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abduct motion of a body part away from the midline of the body
abscess localized pocket or collection of pus in a cavity
absorbent products pads and garments, disposable or reusable, worn in cases of incontinence to absorb leaked urine
accommodation adjustment of the eye's lens to focus on objects at various distances
Achilles tendon tendon formed by the union of two muscles,the gastrocnemius and the soleus, which join in the mid-calf area and are known as the gastroc-soleal complex; prominent at the back of the ankle
Achilles tendonitis painful and often debilitating inflammation of the Achilles tendon
actinic keratosis common precancerous skin growth
adduct motion of a body part toward the midline of the body
adjuvant assisting the primary means of therapy, e.g., coupling radiation treatment with surgical excision of tumors
AIDS acquired immunodeficiency syndrome
allergen substance inducing an allergic state or reaction
allergic contact
dermatitis caused by sensitivity to an allergen
allergy inappropriate or exaggerated reaction of the immune system to substances that cause no symptoms in most people, e.g., reactions to chemical exposure, respiratory reactions to dust, pollen or other substances, reactions to food
alopecia hair loss; disease in which the hair falls out
alternative therapy therapy that is not standard, including herbal medicines, accupuncture, and accupressure, as well as medicinal therapies, such as shark cartilage, maitake mushroom, etc.
Alzheimer's disease most common form of dementia in older persons that affects many areas of cognitive function, including memory
amyotrophic lateral
sclerosis (ALS)
degenerative disorder affecting the motor neuron cells and the motor tracts in the brain and spinal cord; Lou Gehrig's disease
anaphylaxis severe, life-threatening allergic reaction, such as that caused by an insect sting or exposure to a drug, like penicillin or antitetanus (horse) serum, or that caused by certain foods, like peanuts or shellfish; anaphylactic shock
anemia deficiency in red blood cell count, in hemoglobin, or in total blood volume
angina discomfort and pain felt when a blockage in a coronary artery prevents oxygen-rich blood from reaching part of the heart
angiogram invasive diagnostic test whereby a dye is injected into the arteries through a catheter in order to observe the blood vessels

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angioplasty procedure for treating blockages and blood clots in which a small balloon is inflated to open clogged arteries
ankle joint joint made by the two leg bones (the tibia and the fibula) and the most superior bone in the foot (the talus)
annular ringlike
anterior chamber space between the iris and the cornea that contains aqueous humor
anterior repair (cystocele repair) surgical procedure to tighten the front (anterior) wall of the vagina; used to treat sinking of the bladder or urethra into the vagina (cystocele)
drugs that slow or eliminate rapid contraction of the ventricle
antibody protein produced in a controlled manner by certain white blood cells (lymphocytes) to neutralize an antigen or foreign protein and fight disease, but whose uncontrolled production can cause illness; immunoglobulin
anticholinergics quick-relief asthma medications that work by inhibiting nerve receptors in the airways and by blocking reflex bronchoconstriction of the nervous system
antigen substance that can trigger an immune response, resulting in production of an antibody as part of the body's defense against infection and disease; allergen
antihistamines drugs that block the effects of histamine, a chemical released in body fluids during an allergic reaction, and which reduce itching, sneezing, and runny nose
drugs that reduce inflammation and its effects

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anus external orifice where feces is expelled; opening to anal canal
anxiety generalized feeling of apprehension, fear, or worry that interferes with normal life functions
aortic valve one-way valve that allows blood to flow only out of the left ventricle and into the aorta
aphasia acquired abnormality in the production or comprehension of language
apnea condition of sleep in which the upper airway tends to collapse repeatedly
appendicolith small hard stone often seen in the appendix that is generally composed of enough calcium to be seen on x-rays and particularly on CT scans
applecore (lesion) appearance of the typical annular-shaped cancer of the colon whose concentric growth around the tubular large bowel resembles an eaten apple
aqueous humor watery fluid that fills the anterior and posterior chambers of the eye
arrhythmia irregular heartbeat that features either very rapid ventricular contractions (tachycardia), an excessively slow heartbeat (bradychardia) or, most commonly, extra or "premature" beats
arteries blood vessels that carry oxygenated blood from the lungs to the organs
articulate process by which two adjacent bones form a joint and slide upon each other

