A direct ELISA
|A direct ELISA (enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay), also known as a ‘sandwich’ ELISA is used for the detection of antigen in a sample.|
|An abdominal aortic aneurysm is a bulge in the abdominal aorta as a result of weakening of the artery wall.|
Abdominal distention is a condition commonly associated with over-eating. The abdomen becomes swollen and gaseous.
Abdominoplasty (Tummy Tuck)
Abdominoplasty, also known as a tummy tuck, is a cosmetic surgery procedure that involves the removal of excessive skin and fat from the abdominal area to give a more taut appearance. It often also alters abdominal muscles to create a smoother appearance with increased tone.
The abducens nerves (also called cranial nerve VI) are a pair of nerves which regulate the sideways movement of the eyeballs.
|Abduction refers to a motion that pulls a structure away from the midline of the body. In the case of limbs, it is the midline of the limb.|
Abductor digiti minimi
|Abductor digiti minimi is a muscle in the hand that abducts the little finger.|
Abductor muscles are any muscle that controls movement of the limbs away from the midline of the body.
Abductor pollicis brevis
|Abductor pollicis brevis is a muscle in the hand that abducts the thumb.|
Abductor Spasmodic Dysphonia (ABSD)
Abductor spasmodic dysphonia (ABSD) is a type of spasmodic dysphonia. It involves hyperabduction of the laryngeal muscles during speech production, which results in the opening of the vocal cords. ABSD is the less common form of spasmodic dysphonia. It is characterised by breathiness with aphonic whispered speech segments.
Abelcet is a drug for infusion into the vein. It contains amphotericin B as the active compound.
Other inactive ingredients are:
|Abilify (Aripiprazole) is an antipsychotic drug used in the treatment of schizophrenia.|
Abnormal pain interpretation
|Abnormal pain interpretation is when the brain interprets pain signals carried by nerves incorrectly. The person will then experience pain when there is no longer an external contributor. An external contributor could be inflammation for example.|
Abortion refers to the termination of pregnancy, and can be either pharmacologically or surgically based. Abortions are usually carried out to avoid an unwanted or unplanned pregnancy, or a pregnancy that is dangerous to the mother.
|Abruptio placentae refers to bleeding during pregnancy resulting from the premature detachment of the placenta from the wall of the womb.|
|A collection of pus contained within a tissue cavity. Abscesses develop due to infections and reactions against foreign bodies. They are in fact a response of the body's immune system as they try to wall off the infection from the rest of the body. Abscesses can occur at numerous sites in the body.|
|An absence seizure is a type of generalized seizure (i.e. a seizure that affects both sides of the brain) that results in a temporary loss of perception of which the patient has no recollection.|
|Absenteeism is where employees take time off their normal work duties due to physical or psychological illness, family responsibilities, bereavement or other commitments.|
Abstinence, in sexual and reproductive health, refers to a sexually transmitted infection (STI) prevention strategy in which the individual avoids sexual activity. To effectively prevent sexually transmitted infections, individuals must abstain from vaginal, oral and anal sex, and ensure their genitals do not come into contact with their partner's.
An acanthocyte is an abnormal red blood cell which under microscopy appears “spiky”. Acanthocythosis describes the condition whereby acantocytes are present in the bloodstream.
|A condition associated with insulin resistance, characterized by darkening of the skin and a velvety texture to affected areas. This is another cause of benign melanocytic lesions.|
|Accolate is a treatment of asthma|
|Accommodation refers to the ability to adjust the strength of the eye lens by changing its shape, regulated by the ciliary muscle.|
|Accupril is used in the treatment of hypertension and as an adjunct in the treatment of congestive heart failure.|
|Accure is the treatment of severe cystic acne.|
|Accuretic is the treatment of hypertension. Treatment should not be initiated with these fixed dose combinations.|
ACE Inhibitor (Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme Inhibitor)
|Angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors are medications commonly used for blood pressure control. They block the body's conversion of a chemical, angiotensin I, into a substance which increases the body's retention of salt and fluid. Salt and fluid retention increases blood pressure; therefore, blocking the conversion of angiotensin I is an effective means of blood pressure control.|
|Acenorm is used in the treatment of; - Hypertension. Captopril is effective as a singleragent or in combination with other antihypertensive agents such as thiazide-type diuretics. - Myocardial infarction. Captopril improves survival rates following myocardial infarction and reduces the incidence of heart failure in these patients. - Heart failure - Diabetic nephropathy in patients with type I diabetes mellitus.|
Acetaldehyde is the major metabolite formed when alcohol is broken down by the liver. Acetaldehyde is toxic to the human body.
Achilles tendon tear
|An achilles tendon tear involves the tearing of the tendon behind the ankle that connects the leg and ankle to the heel bone.|
Achromycin is used for the treatment of infections caused some Gram negative micro-organisms.
|Restoration and maintenance of vaginal acidity.|
For more information, see Heartburn and Reflux.
|Acne is a skin condition characterized by the presence of one or more of the following: blackheads, whiteheads, papules and pustules.|
Acoustic neuroma refers to a tumour of the vestibular cochlear nerve, which is the nerve which connects the ear to the brain. These are rare and slow growing tumours which may affect hearing and other senses and cause numbness and pain, including headaches. Treatments include surgery or radiosurgery to remove the tumour.
Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS)
More information on Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS)
Acquired Immune System
The acquired immune system is part of the immune system that protects the body from infection, if the infection manages to get past the innate immune system. The aquired immune system is composed mostly of T cells and B cells. It needs to have seen an infectious agent before to protect the body adequately.
|Increased growth hormone level resulting in abnormal enlargement of face, hands and feet.|
Acromioclavicular joint (AC joint)
The acromioclavicular joint (AC joint) is the site where the collarbone connects to and struts the shoulder blade out from the body, allowing the surrounding muscle to work at their most effective tensions and generate more power. The AC joint commonly wears out as we get older resulting in arthritis, which may or may not be painful.
More information on the Shoulder Joint.
More information on the Shoulder Joint.
Acrosome (acrosomal cap)
The acrosome, also known as the acrosomal cap, is a helmet-like structure which covers the front section of the head portion of a sperm cell. It contains a compartment of enzymes which develops during spermatogenesis (sperm production). Enzymes contained in this compartment assist in the process of fertilisation. They are only released if the sperm comes into contact with a female egg at which point they breakdown the shell of the egg to enable entry of the sperm and subsequent fertilisation.
The acrosome reaction is an important reproductive function which assists a sperm to break through the shell of the egg and enter its nucleus for fertilisation. Each sperm cell has an acrosomal cap, which contains a capsule of enzymes that breakdown the shell of the egg in the process known as the acrosome reaction. This process only occurs if a sperm comes into close proximity with an egg.
When the acrosome reaction occurs, the acrosomal cap lengthens into a tube (acrosomal tube) which fuses with the outer layer of the egg. It releases the enzymes which break down the oocyte’s zona pellucida (shell). Once the shell is broken down, the sperm is able to penetrate the shell and enter the nucleus of the oocyte, through the acrosome tube. The sperm and egg can then combine their chromosomes to complete the fertilisation process.
|Actinic keratoses are scaly, thick patches on the skin that occur due to excessive exposure to the sun. They are also called solar keratoses. They are precancerous and should be examined by a doctor.|
Action potential/Nerve impulse
|Action potentials are spikes of electrical discharge, like voltage, that carry information through neurons.|
Action-induced myoclonus is a disabling myoclonus (brief and involuntary muscle contractions), often expressed multifocally and worsened by voluntary movement; especially fine, coordinated movements.
For more information, see Myoclonus.
Activated Partial Thromboplastin Time (APTT)
|A method for measuring the intrinsic and common pathways of coagulation, this test measures factors XII, XI, IX, and VIII and is sensitive to inhibitors such as heparin. Petechiae can result conditions which cause a prolonged aPPT.|
Active ingredient (medication)
The active ingredient in a drug is the chemical in the drug that affects physiological functioning. In other words, it is the ingredient that makes the drug work.
