals which are sent to the nerve endings.

      transesophageal echocardiography (TEE): a diagnostic test that is used to measure the sound waves that bounce off of the heart.

      transferrin saturation test (TS): a type of iron study (blood test) that measures the percentage of transferrin and other mobile, iron-binding proteins saturated with iron.

      transient ischemic attack (TIA): a stroke-like event that lasts for a short period of time and is caused by a blocked blood vessel.

      transplantation: replacing an organ.

      transrectal ultrasound of the prostate: a test using sound wave echoes to create an image of an organ or gland to visually inspect for abnormal conditions such as gland enlargement, nodules, penetration of tumor through capsule of the gland, and/or invasion of seminal vesicles. It may also be used for guidance of needle biopsies of the prostate gland and guiding the nitrogen probes in cryosurgery.

      transurethral hyperthermia: an investigative procedure that uses heat, usually provided by microwaves, to shrink the prostate.

      transurethral incision of the prostate (TUIP): a procedure that widens the urethra by making some small cuts in the bladder neck, where the urethra joins the bladder, and in the prostate gland itself.

      transurethral laser incision of the prostate (TULIP): the use of laser through the urethra that melts the tissue.

      transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP): a surgical procedure by which portions of the prostate gland are removed through the penis.

      transurethral surgery: surgery in which no external incision is needed. For prostate transurethral surgery, the surgeon reaches the prostate by inserting an instrument through the urethra.

      transvaginal ultrasound (also called ultrasonography): an ultrasound test using a small instrument, called a transducer, that is placed in the vagina.

      transverse colon: part of the colon that extends across the abdomen from right to left.

      transverse frictions: deep massage technique used for tendon and ligament conditions.

      transverse myelitis: inflammation and swelling along the spinal cord with motor or sensory nerve dysfunction.

      trauma: a physical injury or wound caused by an external force of violence, which may cause death or permanent disability. Trauma is also used to describe severe emotional or psychological shock or distress.

      travel medicine: a specialized area of healthcare that focuses on the needs of travelers, particularly those who travel to other countries.

      traveler's diarrhea: a term used to describe diarrhea caused by infection with bacteria, protozoa, or viruses ingested by consuming food or water that has been contaminated. Two life-threatening types of traveler's diarrhea are caused by cholera and giardiasis.

      tremor: a rhythmical shaking of a limb, head, mouth, tongue, or other part of the body.

      tretinoin: a drug which is chemically related to vitamin A; used to treat acne and other scaly skin disorders.

      trichomoniasis: very common type of vaginitis caused by a single-celled organism usually transmitted during sexual contact.

      trichotillomania: a disorder characterized by recurrent, compulsive hair pulling.

      tricuspid valve: the heart valve that controls blood flow from the right atrium into the right ventricle.

      trigger finger: an irritation of the digital sheath that surrounds the flexor tendons of the finger. When the tendon sheath becomes thickened or swollen, it pinches the tendon and prevents it from gliding smoothly. In some cases, the tendon catches and then suddenly releases as though a trigger were released.

      trigger point: hypersensitive area or site in muscle or connective tissue, usually associated with myofascial pain syndromes.

      triglyceride: a fat-like substance found in the blood.

      trimester: a pregnancy is divided into phases, each lasting about three months.

      trimester: period of three months.

      tropical sprue: condition of unknown cause. Abnormalities in the lining of the small intestine prevent the body from absorbing food normally.

      tubal ligation: surgical sterilization procedure in which the fallopian tubes are sealed or cut to prevent sperm from reaching an egg.

      tube feeding (also called enteral nutrition): a way to provide food through a tube placed in the nose, stomach, or small intestine. A tube in the nose is called a nasogastric or nasoantral tube. A tube that goes through the skin into the stomach is called a gastrostomy or percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy (PEG). A tube into the small intestine is called a jejunostomy or percutaneous endoscopic jejunostomy (PEJ) tube.

      tuberculosis (TB): an infectious disease that was once a major killer worldwide. The predominant TB organism is Mycobacterium tuberculosis (M. tuberculosis). Spread person-to-person in airborne droplets caused by sneezing or coughing, the bacteria usually infects the lungs. However, due to improved nutrition, housing, sanitation, medical care, and the introduction of antibiotics this century, reported TB cases in the U.S. have declined dramatically.

      tumor: an abnormal lump or mass of tissue. Tumors can be benign (non-cancerous) or malignant (cancerous).tunica vaginalis: a thin pouch that holds the testes within the scrotum.

      tunnel surgery (also called percutaneous nephrolithotomy): a small cut is made in the patient's back and a narrow tunnel is made through the skin to the stone inside the kidney. The physician can remove the stone through this tunnel.