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artifact various types of image distortion and interference found in x-ray film
artificial urinary
sphincter (AUS)
surgically implanted device (consisting of three parts: pump, balloon reservoir, and cuff) that is used to control the involuntary release of urine associated with prostate and urinary tract surgery
assisted reproductive
technologies (ART)
fertility treatments that incorporate methods of sperm retrieval and preparation: artificial insemination (AI), in vitro fertilization (IVF), and sperm microinjection techniques
asthma chronic, inflammatory lung disease triggered by allergens, infection, exercise, cold air, and other factors that cause narrowing of the airways, breathing difficulty, coughing, and wheezing
ataxia telangiectasia
progressive, degenerative genetic disease, which causes degeneration of the nervous system, cancer, and immunodeficiency
atherosclerosis condition in which lipids (fats) collect under the inner lining of damaged artery walls, eventually narrowing or blocking the artery and obstructing blood flow
athlete's foot common, irritating, often persistent infection of the foot caused by a dermatophyte (microscopic moldlike fungus) that lives on dead tissues of hair, toenails, and outer skin layers
atony lack of muscle tone, usually leading to temporary weakness
atopy hereditary presence of antibodies associated with allergic reactions

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atria (sing., atrium) right and left upper chambers of the heart
atrial fibrillation abnormal rhythm of the heart that can result in an increased risk of stroke due to the formation of emboli (blood clots) in the heart
atrophy wasting of tissue, cell, or organ
aura warning symptoms like disturbances in vision, strange smells, or hallucinations that occur prior to a particular neurological event, such as seizure or migraine
autism lifelong developmental disability that occurs by itself or in association with other disorders that affect the function of the brain, such as viral infections, metabolic disturbances, mental retardation, epilepsy, and fragile X syndrome; characterized by severely impaired social interaction and communication skills and restrictive or repetitive movements, interests, and behaviors
autoimmune abnormal response of the immune system that causes antibodies and immune-mediated cells to attack one's own tissues
autologous derived from or originating in an individual
AV node
(atrioventricular node)
patch of electrical-wire-like specialized heart tissue located between the atria and the ventricles that conducts contractile impulses from the atria to the ventricles
axon inner core of peripheral nerves

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bacterial vaginosis condition in which the normal balance of vaginal bacterial is disrupted and replaced with the overgrowth of certain bacteria (e.g., Gardnerella vaginalis), often producing abnormal discharge, odor, pain, itching, and burning
BAEP See brainstem auditory evoked potential.
basal cell carcinoma most common skin cancer, derived from the basal cell
basal cells cells that form the bottom layer of the epidermis
basal ganglia series of structures located deep in the brain that are responsible for motor movements
behavioral modification
See biofeedback, bladder training, habit training, pelvic muscle exercises.
Bell's palsy paralysis of the facial nerve producing distortion on one side of the face
benign prostatic
enlargement of the prostate associated with aging
benign not cancerous
beta2 agonists quick-relief medications that cause muscle relaxation and bronchoexpansion to relieve acute asthma symptoms
beta-blockers drugs that relieve stress on the heart by "blocking" the stimulating effect of adrenaline
bifurcation division of a single structure (usually vascular) into two paired structures, e.g., carotid bifurcation in the neck, where the common carotid arteries divide into the internal and external carotid arteries
bilateral affecting both sides of the body or two paired organs, e.g., the kidneys
biofeedback therapeutic training in which participants learn to control their involuntary nervous system through response to electric stimuli