Active involuntary euthanasia
|Active involuntary euthanasia is a form of physician assisted death whereby medical intervention takes place, without the patient's request, in order to end the patient's life.|
|Active listening involves listening to the person whom speaking to and echoing, paraphrasing and acknowledging what is being said. Also non-verbal communication such as nodding and appropriate facial expressions are used. Active listening enables the speaker to feel that they are being listened to and supported. Active listening is an essential part of communication.|
Active muscle movement
|Active muscle movement, as opposed to passive muscle movement, is when the muscle is actively and voluntarily moved. The more intense the active movements, the greater the muscle tone.|
|Active Surveillance is the watchful waiting of a patients' condition by a doctor. Surveillance is carried out instead of active treatment when the risks of the treatment outweigh the benefiits. For example the risk of some small, non aggressive, localised prostate cancers ever spreading is very low, however the treatment to remove can leave the patient with urinary symptoms and other side effects. In this case the cancer is closely monitored to make sure it does not spread. If it does spread active treatment will be carried out.|
Active voluntary euthanasia
|Active voluntary euthanasia is a form of physician assisted death whereby medical intervention takes place, at a patient's request, in order to end the patient's life.|
Acute dystonia is dystonia that has a rapid onset and involves intense symptoms, but is only experienced for a brief duration.
Acute foetal distress
|Acute foetal distress is a collection of signs experienced by a pregnant woman that indicate the foetus is not well or extremely tired such as decreased kicking and movement.|
|Acute mania is mania which has sudden onset and is of short duration.|
Acute otitis media
|Acute otitis media is defined by presence of fluid in the middle ear and inflammation in the middle ear. Fluid in the middle ear can be detected by the doctor using an otoscope and looking for changes in the ear drum. Inflammation in the middle ear is experienced by the patient as ear pain (otalgia) and seen by the doctor as reddening of the ear drum.|
|Acute pain is a short-term feeling of pain felt in response to an easily identifiable cause, such as surgery, some kind of trauma, or an acute illness. Acute pain generally lasts for less than three months.|
Acute rejection is a type of rejection that is mediated by T cells and usually becomes apparent 7 days post-transplant. The recipient's T cells recognise alloantigens and cause white blood cell infiltration into the transplanted organ.
Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome
|Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS) is a life-threatening lung condition characterised by a rapid onset of breathlessness and tachypnoea (rapid breathing). It may be caused by various medical and surgical conditions such as pneumonia, sepsis, aspiration and trauma. It is a non-specific inflammatory reaction of the lungs to various irritants.|
Acute Treatment-Induced Nausea and Vomiting
Acute treatment-induced nausea and vomiting refers to nausea and vomiting that occur in response to a treatment (usually medication) within 24 hours. For example, the medications used in cancer treatment often cause nausea and vomiting as a side effect.
|Adalat 10 and Adalat 20 are conventional tablets containing the active ingredient nifedipine. This is a calcium channel blocker in this case used to treat angina due to coronary heart disease and high blood pressure.|
|Adalat Oros belongs to a class of drugs called calcium channel blockers. It it primarily used to treat high blood pressure and chronic, unstable angina.|
|Addison's disease (also referred to as adrenal insufficency or hypocorticism) is an endocrine disorder in which the steroid hormones (glucocorticoids and often mineralocorticoids) are produced in insufficent amounts by the adrenal gland.|
Adduction refers to a motion that pulls a structure towards the midline of the body. In the case of limbs, it is the midline of the limb.
|Adductor pollicis is a muscle in the hand that allows adduction and helps to oppose the thumb.|
Adductor Spasmodic Dysphonia (ADSD)
Adductor spasmodic dysphonia (ADSD) is a type of spasmodic dysphonia. It involves sudden, involuntary hyperadduction of the laryngeal muscles during vowel production, resulting in closure of the vocal cords. This causes "breaks" during speech.
|This is a type of cancer that affects cells that line the walls of different organs of the body, most often tissue that contains glands. CAD can help detect adenocarcinomas that affect the lung.|
Adenocarcinoma of the breast
|Adenocarcinoma of the breast is a form of breast cancer originating in the milk ducts and/or lobules (glandular tissue) of the breast.|
Adenocarcinoma of the lung
|Adenocarcinoma of the lung is one of the main types of lung cancers. Adenocarcinoma of the lung arises from the secretory (glandular) cells located in the epithelium lining the bronchi.|
Adenoma is the growth of cells originated from the glandular. This benign development of cells may progress to become malignant that are then called adenocarcinomas. Adenoma can cause drastic health issues as it exerts pressure on other organs and produces excessive uncontrolled hormone production.
Adenosine Diphosphate (ADP)
Adenosine diphosphate (ADP) is an enzyme which is an important product of metabolism. It is formed when the compound adenosine triphosphate (ATP) releases a phosphate group. ATP is an important energy transfer molecule in cells. ADP is stored in platelet granules and is released upon platelet activation. It helps promote the clumping and aggregation of platelets, which helps your blood to clot.
Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP)
Adenosine triphosphate (ATP) is an important substance for the body's metabolism. When it is broken down, ATP releases large amounts of energy that can be used by cells and tissues to perform their functions. ATP is therefore sometimes called the 'universal energy currency'.
Adjustment disorder refers to significant emotional or behavioural problems that develop in response to stressful situations.
|Adjuvant treatment refers to anticancer therapy that is given after primary treatment of the cancer, for example surgery or radiotherapy.|
ADL - Activities of daily living
|These include self-care and other tasks.|
|The transition period between childhood and adulthood. It typically occurs between the ages of 10-13 years in girls and 12-15 years in boys. It involves social and psychological changes that occur with maturing. It occurs at a similar time to puberty in both males and females.|
Adoptive cellular therapy
Adoptive cellular therapy refers to a group of treatments which use cells harvested form the human body for treatment. The cells are cloned and reproduced, then put back into the body. Adoptive cellular therapies are being developed for treating cancer.
Adrenal hyperplasia refers to a condition characterised by an enlarged adrenal gland, caused by the excessive growth of normal adrenal cells. The condition may be congenital, or may become evident later in life.
Adrenal suppression refers to suppression of hormone production by the adrenal gland, which produces the hormone cortisol. In may occur in response to diseases affecting the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis, such as tumours of the pituitary gland. It also commonly occurs as a result of corticosteroids and may lead to Cushing's syndrome.
|Adrenaline is a drug that leads to increased blood pressure, increased heart rate, increased air entry, increased blood glucose, stimulates cardiac activity and reduce allergic reactions by reducing inflammatory response caused by histamine.Adrenaline action is fast yet it has a short duration.|
|Adrenocortical carcinoma is the progress of malignant tumour in the adrenal gland cortex. It affects the hormone producing system in the kidney and thus have adverse consequences as it invades adjacent tissues and mestatisize to distant organs.|
|A hormone, synthesized and stored in the anterior pituitary, which is released in large amounts during a stress response. This has been hypothesized to be strongly associated with increased numbers of moles.|
|Adult teeth are also known as permanent teeth. Adult teeth aid in digestion, speech and general appearance. In total there are 32 adult teeth.|
Advanced Glycation End-Products
Advanced glycation end-products are the results of glycation, a process characterised by the bonding of a carbohydrate to a protein or other chemical. With ageing, glycation of blood sugars causes irreversible damage to many proteins by binding to them. This binding causes degradation of the protein, which then becomes an advanced glycation end-product.
Advergaming is the practice of using video games to advertise a particular product, viewpoint or organisation. This is particularly common with free online games commissioned by major companies.
Adverse drug reaction (ADR)
|Adverse drug reaction (abbreviated ADR) is a term used to describe the unwanted, negative consequences of drug therapy.|
An adverse effect of a drug is a rare, undesirable and potentially harmful side effect. When determining whether a patient should be prescribed a certain drug, a medical professional will assess whether the patient is likely to experience an adverse effect. If so, they will not receive the drug.
|Aerobic refers to activities that require the presence of oxygen.|
|A persons aerobic capacity refers to the amount of oxygen consumed when exercising. The greater the aerobic capacity the longer the person will be able to withstand physical activity. Aerobic capacity is a measure of physical fitness.|
Aetiology refers to the cause of a disease. A disease's aetiology is the reason behind its occurrence.