      tympanometry: a test that allows for air and sound to be directed into the middle ear.

      tympanoplasty: surgical repair of the eardrum (tympanic membrane) or bones of the middle ear.

      type 1 diabetes: a condition in which the body's immune system destroys the cells in the pancreas that produce insulin. Insulin allows glucose to enter the cells of the body to provide energy. Persons with type 1diabetes must take daily insulin injections.

      type 2 diabetes: a condition in which the body either makes too little insulin or cannot properly use the insulin it makes to convert blood glucose to energy. Type 2 diabetes may be controlled with diet, exercise, and weight loss, or may require oral medications and/or insulin injections.

      typhoid fever: a life-threatening bacterial infection caused by the bacterium Salmonella Typhi (S. Typhi); often transmitted by contaminated water, food, or milk.

      tyrosine: the amino acid from which dopamine is made.

      ulcer: sore on the skin surface or on the stomach lining.

      ulcerative colitis: a serious disease that causes ulcers and irritation in the inner lining of the colon and rectum.

      ulnar bone: the longer of the two bones in the forearm.

      ultrasound (also called sonography): a diagnostic imaging technique which uses high-frequency sound waves and a computer to create images of blood vessels, tissues, and organs. Ultrasounds are used to view internal organs as they function, and to assess blood flow through various vessels.

      ultraviolet radiation: invisible rays that come from the sun. Ultraviolet radiation can damage the skin and cause melanoma and other types of skin cancer.

      umbilical cord: a rope-like cord connecting the fetus to the placenta. The umbilical cord contains two arteries and a vein, which carry oxygen and nutrients to the fetus and waste products away from the fetus.

      umbilical cord blood transplant: a procedure in which stem cells are taken from an umbilical cord immediately after delivery of an infant.

      umbilical hernia: a weakness in the abdominal muscles.

      unilateral: affecting one side of the body. For example, unilateral kidney cancer occurs in one kidney only.

      upper GI (gastrointestinal) series (also called barium swallow): a diagnostic test that examines the organs of the upper part of the digestive system: the esophagus, stomach, and duodenum (the first section of the small intestine). A fluid called barium (a metallic, chemical, chalky, liquid used to coat the inside of organs so that they will show up on an x-ray) is swallowed. X-rays are then taken to evaluate the digestive organs.

      urea: the nitrogen part of urine produced from the breakdown of protein.

      urea breath test: test used to detect Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) infection. The test measures breath samples for urease, an enzyme H. pylori produces.

      ureterocele: the portion of the ureter closest to the bladder becomes enlarged because the ureter opening is very tiny and obstructs urine outflow; urine backs up in the ureter tube.

      ureteroscope: an optical device which is inserted into the urethra and passed up through the bladder to the ureter; to inspect the opening of the ureters.

      ureters: two narrow tubes that carry urine from the kidneys to the bladder.

      urethra: narrow channel through which urine passes from the bladder out of the body.

      urethritis: an infection limited to the urethra.

      urge incontinence: the inability to hold urine long enough to reach a restroom. It is often found in people who have conditions such as diabetes, stroke, dementia, Parkinson's disease, and multiple sclerosis, but may be an indication of other diseases or conditions that would also warrant medical attention.

      urgent surgery (also called emergency surgery): an operation performed immediately as a result of an urgent medical condition.

      urinalysis: laboratory examination of urine for various cells and chemicals, such as red blood cells, white blood cells, infection, or excessive protein.

      urinary incontinence: the loss of bladder control.

      urinary retention: the inability to empty the bladder.

      urinary tract infection (UTI): an infection that occurs in the urinary tract; often caused by bacteria such as Escherichia coli. A urinary tract infection often causes frequent urination, pain, and burning when urinating, and blood in the urine.

      urine flow study: a test in which the patient urinates into a special device that measures how quickly the urine is flowing. A reduced flow may suggest benign prostatic hyperplasia(BPH).

      urogenital: refers to the urinary and reproductive systems.

      urology: the branch of medicine concerned with the urinary tract in both genders, and with the genital tract or reproductive system in the male.

      urticaria (also called hives): a condition in which red, itchy, and swollen areas appear on the skin: usually as an allergic reaction from eating certain foods or taking certain medications.

      urushiol: resin in poison ivy plants that causes an allergic skin reaction.

      Usher's syndrome: A hereditary disease that affects hearing and vision.

      uterine wall: the wall of the uterus.

      uterus (also called the womb): a hollow, pear-shaped organ located in a woman's lower abdomen, between the bladder and the rectum, that sheds its lining each month during menstruation and in which a fertilized egg (ovum) becomes implanted and the fetus develops.

      vacuum aspiration: procedure in which a suction tube attached to a vacuum pump is inserted through the vagina into the uterus to loose