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biologic therapy systemic therapy utilizing interferon or interleukin
biopsy (v.) removal of cells or tissue(s)for examination and diagnostic evaluation; (n.) tissue specimen
bisexual attracted to both sexes
bladder hollow, muscular, balloon-shaped organ that stores urine until it is excreted
bladder instillation medicine administered directly into the bladder
bladder training behavioral modification technique used to resist or inhibit the urge to urinate unpredictably
blanch to make white or pale; to take color out
blepharospasm involuntary closure of the eyes and lids
blood clot insoluble mass of blood
blood culture laboratory examination of a blood sample to detect the presence of disease-causing microorganisms
blood pressure
measure of the force of blood flow against artery walls taken with an inflatable cuff, inflating bulb, and a pressure gauge
blood thinners drugs that inhibit blood clotting

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bone hard type of connective tissue, primarily made up of osteoblasts, osteocytes, and collagen, that supports and protects the body
bone scan nuclear medicine study used for detecting the presence of boney metastasis
bone survey radiologic study used to detect fractures and/or areas of boney destruction
botulinum toxin (BOTOX®) injection (bladder) purified toxin made from a bacterium is injected into bladder muscles to treat overactive bladder symptoms
brachymetatarsia condition in which one of the metatarsals (the five long bones of the foot) is abnormally short, making the toe short as well
brachytherapy radioactive pellets applied to the body area being treated; used to treat some cancers
bradykinesia slowing of motor movements due to dysfunction of the basal ganglia and related structures
brain attack See stroke.
brain injury (1) closed head injury (CHI), which is caused by rapid acceleration and deceleration of the head during which the brain bounces off the inside of the skull; (2) open head injury (OHI), caused by car accident, gunshot wound, or other external factor
brainstem auditory
evoked potential
test that measures how much auditory stimulus is required to cause a response from the brainstem

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breast modified sweat gland that produces milk during pregnancy
bronchial provocation test used to diagnose asthma; also bronchoprovocation, bronchial challenge
bronchitis inflammation of the bronchi (lung airways) that causes a persistent cough and sputum (phlegm) production; especially common in smokers and in areas with atmospheric pollution
bronchoconstriction constriction of the bronchial airways in the lungs, causing shortness of breath, tightness in the chest, coughing, and wheezing
bronchodilator drugs group of drugs that widen the airways in the lungs
(pl., bronchi)
any of the larger air passages connecting the trachea (windpipe) to the lungs
bulla (pl., bullae) sharply circumscribed, elevated, fluid-filled lesions in the skin that is over 0.5 centimeters in diameter; blister
bunion bulge or bump that develops on the inner side of the foot, near the base of the first toe, caused by poor alignment of the metatarsal-phalangeal joint of the big toe, or hallux
bursa sac of fluid typically found in areas where muscles or tendons tend to rub against bone, such as the hip, knee, and ankle
bursitis condition in which a bursal sac becomes inflamed due to irritation

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calcaneus heel bone, the largest bone in the foot
calcifications hard, dense, stonelike material that forms in numerous areas throughout the body, including arteries (plaque), veins (phleboliths), kidneys (stones), and gallbladder (gallstones)
drugs that limit calcium entry into the cells and stimulate contraction
callus area of skin that grows thick in response to repeated pressure and friction
canal of Schlemm part of the vascular structure that returns aqueous humor to circulation
candidiasis infection of the skin, mucous membranes, and sometimes internal organs with the yeast Candida
carbuncle deep-seated infection involving a cluster of hair follicles, often accompanied by a large area of redness and swelling
carcinoma type of cancer that has the ability to spread, or metastatsize, to other areas of the body
cardiac catheterization diagnostic procedure using a flexible tube, or catheter, that is passed into the heart through a vein or an artery in order to withdraw samples of blood, measure pressures within the heart chambers or vessels, and inject x-ray contrast materials to view the heart
cardiac transplantation replacement of a damaged or diseased heart with a healthy heart from a donor who has died of other causes
carotid arteries paired (right and left) arteries that arise from the aorta or branch of the thoracic aorta; external carotid arteries in the neck supply blood to structures in the face, internal carotid arteries supply blood to much of the front of the brain
cartilage type of connective tissue found on the ends of bones, which protects and cushions them, and absorbs the forces transmitted throughout the body; living tissue without a direct blood supply