Affect lability is a condition characterised by excessive emotional reactions and emotional instability or mood swings.
Afferent neurons carry signals towards the central nervous system (CNS) - afferent means "towards". They provide information about the external environment and the regulatory functions being carried out by the nervous system.
Age related macular degeneration
Age related macular degeneration refers to the deterioration of an individual's vision with age.
|Agglutination is the clumping of red blood cells bound together by antibodies.|
|Aggregatibacter actinomycetemcomitans is a bacteria found in the mouth involved with severe infections in the oral cavity, mainly associated with gum disease.|
Agility is body’s ability to accelerate and decelerate movements rapidly. Having good agility is especially useful for netballers and footballers.
An agonist is an agent, usually a pharmaceutical product, which acts to increase the normal effect of a cell. For example, an agonist that binds to a cell membrane opening enzyme may work to increase the rate in which the enzyme normally opens the cell membrane, this in turn will induce a physiological effect. Agonists can also work to change the functioning of certain proteins.
|A fear (phobia) of going outside the home.|
|Agranulocytes are a type of white blood cell that do not contain granules, as opposed to granulocytes. They consist of lymphocytes and monocytes.|
|Agranulocytosis is a serious condition whereby white cell counts are abnormally low. This means that the body's ability to fight off infections is severely impaired. Some medications may increase the risk of agranulocytosis. Hence anyone who are on such a medication and experiences any signs of infection (e.g. sore throat, fever or mouth ulcers) need to seek urgent medical assistance.|
|Agrylin is a medication used to treat essential thrombocythaemia, a disorder of the blood characterized by elevated levels of platelets. Platelets are cell fragments that are involved in the formation of blood clots when blood vessels are injured.|
Curing or drying tobacco is the first step in processing the tobacco necessary to prepare the tobacco for consumption. There are several ways tobacco can be cured including a process called air-curing. Air-cured tobacco is tobacco leaves which are left to dry naturally. The leaves are hung in big barn-like shelters with room temperature air pumped in. The leaves need to stay in the shelter until the leaf has turned a light brown colour. At this point the leaf is left with hardly any sugar content.
More information on tobacco
Akathisia is a condition characterised by unpleasant sensations in the lower legs which results in constant restlessness of movement of the legs in an attempt to relieve the sensations. Movement typically relieves the symptoms but may disturb sleep or other activities. The cause of akathisia is not well understood; however, the condition is often associated with use of some medications and neurological conditions.
Alanine Aminotransferase (ALT)
Alanine aminotransferase is an enzyme normally found in the heart and liver. When the liver or heart is damaged, this enzyme is released into the blood. It may also be found in the blood after using some medications.
Albumin-bound testosterone refers to testosterone circulating in blood which is bound loosely to the carrier protein albumin. Testosterone binds loosely to albumin, meaning that it can separate in order to bind to other molecules or androgen receptor sites in androgen-regulated cells. Albumin-bound teststerone is considered to be bioavailable, meaning that it is available to body cells, unlike testosterone bound to another carrier protein known as sex hormone binding globulin, which is tightly bound and cannot separate to make itself available to body cells. About half of the testosterone in a person's blood is albumin-bound.
|Alcohol is a potent substance that contains ethanol. Consumption of alcohol can have pleasurable effects in such as increased social skills and happiness. If too much alcohol is consumed the effects can be very displeasent including nausea and vomitting and headache and in extreme cases it can lead to unconsciousness and death. When alcohol is consumed it heightens mood; if you are happy it will make you happier, if you are depressed it will make you more depressed.|
|Alcohol relapse is the return to consuming excessive amounts of alcohol after successfully giving up.|
|Alcohol tolerance is the reduction of normal response to alcohol, becoming intoxicated, after excessive and prolonged use. In order to become drunk the people who have developed a tolerance to alcohol will need to drink more.|
Alcoholic cardiomyopathy is heart disease which is caused by excessive alcohol consumption. Alcohol directly affects the heart muscle and eventually leads to heart failure.
Alcoholic gastritis is inflammation of the lining of the stomach caused by excessive alcohol consumption.
Alcoholic liver disease (ALD)
Damage to the liver as a result of alcohol consumption is called alcoholic liver disease (ALD) which describes a range of liver conditions such as:
Alcoholic myopathy is a muscle disease that is the result of excessive consumption of alcohol. The alcohol causes deterioration of the muscles which results in symptoms such as tingling sensations in the legs and loss of balance.
Alcoholic pancreatitis is pancreatitis that is a direct result of alcohol consumption. The condition most commonly occurs in males in their 40's and symptoms include vomiting, abdominal pain and tender abdomen.
Alcoholic polyneuropathy describes the damage to multiple nerves that can result from excessive drinking of alcohol. Symptoms include numbness of the arms and legs.
Alcoholism (alcohol dependence)
|Alcoholism is the physical and psychological dependence on alcohol whereby not having alcohol causes a series of unpleasent withdrawal effects, including depression, anxiety, delerium, migraine, nausea and vomiting. Alcoholism develops with continuous and heavy consumption of alcohol over a period of time.|
|Aldara is a brand of medicinal cream that contains an active ingredient called imiquimod.|
|Aldomet works to lower your blood pressure by controlling impulses along several nerve pathways. This causes your blood vessels to relax and widen so that blood passes through them more easily.|
|The Aleurone layer is the outermost layer of endosperm in cereals|
Alimta is a medication used to treat cancer, which may be referred to as a chemotherapy medication, a cytotoxic agent or an antineoplastic agent. It is used to treat two types of lung cancer, mesothelioma and non-small cell lung cancer. It contains an active ingredient called pemetrexed. This ingredient affects the action of enzymes found in cells, which stop the multiplication of, or slow the growth of cancer cells.
|Melphalan (Alkeran) is an alkylating agent that interferes with cellular replication by forming cross-linkages between DNA strands.|
|Alkylresorcinols are phenolic lipids compounds present in high amounts in the bran layer (e.g. pericarp, testa and aleurone layers) of wheat and rye.|
An allele is the name given to one of a set of alternative forms of a gene. In each cell there are 23 chromosome pairs which carry the same genes but these genes will vary differently as one set comes from the egg and one from the sperm. Alleles exist on the same location on the chromosome.
|An allergen is a substance that produces an allergic reaction in a patient. Common allergens include dust and pollen. Asthma is commonly triggered by allergens, which bronchodilators are used to treat.|
Allergic Conjunctivitis (AC)
Allergic conjunctivitis refers to the process by which the conjunctiva becomes inflamed due to allergic reactions, also known as hypersensitivity reactions. Typically the eye is uncomfortable, itchy and red.
|A state of hypersensitivity induced by exposure to a substance (allergen) that results in harmful immunologic reactions in the body.|
Allergic rhinitis is the medical name for a condition affecting the lining of the nose. With allergic rhinitis the lining of the nose becomes inflamed and causes symptoms including runny or blocked nose, sneezing and itching. There are two types of allergic rhinitis. Perennial allergic rhinitis occurs throughout the year. Seasonal allergic rhinitis, or hayfever, occurs only in particular seasons (e.g. during spring or summer).
|Allergies occur when the immune system reacts against harmless substances in the environment.|
|Allodynia is a condition where an individual reports a heightened experience of pain to stimuli that are usually not painful (e.g. a light touch).|
Allogenic means derived from someone else. For example an allogenic vaccine is one which is developed using tissues from one person, for treatment of another person.
Alpha Cells (Pancreas)
|This is one of the enzymes involved in breaking down carbohydrates. By inhibiting this enzyme, carbohydrates are not broken down as efficiently and glucose absorption is delayed, helping blood sugar control.|
|Alphagan contains a drug (medicine) called brimonidine.|
Alternative therapies are treatments used as replacements for traditional medical treatments (i.e. they are used instead of medicines and other treatments). They include herbal remedies, touch therapies such as massage, cognitive and behavioural training and dietary modifications. Alternative therapies are common, though there is a lack of scientific evidence regarding the effectiveness and safety of many.
