Encephalopathy Glossary of Terms

The following are health and medical definitions of terms that appear in the Encephalopathy article.

Abnormal: Outside the expected norm, or uncharacteristic of a particular patient.

Abstinence: The voluntary self-denial of food, drink, or sex. Today, abstinence most commo...

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Acetylcholine: A neurotransmitter released by nerves that is essential for communication b...

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Acute: Of abrupt onset, in reference to a disease. Acute often also connotes an illness th...

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Airway: The path that air follows to get into and out of the lungs. The mouth and nose are...

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Alcoholism: Physical dependence on alcohol to the extent that stopping alcohol use would b...

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Ammonia: A colorless gas with a very sharp odor. Made both by humans and by nature, ammoni...

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Anemia: The condition of having a lower-than-normal number of red blood cells or quantity ...

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Anoxia: The absence, or near absence, of oxygen. Anoxia can injure tissues of the body.

Anoxic: Pertaining to anoxia, an absence or near absence of oxygen.

Asthma: A common lung disorder in which inflammation causes the bronchi to swell and narro...

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Asymptomatic: Without symptoms. For example, an asymptomatic infection is an infection wit...

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Ataxia: Poor coordination and unsteadiness due to the brain's failure to regulate the body...

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Autopsy: A postmortem examination. Also known as necropsy.

Bacteria: Single-celled microorganisms that can exist either as independent (free-living) ...

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Birth defect: Any defect present in a baby at birth, irrespective of whether the defect is...

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Blood count: The calculated number of white or red blood cells (WBCs or RBCs) in a cubic m...

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Blood glucose: The main sugar that the body makes from the food in the diet. Glucose is ca...

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Blood pressure: The blood pressure is the pressure of the blood within the arteries. It is...

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Blood sugar: Blood glucose. See also: High blood sugar; Low blood sugar.

Bovine: Having to do with cows and cattle, as in bovine spongiform encephalopathy (mad cow...

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Brain: The portion of the central nervous system that is located within the skull. It func...

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Breathing: The process of respiration, during which air is inhaled into the lungs through ...

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Cancer: An abnormal growth of cells which tend to proliferate in an uncontrolled way and, ...

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Carbon monoxide poisoning: A potentially deadly condition caused by breathing carbon monox...

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Cardiac: Having to do with the heart.

Cardiopulmonary: Having to do with both the heart and lungs.

Cardiopulmonary resuscitation: A life-saving emergency procedure that involves breathing f...

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CBC: A commonly used abbreviation in medicine that stands for complete blood count, a set...

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Cell: The basic structural and functional unit of any living thing. Each cell is a small c...

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Cerebrospinal fluid: A watery fluid that is continuously produced and absorbed and that fl...

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Chest: The area of the body located between the neck and the abdomen. The chest contains t...

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Chest pain: Pain in the chest that can be a result of many things, including angina, heart...

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Cholesterol: The most common type of steroid in the body. Cholesterol has a reputation for...

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Chronic: In medicine, lasting a long time. A chronic condition is one that lasts 3 months ...

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Chronic kidney failure: See: Chronic renal failure.

Clinical trials: Trials to evaluate the effectiveness and safety of medications or medical...

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Coma: A state of deep, unarousable unconsciousness. A coma may occur as a result of head t...

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Complete blood count: A set values of the cellular (formed elements) of blood. These meas...

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Computerized tomography: Pictures of structures within the body created by a computer that...

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Concussion: A traumatic injury to soft tissue, usually the brain, as a result of a violent...

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Congenital: A condition that is present at birth, whether or not it is inherited.

COPD: Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Any disorder that persistently obstructs bron...

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CPR: Cardiopulmonary resuscitation.

CT scan: Computed tomography scan. Detailed images of internal organs are obtained by this...

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Cyanide: Poisoning with cyanide, a rapidly acting, potentially deadly chemical that can ex...

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Dementia: Significant loss of intellectual abilities, such as memory capacity, that is sev...