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CAT scan
(computerized axial tomography)
specialized x-ray examination that is often used to visualize the brain and spinal structures, chest, abdomen, and pelvis
cataplexy sudden loss of postural tone, often resulting in complete collapse; common in narcolepsy or intense emotional response
catheter tube passed through the body for draining fluids, injecting fluids into body cavities, and performing certain tests
catheterization insertion of a catheter
cecum beginning of the large bowel where the end of the small bowel (ileum) empties into the cecum at the ileocecal valve
central nervous
the brain and the spinal cord
cerebral aneurysm weakness in the wall of a blood vessel in the brain
cerebrospinal fluid fluid that surrounds the brain and the spinal cord
disorders of the blood vessels that supply the brain
cervical cap plastic cover fitted for and placed over the cervix; used in birth control to prevent sperm from entering and in alternative insemination to contain sperm
chancre hard, syphilitic, primary ulcer, usually occurring singularly; first sign of syphilis

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charcot foot severe collapse and fracturing of the foot, seen most often in diabetic patients with neurological problems
Tooth disease
progressive debilitating neuromuscular disorder; also hereditary motor sensory neuropathy and peroneal muscular atrophy
chemolysis destruction through the use of chemicals; chemical injection treatment to dissolve kidney stones
chemotherapy treamtent involving the use of drugs
chest pain See angina.
cholesterol soft, waxy type of fatty particle (lipid) that circulates in the blood; building block for all cell membranes and many sex hormones
choroid layer of the eye between the sclera and the retina that supplies blood to the retina
ciliary body structure located behind iris, composed primarily of the ciliary muscles
ciliary muscles muscles that control the zonules that hold the lens in place and enable accommodation
ciliary processes extensions, or projections, from the ciliary body that secrete aqueous humor and attach the zonules to the lens
circle of Willis circle of arteries at the base of the brain that is fed by the two paired internal carotid arteries and the two paired vertebral arteries
clitoris erectile body of female genitalia, consisting of a body, two crura, and a glans, and located under the clitoral hood, above the urethra; associated with sensitivity and orgasm
clonus increase in involuntary muscle tone and subsequent movement that results in spasm
cluster headache one-sided severe pain around the eye that usually occurs at night; associated with nasal stuffiness and tearing of the eye

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cm centimeter
colon tubular structure from the stomach to the anus that consists of the small intestine and the large intestine
colonoscopy test in which a length of fiberoptic tubing is inserted into the rectum and passed into the beginning of the large bowel (cecum), allowing the physician to directly visualize the bowel walls
coma state of unconsciousness, with the eyes closed
(pl., comedones)
thickened secretion of dead skin cells and oily material plugging a follicle or pore; closed (whiteheads), open (blackheads)
computerized axial
See CAT scan.
condom sheath, usually latex rubber, placed over the penis, fingers, or sex toy to prevent pregnancy and the spread of sexually transmitted disease during penetration
cones photoreceptor cells that are responsible for color vision and seeing fine detail
congestive heart
failure (CHF)
potentially lethal condition in which congestion develops in the lungs that is produced by a heart attack, poorly controlled or uncontrolled hypertension, or disease processes that weaken the heart
conjunctiva thin membrane that lines the inside of the eyelids and covers the sclera
conscious sedation medication that allows a patient to sustain what could be an unpleasant experience by producing "grogginess" and often complete amnesia of the event
contact dermatitis reaction that occurs when the skin comes into contact with a substance to which the body is allergic