It is important never to stop taking medications and other treatments prescribed by a doctor without first talking to your doctor. If you are interested in using an alternative therapy, talk to your doctor about the evidence for the therapy and the risks of withdrawing from your current treatment before you make any changes.
|Alveoli are small folded membranes, shaped like a bunch of grapes where gas exchange takes place. Alveoli are situated at the end of bronchioles.|
Alvesco is an inhaled medication used to prevent asthma. It contains the active ingredient ciclesonide, which belongs to a class of drugs known as corticosteroids. Alvesco is not used to treat acute asthma attacks.
|Alzheimer's disease (AD) is a progressive disease of the brain characterised by failure of memory and disturbances in other cognitive (mental) functions, such as language or perception of reality.|
Amalgam is a material used for dental fillings. It contains a mixture of different metals, including primarily mercury, tin, silver, copper and zinc. The term amalgam essentially means any metal alloy containing mercury.
Amalgams have been approved by most dental boards (including the Australian Dental Association) as safe, and those countries that have abandoned amalgam have done so due to waste disposal issues.
Amblyopia, also commonly known as lazy eye, is a condition in which vision is reduced in one or both eyes. It most commonly affects children and causes decreased vision and misaligned eyes.
|Amelogenesis imperfecta is a congenital disorder where the enamel does not form properly.|
|Amenorrhoea refers to the absence of menstrual bleeding.|
|Amines are naturally occurring, nitrogen containing compounds, derived from amino acids. They can cause food intolerance in sensitive individuals|
Amino acids are the basic structural building units of proteins. There are 20 different kinds of amino acids which, when linked together in different sequences, form proteins.
Some amino acids occur naturally in the body. Other amino acids essential for the body to function normally and for overall health cannot be produced by the human body. Instead, these amino acids must be consumed from animal or plant sources.
|Aminoglycosides are a group of antibiotics that are highly effective against gram negative organisms. Aminoglycosides work by stopping the bacteria from making their proteins, thus preventing them from growing and reproducing effectively.|
|Aminosalicylates, also known as mesalamine, is an anti-inflammatory class of drugs used to treat mild-to-moderate IBD with the ultimate aim to relieve symptoms, induce and maintain remission, prevent further complications and improve quality of life.|
|Amlodipine is a drug that belongs to a group of drugs called calcium channel blockers. It works by relaxing blood vessels allowing the heart to pump blood around the body more easily. Relaxing the blood vessels also aids in increasing the oxygen and blood supply to the heart.|
|Amnesia refers profound memory loss which is usually caused either by physical injury to the brain or by the ingestion of a toxic substance which affects the brain.|
Amnesic syndrome is a disorder characterised by impairment of memory. The most common cause is thiamine deficiency associated with alcohol consumption.
|Amniocentesis is a procedure in which a small sample of amniotic fluid is withdrawn from the uterus through a needle inserted in the abdomen. Fetal cells in the fluid undergo karyotyping and possbily other tests in order to detect genetic abnormalities in the fetus.|
|Amniotic fluid is the nourishing and protecting liquid contained by the amnion of a pregnant woman.|
Amniotic fluid embolus
|An amniotic fluid embolus refers to the entry of amniotic fluid into the maternal circulation. The presence of fetal cells especially in the amniotic fluid triggers a reaction similar to anaphylaxis. Although rare (approximately 1 in 50,000 deliveries) it has a high mortality with 25-50% of patients dying in the first hour.|
|The aminiotic sac is the membranous sac surrounding the developing baby within the uterus (womb)|
|Amniotomy is also known as Artificial Rupture of Membranes (ARM). Amniotomy is carried out using a finger with a special glove, or a small hook which is passed though the cervix to ‘nick' the membranes (amniotic sac) surrounding the baby. This causes the ‘waters to break'. This procedure is not generally painful, but may be uncomfortable. It is carried out in order to induce labour, place a scalp monitor on the baby, or check for passing of meconium (the baby's first stool).|
|Amoxil belongs to the penicillin group of antibiotics. It works by attacking the cell walls of sensitive bacteria therefore preventing the bacteria from growing and also killing them. Amoxil can be used to treat gonorrhoea, respiratory infections and urinary infections.|
|Amphiarthroses are slightly moveable joints e.g. syndesmosis (between the tibia and fibula), symphysis (found between vertebral bodies).|
|An amphoteric substance is one that is capable of acting as either an acid or a base.|
|The maximum displacement from zero / baseline during a cycle of an evoked potential.|
|The ampulla is the segment of the fallopian tubes where fertilization usually occurs.For more information please see the female urogenital system.|
|An Amsler grid is a grid of intersecting vertical and horizontal lines with a dot in the middle. Individuals look at the dot and indicate any lines that appear blurred or faded. Seeing blurred or faded lines indicates macular degeneration.
More information on macular degeneration
|The amydala is part of the brain and coordinates the release of hormones and the actions of the autonomic nervous system. It is also part of the limbic system, and has a role in emotion.|
Amylase refers to a group of enzymes that break starch down into sugar.
|Amyloid-beta is a protein found in plaques in the brain responsible for Alzheimer's Disease.|
|Amyloid-beta toxicity is the uncontrolled formation of amyloid-beta in the brain.|
|Amyloidosis is the build-up of a protein in various tissues and organs that can not be broken down by the body. It causes damage by putting pressure on the structures of the body, stopping them from working well.|
Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)
Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis is a condition of the central nervous system. It affects the cells that control voluntary muscle movement, causing muscles to weaken and die, and the individual becomes unable to control voluntary movements. The condition is progressive and eventually fatal.
For more information, see Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis.
An indirect ELISA
|An indirect ELISA is used to detect the presence of antibodies in a sample such as antibodies to HIV.|
|Anabolism is the process through which a living organism synthesises simple substances into complex tissues.|
|Anaemia is a condition where there is a low level of a substance called haemoglobin in the blood. Haemoglobin is responsible for the transport of oxygen around the blood within red blood cells.The most common cause is a low level of iron (iron deficiency anaemia), which is required to create the haemoglobin. The second most common cause is anaemia of chronic disease.|
Anaemia of chronic disease
|Anaemia of chronic disease is a condition where there is a low amount of a molecule called 'haemoglobin' in the blood. This molecule usually brings oxygen around the body and requires iron to be created, but in chronic inflammatory conditions the level can drop even when iron levels are normal. This is due to many different factors, including that the chemicals created during inflammation alter the way the body makes haemoglobin.|
|Anaerobic power is the maximum strength and the velocity of the muscle without the utilisation of oxygen. Muscles use anaerobic power for very quick bursts of exercise, such as a sprint or throwing a discus. Muscle power is a very important determinant of sporting performance.|
Anaesthesia is the process of blocking the perception of pain and other sensations. This allows patients to undergo surgery and other procedures without the distress and pain they would otherwise experience.
|Agrylin is a medication used to treat essential thrombocythaemia, a disorder of the blood characterized by elevated levels of platelets. Platelets are cell fragments that are involved in the formation of blood clots when blood vessels are injured.|
An anal fissure is a small crack or tear in the lining of the anus. It typically occurs when the anus becomes dry and irritated, for example as a result of inflammation. It may be caused by constipation or diarrhoea. Anal fissures are associated with gastrointestinal conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome.