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Diabetes: Usually refers to diabetes mellitus or, less often, to diabetes insipidus. Diabe...

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Diagnosis: 1 The nature of a disease; the identification of an illness. 2 A ...

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Dialysis: The process of removing waste products and excess fluid from the body. Dialysis ...

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Dissection: The process of cutting apart or separating tissue as, for example, in the stud...

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Dizziness: Painless head discomfort with many possible causes including disturbances of ...

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Dopamine: An important neurotransmitter (messenger) in the brain.

Encephalitis: Inflammation of the brain, which may be caused by a bacterium, a virus, or a...

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Encephalopathy: Disease, damage, or malfunction of the brain. In general, encephalopathy i...

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Fetal distress: Compromise of a fetus during the antepartum period (before labor) or intra...

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Fetus: An unborn offspring, from the embryo stage (the end of the eighth week after concep...

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Fiber: The parts of fruits and vegetables that cannot be digested. Fiber is of vital impor...

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Frontal: In anatomy, pertaining to the forehead. As, for example, the frontal bone, fronta...

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Frontal lobe: The part of each hemisphere of the brain located behind the forehead that se...

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Fungi: Plural of fungus.

Gait: A manner of walking. Observation of gait can provide early diagnostic clues for a nu...

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Genetic: Having to do with genes and genetic
information.

Glucose: The simple sugar that is the chief source of energy. Glucose is found in the bloo...

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Glutamine: An amino acid, one of the 20 building blocks of protein. Glutamine is present i...

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Headache: A pain in the head with the pain being above the eyes or the ears, behind the he...

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Heart: The muscle that pumps blood received from veins into arteries throughout the body. ...

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Heart disease: Any disorder that affects the heart. Sometimes the term "heart disease" is ...

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Hemoglobin: The oxygen-carrying pigment and predominant protein in the red blood cells. He...

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Hemorrhagic: Pertaining to bleeding or the abnormal flow of blood.

Hepatic: Having to do with the liver.

Hepatic encephalopathy: Brain dysfunction directly due to liver dysfunction, most often re...

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High blood pressure: A repeatedly elevated blood pressure exceeding 140 over 90 mmHg. Chro...

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Hyperglycemia: A high blood sugar. An elevated level specifically of the sugar glucose in...

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Hypertensive: Having abnormally high blood pressure (hypertension). See also: Hypotensive;...

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Hypertensive crisis: A severe and potentially life-threatening increase in blood pressure ...

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Hypoglycemia: Low blood sugar (glucose). Hypoglycemia may be associated with symptoms such...

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Hyponatremia: Low sodium in the blood. Hyponatremia can be caused by many conditions and w...

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Hypotension: Any blood pressure that is below the normal expected for an individual in a ...

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Hypoxic: Pertaining to hypoxia, a subnormal concentration of oxygen.

Infection: The invasion and multiplication of microorganisms such as bacteria, viruses, an...

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Inflammation: A localized reaction that produces redness, warmth, swelling, and pain as a ...

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Injury: Harm or hurt. To harm, hurt, or wound. The word injure may be in physical or emot...

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Intervention: The act of intervening, interfering or interceding with the intent of modify...

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Intestine: The long, tubelike organ in the abdomen that completes the process of digestion...

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Intubation: The process of putting a tube into a hollow organ or passageway, often into th...

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Kidney: One of a pair of organs located in the right and left side of the abdomen. The kid...

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Kidney transplant: A surgical procedure using a donor kidney to treat kidney failure.

Kuru: A slowly progressive fatal disease of the brain that is due to an infectious agent t...

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Labile: Unstable. For example, labile blood pressure is blood pressure that abnormally inc...

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Lethargy: Abnormal drowsiness, stupor.

Liver: The largest solid organ in the body, situated in the upper part of the abdomen on t...

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Liver disease: Liver disease refers to any disorder of the liver. The liver is a large org...

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Lobe: Part of an organ that appears to be separate in some way from the rest. A lobe may b...

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Low blood pressure: Any blood pressure that is below the normal expected for an individua...