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cor pulmonale enlargement and eventual failure of the right ventricle of the heart, caused by lung disease
core needle biopsy used by a pathologist to detect abnormality in tissue
cornea clear, dome-shaped structure that covers the iris, pupil, and anterior chamber
corns thickened areas of skin that form in response to excessive pressure and friction, usually hard and round, with a polished or translucent center, like a kernel of corn
coronary angiography x-ray imaging of the coronary arteries through a catheter
corpora cavernosa two spongy tissue chambers of the penis that run the length of the organ; tissue that fills with blood during an erection
corticospinal tract nervous system structures that begin in the brain and travel to the motor neuron cell to innervate the motor nerves
corticosteroids group of anti-inflammatory drugs similar to natural hormones produced by the cortex of the adrenal glands
creatinine waste product filtered from the blood by the kidneys and expelled in urine
Crohn's disease inflammatory disease most prominent in the small bowel, which may involve any part of the gastrointestinal tract and other organs, and which is associated clinically with diarrhea and irritable bowel; regional ileitis
crust scablike coating of dried blood, pus, or drainage that covers wounds or damaged skin

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cryosurgery destruction of a skin lesion by applying liquid nitrogen
cryotherapy therapeutic use of cold
CT KUB computerized tomography of the abdomen and pelvis in which no oral or intravenous dyes are used, which is often used to detect conditions such as acute appendicitis, renal or ureteral stones, and diverticulitis
CT scan See CAT scan.
curettage and
surgical technique in which a curette is used to scrape tissue, followed by drying and burning of that tissue with electrocautery
curette surgical instrument with a round, hollow, sharp tip that is used to scrape tissues
cutaneous T-cell
lymphoma (CTCL)
cancer of the T cells, often confined to the skin but has the ability to spread
cutaneous related to the skin
cyst sac that contains semisolid or liquid contents
cystectomy surgical removal of the bladder
cystocele herniation of the bladder into the vagina
cystoscopy procedure using a flexible scope inserted into the urethra and then into the bladder to determine abnormalities in the bladder and lower urinary tract

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dander minute scales from hair, feathers, or skin that may be allergenic
de novo in a new manner or form
deep tendon reflexes deep muscle stretch reflexes that are triggered by tapping on the tendons; the "knee jerk"
deltoid ligament complex of four ligaments (anterior tibiotalar, tibionavicular, tibiocalcalcaneal, and posterior tibiotalar) that helps support the medial side of the ankle joint
dementia acquired loss of cognitive function that may affect language, attention, memory, personality, and abstract reasoning
demyelination destruction of myelin sheath that envelopes nervous system structures
density densities on plain x-rays vary from black to white, depending on the composition of the material the x-rays pass through; black indicates the lowest x-ray density (air) and white, the highest (bone)
depigmentation loss of pigment, especially melanin
dermatitis inflammation and irritation of the skin
dermis second layer of skin made up of a network of collagen and elastic fibers, blood vessels, and nerves
DESD See detrusor-external sphincter dyssynergia.
desiccate to dry up

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sphincter dyssynergia
lack of coordination between the bladder and the external sphincter muscle, resulting in the inability to empty the bladder completely, which may cause severe urinary tract damage and life-threatening consequences
diabetes mellitus common form of diabetes in which the body cannot properly store or use glucose (sugar), the body's main source of energy
diastolic pressure arterial pressure measured while the heart rests between beats
digoxin or digitalis drug used to treat congestive heart failure by increasing the force of contraction; used to treat atrial fibrillation by slowing transmission of atrial electrical impulses (i.e., slowing the heart rate) and restoring normal heart rate
disease-free survival percentage of disease survivors still alive after a specified period of time
diuretic drug used to treat high blood pressure and fluid retention by increasing the elimination of salt and water by the kidneys
diverticulum small outpouching of the lining of various tubular structures in the body
DNA deoxyribonucleic acid, the genetic blueprint in all of our cells
dorsiflex upward motion of a body part
duodenum first segment of the small bowel
dust mites microscopic organisms that feed on dead skin, whose feces are a common environmental allergen that can trigger asthma
dysplasia abnormal tissue development

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