Anal sex refers to sexual intercourse in which a man penetrates his partner's anus. Anal sex occurs in both heterosexual and homosexual relationships.
|Analgesia refers to measures that are taken to relieve pain.|
|An analgesic, or painkiller, is any drug used to relieve pain.|
For more information, see Anaphylaxis.
|Anaphylatic shock is a severe hypersensitivity reaction which can be fatal. Symptoms include laboured breathing, profuse sweating, rapid pulse and collapse.|
|Anaphylaxis is a severe, and sometimes fatal, allergic reaction characterised by low blood pressure (hypotension), localised swelling of the skin and mucous membranes (angio-oedema), narrowing of the airways in the lungs, itching, vomiting and abdominal pain. Common causes include an allergy to drugs (such as penicillin), food allergies (eg peanuts) and bee stings.|
|Androderm contains testosterone which releases testosterone through the skin and into the blood stream through patch. These patches are used for replacement for the body's produced testosterone which is needed for development and maintainance male reproductive tissue as well as other male traits characteristics.|
|An androgen agonist is a medication which opposes the action of hormones from the androgen group, including testosterone.|
Androgen receptor sites
Androgen receptor sites are found in cells that fulfil androgen-regulated functions. They are sites to which circulating androgens bind, allowing the cell to use the androgens (e.g. in hair follicles, androgens bind to androgen receptor sites and stimulate hair growth).
|An androgenetic pregnancy is a pregnancy in which an "empty" egg (i.e. an egg containing no chromosomes) is fertilised by a single sperm, which later duplicates its own chromosome. All genetic materials in such a pregnancy are paternally derived.|
Androgenic alopecia is the name for male and female pattern baldness. In androgenic alopecia the hair loss occurs slowly over years. It can start anytime after age twenty. There is usually a family history of hair loss. In women, the hair slowly becomes thin throughout the scalp and bald spots usually do not occur. Men first develop hair loss at the temples, followed by an enlarging bald spot on top of the head.
Androgens are a group of hormones that develop typically male characteristics in the body, including muscle mass, hair growth and deep voice. They are found in both male and female bodies and fulfil important functions, including regulation of sex drive. Testosterone, the most common form of androgen, is responsible for the growth of male genitals and sperm production.
|The shape of a male's body is referred to as android or "apple-shaped". This shape describes the distribution of body fat in the abdominal region as a pose to females who carry weight on the hips and thighs. Females' bodies are described as gynacoid or "pear-shaped".|
Andropause is a name sometimes used to refer to a condition known as late-onset hypogonadism. It is a condition characterised by abnormally low levels of testosterone in men over 40 years of age. The condition is caused by naturally declining testosterone production, and is sometimes also referred to as male menopause.
ANED - Alive with no evidence of disease
|The number of patients who remain alive without defined clinical or biochemical evidence of disease.|
|Anencephaly is a neural tube defect which results in an infant being born with a malformed skull and all or part of the brain missing.|
An aneuploidy refers to an abnormal number of chromosomes within a cell. Most normal cells contain 46 chromosomes, with the exception of sex cells (sperm and eggs) which contain 23 chromosomes each. Cells with different number of cells are aneuploidy and aneuploidy in sex cells can lead to genetic conditions such as Down syndrome.
|An aneurysm is blood-filled bulging of a blood vessel. Aneuryms are caused by weakening of the vessel wall. Aneurysms commonly occur in the aorta or the arteries in base of the brain. If the aneurysm is not detected and treated the aneurysm will expand and there is a risk it will rupture, causing major hemorrage.|
|Angina is a pain in the chest that is due to the heart not getting enough oxygen. This is usually due to a narrowing of the blood vessels supplying the heart (coronary heart disease). Angina pain is usually made worse with physical activity, when the heart needs more oxygen.|
Angina pectoris refers to pain or a strangling sensation in the chest.
For more information, see Angina Pectoris.
Angiography is an imaging tool that allows the inside of blood vessels to be seen.
Angiontensin II receptor blockers
|Angiotensin II Receptor Blockers (ARBs) are a class of drugs used to treat hypertension.|
|Angioplasty is used in the treatment for coronary artery disease (CAD), where plaques blocking an artery restrict blood flow to the heart. Angioplasty is a surgical procedure to push the plaque against the artery wall, thus allowing more blood to flow through the artery.|
Angiotensin II receptor blockers
|Angiotensin II receptor blockers are a class of drug used to treat hypertension.
For more information see, Angiotensin II Receptor Blockers (ARBs)
Angiotensin receptor blockers
|Angiotensin receptor blockers are medications commonly used for blood pressure control. They work by blocking receptors which are necessary to synthesise angiotensin I, and thus work in a similar manner to angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors.|
|Anhedonia is a loss of pleasure in activities that where once pleasurable.|
Anhydrous crystalline maltose (ACM)
|Amorphous crystalline maltose (ACM) is an agent that is experimentally being used to increase the amount of saliva flow in people with a dry mouth.|
|Aniridia refers to a congenital condition where the iris of the eye is underdeveloped.|
|Ankylosing Spondylitis is a generalised chronic inflammatory disease, mainly affecting the spine and sacroiliac joints. It is characterised by pain or stiffness of the back, often with involvement of the hips and shoulders.|
|Ankylosis is a medical term used to describe stiffning of a joint due to abnormal adhesion or rigidity of the joint itself.|
Ann Arbor system
|The Ann Arbor System is a method of tumour classification used to classify the cancer into a stage which indicates how severe the cancer is and how likely it is that treatment will be successful. The Ann Arbor System is used to classify Lymphoma|
|An anoretic is a product that suppresses appetite.|
|Anorexia is a serious condition that is due to a disturbed body image and self-imposed dietary limitation that usually leads to serious malnutrition. Weight loss can be either though greatly reduced eating, rigorous exercise or regular binge eating followed by purging.|
|Anorgasmia is a condition in which the individual is unable to orgasm.|
|Anosmia is a medical term used to refer to a reduced sense of taste.|
Anovulatory means the release of ovum (egg) from the ovary is not accompanied by ovulation.
An antacid is a substance which neutralises acid.
|An antagonist is an agent, usually a pharmaceutical product, which acts to inhibit a normal physiological response. For example, if an antagonist binds to a cell surface protein it will block the enzyme in the body that would normally bind.|
Antenatal care refers to the series of medical appointments conducted throughout a pregnancy to better the health of both mother and baby.
|Antepartum haemorrhage refers to bleeding from the genital tract in a pregnancy greater than twenty weeks gestation.|
Anterior chamber flare
Anterior chamber flare is a condition in which particles of fluid are found in the back chamber of the eye. These particles affect the way in which light is reflected by the eye, and therefore affect vision.
Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) tear
|The anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) is one of the most important of four strong ligaments connecting the bones of the knee joint. The function of the ACL is to provide stability to the knee and minimise stress across the knee joint. A tear to the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) results from overstretching of this ligament within the knee.|
|Anterograde amnesia is a form of amnesia where new events are not transferred to long-term memory. It is a deficit in learning subsequent to the onset of the disorder.|
|Anthrax is caused by Bacillus anthracis. Bacillus anthracis is a bacteria which is found in the environment in soil. The spores of these Gram-positive bacilli are extremely hardy and withstand extremes of temperature and humidity.|
Anti D immunoglobulin
Anti D immunoglobulin works by rapidly destroying any blood cells from your baby, that have entered your circulation before you can make any antibodies. It is important to administer Anti D immunoglobulin in all cases of abortion or other cases where there is the potential for blood to transfer from the foetal circulation into the maternal (mothers) circulation if the mother is RhD negative, to prevent formation of antibodies, which causes a whole range of possible complications in future pregnancies.
Anti-angiogenics are a group of medications that work to inhibit the growth of new blood vessels.
Anti apoptotic means protecting against apoptosis (cell death).
|Anti-bacterials (antibiotics) are defined as compounds used to kill or inhibit the growth of bacterial organisms within a host. There are two main types of antibiotics - bactericidal and bacteriostatic antibiotics.|
|Antibiotics (Anti-Bacterials) are defined as compounds used to kill or inhibit the growth of bacterial organisms within a host. There are two main types of antibiotics - bactericidal and bacteriostatic antibiotics.|
Antibodies are a vital part of the acquired immune system. Antibodies are released from Plasma Cells (a type of B Cell) into the blood or lymph in response to an antigenic stimulus, such as a bacterium, virus, parasite, or transplanted organ. These Antibodies are capable of latching onto foreign particles and signalling to the cells of the immune system that it should be phagocytosed (eaten).
Anticholinergic medicines are those which exert their therapeutics effects by interfering with the actions of a chemical called acetylcholine. Acetylcholine is a neurotransmitter; that is, a chemical involved in transmitting nervous signals to and from the brain.
|Anticholinesterases are a class of drugs that decrease breakdown of acetylcholine (a chemical messenger in the brain) and can be used in conditions whereby there is an apparent lack of this messenger transmission such as in Alzheimer's disease. Members of this class include Reminyl (galantamine), Aricept (donepezil), neostigmine, Mestinon (pyridostigmine) and Elexon (rivastigmine).|
|Anticipation is the term used to describe a pattern of inheritance in which an affected individual is more severely affected that their affected parent. This phenomenon is a feature of diseases resulting from protein expansions, since the expansions can become larger in subsequent generations.
Anticipatory Treatment-Induced Nausea and Vomiting
Anticipatory treatment-induced nausea and vomiting refers to nausea and vomiting that occur in anticipation of treatment (e.g. chemotherapy). It typically affects individuals who have experienced acute or delayed nausea and vomiting after several previous treatment sessions.
Anticoagulants are substances that work against (anti-) the process of blood clotting (coagulation).
Anticonvulsant Hypersensitivity Syndrome
|Carbamazepine, oxcarbazepine and phenytoin are associated with this rare, but serious syndrome. It usually occurs after 1 to 4 weeks of therapy and is characterised by fever, rash and systemic organ involvement. If you notice any unusual rashes or feel unwell, consult your doctor as soon as possible.|
Antidepressants are a class of drug which act to relieve the symptoms of depression by elevating noradrenaline, serotonin and dopamine levels in the body which may be described as the “happy” chemicals in the body.
Antidepressents are not stimulants they reduce or relieve the symptoms of depression to allow the user to function normally.
Anti-Diuretic Hormone (ADH)
|An anti-emetic is a drug that is effective against vomiting and nausea|
|Antiepileptic drugs are also refered to as anticonvulsant drugs and are administered to prevent the occurrence of epileptic seizures.|
|Antiepileptics are a class of drugs that try and prevent rapid, repetitive, stimulation of the brain that causes seizure activity such as in epilepsy.|
|An antigen is any substance that the body regards as foreign or dangerous and against which it produces an antibody.|
Antigen Specific Immunotherapy
Antigen specific immunotherapy is a form of treatment for allergy which involves exposing a person with a particular allergy to increasing doses of the substance to which they are allergic. Over time, continued exposure to the allergen develops tolerance in the individuals immune system so that they do not have an allergic reaction when exposed.
Antigen-binding proteins are protein chain sections of an antibody that recognise and join to antigens as they enter the body. Antigens are also proteins which are recognised by the particular antibody. Once these proteins bind to antigens, they present them to cells known as presenting cells, which in turn introduce the antigen to the T cells responsible for mounting an immune response which destroy the antigen.
Antihelminthics are medicines used in the treatment of parasitic worms.
|An antihistamine is an agent that counteracts the effect of histamine, and is used to treat allergic reactions, gastro-oesophageal reflux, and as components of cough and cold preparations.|
An antihypertensive is any agent that reduces high blood pressure.
|Anti-nematodal are agents used to treat or control nematode (worm) infestations.|
Antioxidants are found in certain compounds and neutralise free radicals. Free radicals are a product of oxygen metabolism, which causes changes to cell membranes, proteins, lipids and DNA. An overload of free radicals has been linked to certain diseases such as cancer. There are many antioxidants that are thought to protect against free radicals, including those found in foods, such as the vitamins A, C and E.
|Antipsychotic drugs are medications used to control disordered thinking by correcting the chemical imbalances.|
|Antipyretics are drugs that reduce body temperature in a state such as fever.|
|Antisocial activity is behaviours and attitudes which encourage negative social interactions|
Antithrombin III deficiency
|Antithrombin III deficiency is a rare haematological hereditary disorder which is often diagnosed when the patient experiences recurrent venous thrombosis (blood clot found in the veins) and pulmonary embolism (when a clot is found in the lungs).|
Antitretroviral therapy (Anti-HIV Drugs)
|Antiretroviral (ARVs) also known as anti-HIV drugs, are medications used to destroy HIV virus. HIV is the virus that causes HIV/AIDS disease. HIV-associated illnesses and deaths have been substantially reduced in the last decade, following the introduction of these drugs. As a result the quality of life and life span of HIV patients has been significantly improved. The combined use of these drugs is known as Highly Active Anti Retroviral Therapy (HAART).|
Anti-Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor (Anti-VEGF)
Anti-vascular endothelial growth factor (anti-VEGF) is a drug that impairs the activity of VEGF, a chemical produced by the body that stimulates the growth of blood vessels. Anti-VEGF binds to VEGF and interrupts the signals VEGF normally sends to stimulate blood vessel growth. It is used to treat conditions of abnormal and excessive blood vessel growth such as wet macular degeneration, in which blood vessels grow excessively in the eye's retina and macula.
|Antiviral medications, as the name suggests, work to target viral infections. Antibiotics are a subtype of anti-viral agents.|
|Antiviral medications are drugs that are designed to limit the ability of viruses to cause illness in the body. Examples include zanamivir and oseltamivir which are designed to treat or prevent influenza virus infection. Older antivirals which are now rarely used include amantadine and rimantadne.|
|A condition characterized by the absence of urine production or a urinary output of less than 100 mL per day.|
|Anxiety is a state associated with feelings of dread accompanied by a physical response that can produce sensations such as sweating and heart palpitations.|
|Anzatax Injection is used for the treatment of specific types of breast cancer, ovarian cancer and non small cell lung cancer (NSCLC).Anzatax is part of a group of anti-cancer drugs that works by killing the tumour cells as they grow and multiply. This is called an anti-neoplastic agent (neoplasm is another term to describe a cancer or tumour).Your oncologist (cancer doctor) will decide what dose of Anzatax is best for you. The amount given depends on your type of cancer, your weight, your kidney function and other medical problems that you may suffer from.|
|The aorta is the largest artery in our body. The left ventricle pumps blood into the aorta which then carries it to the rest of the body through smaller arteries.|
|Aortic dissection is a tear in the wall of the aorta that causes blood to flow between the layers of the wall of the aorta and force the layers apart. Aortic dissection is a medical emergency and can quickly lead to death, even with optimal treatment.|
|Aortic Regurgitation is a disease of the aortic valve, that usually stops blood from re-entering the heart once it has been pumped out. In Aortic regurgitation, the valve is a little 'leaky', and so some blood falls back through it into the heart. This means the heart has to work a lot harder to get blood out of the heart and into the body.|
|Aortic Stenosis is the hardening of the aortic valve that stops blood from returning to the heart once it has been pushed out. This hardening causes the left heart to have to work much harder to try and push out blood which can lead to it getting much larger and less efficient.|
|Aortic valve refers to a type of valve found at the base of the aorta.|
Aphonia is the inability to speak.
Aphonic describes the loss of voice.
|Aphthous ulcers are small, painful open sores of the oral mucosa, usually grey-white in colour and round in shape. They may occur singularly or in small crops of up to five ulcers. Aphthous ulcers generally heal within 7-14 days. The cause of aphthous ulcers is unknown, but several factors have been implicated, including infection, trauma, stress, nutritional deficiencies and food hypersensitivities.|
Apocrine glands are a type of sweat gland. There are approximately 1 million apocrine glands in the human body, accounting for 25% of all sweat glands.
|Apolipoproteins are lipid-binding proteins which are the constituents of plasma lipoproteins.|
|Apoptosis is the time when a cell is dying. It begins when the cell leaves the cell cycle for the final time and ends when the cell dies.|
|A part or organ, attached to a main structure and smaller in function or size - in skin, common examples include hair follicles and sweat glands. These components are altered in stretch marks.|
|Appendicitis is sudden onset of inflammation of the appendix, which is a small, finger-shaped blind-ending sac that branches off the first part of the large intestine (caecum).|
|Aquaear is used to prevent moisture retention in the ear and thus prevent and treat the condition called swimmer's ear.|
|The aqueous humour is a serous fluid in the anterior and posterior chambers of the eye that is secreted by the ciliary body. It is important in providing nutrients to the avascular lens and cornea, the two critical refractile elements of the eye.|
|This is one of the essential fatty acids in the body. This means that it can not be produced by the body, but needs to be absorbed from the diet. Arachidonic acid helps promote clumping and aggregation of platelets, which helps assess your blood Clotting ability.|
|The arachnoid is the middle layer of the meninges . The arachnoid layer provides a smooth covering for the brain and acts as a support to the cerebral arteries and veins.|
|Aranesp is used to treat or prevent anaemia in people who are undergoing chemotherapy or have cancer or severe renal failure.|
Arc discharge refers to an electrical current which runs from solid objects through gas or vapour.
More information on How Arc Discharge Affects Health.
|Arcus senilis is a white or gray opaque ring on the peripheral cornea. It can be an indicator of hypercholesterolaemia.|
|Disodium Pamidronate (Aredia) is used in the treatment of conditions associated with increased osteoclast activity, such as:Paget's disease of bone, Hypercalcaemia of malignancy, Osteolytic bone metastases from breast cancer and multiple myeloma.|
The areola is the pigmented region surrounding the nipple of the breast. Within the areola, there are sebaceous glands, sweat glands and modified mammary glands (glands of Montgomery). These glands produce small elevations on the areola surface. The sebaceous glands enlarge during pregnancy and secrete an oily material which acts as a lubricant for breastfeeding.
|Aricept is the brand name for the drug donepezil used in the treatment of Alzheimer's disease.|
|Aromasin is used for the treatment of both early and advanced breast cancer. It is an aromatase inactivator which works by reducing the supply of oestrogen to cancer cells. This stops the growth of breast cancer cells which are oestrogen hormone dependent.|
|Arousal refers to alertness. Arousal is important for starting, completing, or switching tasks.|
|Antiretroviral Therapy is the use of Antiretroviral drugs in the management of HIV.|
Arterial blood gas
|Arterial Blood Gas is a test that measures the amount of oxygen and carbon dioxide in blood drawn from an artery. If the amount of carbon dioxide is high, then it is described as respiratory acidosis.|
For more information, see the Cardiovascular System.
Arteritis is the medical term used to refer to inflammation of the artery walls. When the arteries of the head are involved the condition may be termed temporal arteritis. Giant cell arteritis refers to inflammation of the artery walls affecting the neck, upper body and arms. The condition is thought to occur as an immune response and is associated with infectious conditions and antibiotic use; however, its pathophysiology is not well understood.
|Artery: An artery is a blood vessel that carries blood away from the heart. It is part of the cardiovascular system. It has a thicker, more muscular wall than a vein to cope with the extra pressure from the force of the heart's pumping. An artery is often named for the tissue, organ or area that it supplies with blood fresh from the heart - blood that is high in oxygen - or it may be given a traditional anatomical name. For example, the coronary arteries, that supply the heart itself with oxygen, are named because they go around the outside of the heart - 'corona' being Latin for a 'garland'; like a garland of flowers worn around the head. When an artery is blocked or leaks, the tissue it supplies is in danger of being starved of oxygen, and dying.|
|Arthralgia means joint pain.|
|An arthropathy is a disease of a joint.|
The articular capsule, also known as the shoulder joint capsule, is a "sock" of tissue that forms a seal around the shoulder joint. When it becomes stiffened, it greatly reduces the flexibility of the shoulder joint – this is known as a frozen shoulder or adhesive capsulitis.
|A pacemaker is an implanted device that sends electrical signals to the heart, causing it to contract. Modern pacemakers usually work by detecting any period of time when the heart is not beating, and then stimulating the chambers of the heart.|
|Antiretroviral (ARVs) also known as anti-HIV drugs, are used in the management of HIV disease.|
|Asbestosis is a fibrotic disease of the lungs caused by chronic asbestos exposure. Inhaled asbestos particles get caught in the lungs and induce an inflammatory response that later leads to scarring (fibrosis) of the tissue between the airways in the lungs. Symptoms of asbestosis include progressive breathlessness and a dry cough.|
|Aseptic meningitis is a condition where the meningeal (lining of the brain) is inflamed. It is caused mainly by nonbacterial organisms (e.g. viruses, fungi, spirochetes, parasites), nonpyogenic bacteria, specific agents, or other disease processes. The most common cause is enterovirus.|
|Asherman's Syndrome refers to the presence of fibrous bands (adhesions) within the uterine cavity, most often caused by scarring.|
|Asparaginase is a type of drug used in chemotherapy. It is commonly used to treat leukaemia.|
|Aspartame (951) is an artificial sweetener that is used to replace sugars in foods and beverages.|
Aspartate aminotransferase (AST)
Aspartate aminotransferase (AST) is an enzyme normally found in the heart and liver. When the liver or heart is damaged, this enzyme is released into the blood. It may also be found in the blood after using some medications.
Asperger's syndrome (AS)
|Asperger's syndrome is an mild form of autism that is characterised by poor social competence and an excessive preoccupation with a specific interest|
An common condition in which ejaculation fails or seminal fluid is not expelled from the man's body via the urethra upon ejaculation.
More on male reproductive system.
More on sperm analysis.
Aspiration refers to the drawing or sucking in of a foreign substance. For example, aspiration may occur during surgery if a patient sucks fluid into their lungs, causing interferance with their breathing.
|A white, crystalline compound, CH3COOC6H4COOH, derived from salicylic acid and commonly used in tablet form to relieve pain and reduce fever and inflammation. It is also used as an antiplatelet agent. Also called acetylsalicylic acid.|
|Asplenia can be referred to as the absence of normal spleen function.|
Assisted reproductive technology (ART)
|Assisted reproductive technology (ART) refers to methods used by infertile couples to achieve pregnancy by artificial means.|
|Associated reaction is the involuntary movement of one side of a muscle in response to intentional activation of the opposite side.|
Associative learning describes the learning that is developed as a result of association. For example, if a child runs onto the hot pavement with bare feet, they will hurt their feet. They will then learn to associate hot pavement with pain.
|Asthenia means weakness or lack of energy and strength.|
Semen in which a greater proportion of sperm are immotile or have reduced motility, compared to the WHO reference values;
More on male reproductive system.
More on male reproductive system.
|Asthma is a relatively common respiratory condition characterised by airway inflammation and narrowing. Asthma causes difficulties in breathing, recurrent cough and/or wheezing. Several factors can contribute to asthma or trigger asthma attacks such as allergies to house dust mites, air pollution, cold air or exercise.|
|Astigmatism is very common condition in which the cornea (the clear covering of the front of the eye) has an abnormal curve, causing out-of-focus vision.|
|Astrocytes are the most abundant glial cells in the nervous system. They have a star-like shape and have mayne important functions, including holding neurons together in their positions.|
Asymptomatic means not showing any symptom of ill health.
|Atacand is used to control high blood pressure (also called hypertension).|
|Ataxia describes the inability to coordinate voluntary movements. This may be seen as unsteadiness or a staggering gait.|
|Atherosclerosis refers to a sort of 'hardening of the arteries', where cholesterol-rich plaques build up on the walls of blood vessels. It can lead to problems like coronary heart disease and stroke.|
Atopic Keratoconjunctivitis (AKC)
|Atopy refers to the inherited genetic tendency to develop an allergic disease e.g. asthma, eczema and hayfever.|
|Atorvastatin reduces the amount of cholesterol produced by the body.|
|Atria refer to the two top chambers of the heart (singular: atrium).The left top chamber is referred to as the left atrium. The right top chamber is referred to as the right atrium. The atria receive blood from different sources. The left atrium receives blood from the lungs and the right atrium receives blood from the rest of the body.|
|Atrial fibrillation affects the heart. It results from irregular conduction of electrical impulses through the atria of the heart (two of the four chambers), causing wild and deranged contractions of the atria.|
|Atrial systole refers to the phase of the cardiac cycle. During atrial systole the left and right atria contract at the same time and push blood into the left and right ventricle, respectively.|
|Atrioventricular valve is a collective term utilised to describe the right and left atrioventricular valves. Atrioventricular valves are located between the atria and ventricles.|
|Atrophic scars are flat, thin scars with a slightly wrinkled texture. They may be somewhat pigmented. Atrophic scars may occur following healing of acne, but are also associated with other forms of skin damage.|
|Atrophy is the wasting away of an organ or tissue due to the degeneration of cells. Atrophy can be a process of aging.|
|Atrovent nasal works by promoting drying of nasal secretions by cholinergic inhibition. Atrovent Nasal can be used for the treatment of rhinorrhoea associated with allergic and vasomotor rhinitis, and common cold.|
|Attention can be defined as the concentration of mental powers upon an object; a close or careful observing or listening.|
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
|ADHD is a behavioural syndrome characterised by hyperactivity and/or inattention leading to impairment in social, academic and occupational functioning.|
|Attention tasks are tasks which test a person's ability to attend to important information and ignore unimportant information.|
|Attenuation refers to the decrease in the intensity of the ultrasound waves as they pass through tissues, measured in decibels percentimetre. Attenuation results from absorption, reflection, scattering and beam divergence. In most tissues the attenuation increases approximately linearly with the frequency of the ultrasound.|
Atypical antipsychotic is a loose term used to describe a group of medications that treat severe psychosis. They are described as "atypical" as they are more unlikely to cause extrapyramidal side effects (EPS) compared to "conventional" or "typical" antipsychotics. They may also be effective in some circumstances where the older typical antipsychotics prove ineffective.
Atypical naevus syndrome
|The Atypical Nevus Syndrome is defined by the following criteria:
Auditory brainstem test
|An auditory brainstem test is a test of brainstem functions by assessing the electrical signal evoked after the presentation of an auditory stimulus (the brainstem auditory evoked potential). An abnormal electrical signal evoked by the brainstem in response to the sound indicates a dysfunctional brainstem function.
More information on Brainstem Auditory Evoked Potential (BAEP) Testing.
Augmentation of labour
|Augmentation is the process of increasing the strength of contractions artificially.|
Augmentation procedures are cosmetic surgeries in which implantable devices or injectable solutions are added to specific areas of the body to increase the size of certain features. For example, breast augmentation refers to surgery in which an implant is inserted to increase the size of the breast.
Aura refers to focal neurological symptoms which precede a migraine headache in a person who experiences migraine with aura. In this group of individuals aura is a warning sign of the migraine onset; however, other individuals do not experience aura before their migraine. The aura (neurological) symptoms of a migraine usually involve the eyes, causing visual disturbances which may be positive (seeing shimmering light at the edge of one’s vision) or negative (seeing a dark tunnel in the centre of one’s vision) or a combination of the two. They may also involve neurological disturbances to other areas of the body for example sensory disturbances (numbness or pins and needles in the arms and legs) or cognitive (speech disturbances). Aura typically resolves < 1 hour before the onset of headache symptoms.
|Auralgan is a product used to relieve local pain and discomfort in Swimmer's ear and otitis media.|
|Autism is a developmental disorder that affects the brain. It is a complex condition that mostly impairs communication, social interaction and creative play. People with autism often have problems forming relationships, and interacting with and responding to the world.|
An autoimmune disorder occurs when a person's immune system mistakenly attacks their own body's tissues.
Autologous means from the same source and in a medical context, from the same person. For example an autologous vaccine is one which is made using cells which are taken from the person who will be treated with the vaccine. Autologous vaccines are being developed for the treatment of some cancers.
Autologous stem cell transplantation (ASCT)
|In autologous stem cell transplantation, stem cells are collected from an individual and given back to that same individual.|
|Autonomic nerves control involuntary or semi-voluntary functions, such as heart rate, blood pressure, digestion, and sweating.|
Autonomic Nervous System
The autonomic nervous system is part of the nervous system that regulates involuntary action, such as the heartbeat and perspiration. Its key function is to transmit nerve signals from the central nervous system to the peripheral organ systems, including the cardiovascular system and gastrointestinal system.
The autonomic nervous system is divided into two systems: the sympathetic nervous system and the parasympathetic nervous system, which typically work in opposition to each other. For example, the sympathetic nervous system regulates increases in heart rate during exertion or fright, while the parasympathetic nervous system regulates decreases in heart rate during rest.
|Autonomic neuropathy is a subset of diabetic neuropathy classified by damange to nerves that control the heart, regulate blood pressure, and control blood glucose levels. It also affects other internal organs, causing problems with digestion, respiratory function, urination, sexual response, and vision.|
|Autopolymerisation is the process of polymerisation by chemical means without the external application of heat.|
An autopsy, post mortem examination, or necropsy is a medical procedure that consists of a thorough examination of a dead body to determine the cause and manner of death, and the presence of any disease or injury. It is usually performed by a specialist doctor called a pathologist. An external autopsy consists of an external examination only, whilst an internal autopsy involves the dissection and examination of the internal organs.
|Autosomal dominance is a pattern of inheritance of a trait or disease through genes carried on chromosomes other than the sex chromosomes. In autosomal dominant conditions, if only one parent has the gene, there is a 50% of passing it on to their offspring.|
Autosomal dominant cramping disease
Autosomal dominant cramping disease is an inherited disease involving recurrent muscle cramping.
An autosomal genetic trait is inherited via non-sex chromosomes (i.e. other than X or Y chromosomes). Its recessive nature indicates that both chromosomes within the pair must exhibit the trait for it to be expressed.
|Avandia is a medication used in the treatment of type 2 diabetes mellitus. It helps to improve glycaemic control. The active ingredient of Avandia is rosiglitazone.|
|Avapro is a drug used in the treatment of hypertension (high blood pressure). It is also used for treatment of kidney disease in type 2 diabetic patients with hypertension.|
|Avapro HCT is a drug used in treatment of hypertension (high blood pressure).|
|Avascular necrosis (AVN, osteonecrosis, aseptic necrosis, ischemic necrosis, femoral head necrosis) is the cellular death of the components of bone, including the bone marrow, due to the impairment of the bones own blood supply.|
|Avonex contains the drug interferon beta-1a which is used in the treatment of remitting and relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis (MS). Avonex alters the immune system to prevent further destruction of myelin (the conducting sheath of nerves). This results in a reduction in the severity and frequency of symptom exacerbations in MS.|
Axilla is the medical term for armpit.
|Axillary dissection refers to the removal of the lymph nodes in the armpit (axilla) on the same side as the affected the breast. This is done because axillary lymph nodes the most common sites for breast cancer to spread to.|
Axillary hyperhidrosis is the most common form of focal hyperhidrosis. The condition is characterised by excessive sweating of the armpits. Unlike normal sweating, the sweating that characterises hyperhidrosis does not occur in response to heat stimuli. More than half of all individuals with focal hyperhidrosis (which may also affect the hands, feet or face) experience excessive armpit sweating.
|An axon is part of a neuron, which is a type of cell found in the central and peripheral nervous system. It is a specialised structure for the conduction of information in the form of action potentials. This information is then transmitted to the axon terminal.|
|Axsain is a topical capsaicin which is indicated in the treatment of PHN. The cream should be applied to the affected area. The treatment works to relieve pain from nerves near to the surface of the skin.|
Axterixis describes wrist tremor associated with lapses of muscle contraction, known as negative myoclonus.
For more information, see Myoclonus.
|Azole antifungals are used to treat serious fungus infections that may occur in different parts of the body.|
A condition in which semen is present but contains no sperm.
More on sperm analysis.
|Brinzolamide (Azopt) is a carbonic anhydrase inhibitor. When instilled in the eye, Azopt Eye Drops 1.0% have the action of reducing elevated intraocular pressure, the cause of glaucoma.|
|Azotemia is the higher than normal level of urea or other nitrogen containing compounds in the blood. Usually caused by the inability of the kidney to excrete these compounds or a blockage in the urinary tract.|
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