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Low blood sugar: A low blood level of the sugar glucose. Also called hypoglycemia.

Magnetic resonance imaging: A procedure that uses magnetism, radio waves, and a computer t...

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Malabsorption: Poor intestinal absorption of nutrients. Malabsorption can occur from disea...

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Malnutrition: A term used to refer to any condition in which the body does not receive eno...

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Memory: 1. The ability to recover information about past events or knowledge. ...

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Meninges: The three membranes that cover the brain and spinal cord (singular: meninx).

Meningitis: Inflammation of the meninges, the three membranes that envelop the brain and t...

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Metabolic: Relating to metabolism, the whole range of biochemical processes that occur wit...

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Motor: Something that produces or refers to motion. For example, a motor neuron is a nerve...

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Mouth: 1. The upper opening of the digestive tract, beginning with the lips and con...

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MRI: Magnetic resonance imaging.

Myelin: The fatty substance that covers and protects nerves. Myelin is a layered tissue th...

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Naloxone: A drug that antagonizes morphine and other opiates. Naloxone is a pure opiate an...

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Narcan: Brand name for naloxone.

Narcotic: 1. A drug that causes insensibility or stupor. A narcotic induces narcosi...

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Nausea: Stomach queasiness, the urge to vomit. Nausea can be brought on by many causes, in...

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Neck: The part of the body joining the head to the shoulders. Also, any narrow or constric...

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Nerve: A bundle of fibers that uses electrical and chemical signals to transmit sensory an...

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Neurological: Having to do with the nerves or the nervous system as, for example, a neurol...

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Obtunded: Mentally dulled. Head trauma may obtund a person.

Occipital: 1. Pertaining to the occiput, the back of head.
2. Located...

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Organ: A relatively independent part of the body that carries out one or more special func...

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Organ failure: The failure of an essential system in the body. Multiple organ failure is t...

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Oxygen: The odorless gas that is present in the air and necessary to maintain life. Oxygen...

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Pain: An unpleasant sensation that can range from mild, localized discomfort to agony. Pa...

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Parietal: Adjective from the Latin "parietalis" meaning "belonging to the wall" that the a...

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Peripheral: Situated away from the center, as opposed to centrally located.

Peripheral vascular disease: A disease of blood vessels outside the heart. Peripheral vasc...

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Placenta: A temporary organ that joins the mother and fetus, transferring oxygen and nutri...

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Placenta previa: A condition in which the placenta is implanted near the outlet of the ute...

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Poison: Any substance that can cause severe organ damage or death if ingested, breathed in...

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Poisoning: Taking a substance that is injurious to health or can cause death. Poisoning i...

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Pregnancy: The state of carrying a developing embryo or fetus within the female body. Thi...

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Primary care: A patient's main source for regular medical care, ideally providing continui...

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Prion: A small proteinaceous infectious disease-causing agent that is believed to be the s...

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Prognosis: The forecast of the probable outcome or course of a disease; the patient's chan...

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Progressive: Increasing in scope or severity, advancing, or going forward. For example, a ...

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Protein: One of the three nutrients used as energy sources (calories) by the body. Protein...

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Proteins: Large molecules composed of one or more chains of amino acids in a specific orde...

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Recur: To occur again; to return. For example, a symptom, sign, or disease can recur.

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Recurrent: Appearing or occurring again. For example, a recurrent fever is a fever that ha...

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Relapse: The return of signs and symptoms of a disease after a remission.

Renal: Having to do with the kidney. For example, renal cancer is cancer of the kidneys.

Resuscitation: The procedure of restoring to life, as in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CP...

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Scan: As a noun, the data or image obtained from the examination of organs or regions of...

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Seizure: Uncontrolled electrical activity in the brain, which may produce a physical conv...

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Seizure disorders: One of a great many medical conditions that are characterized by epis...

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Sensation: In medicine and physiology, sensation refers to the registration of an incoming...

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Sensory: Relating to sensation, to the perception of a stimulus, to the voyage made by inc...

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Serotonin: A neurotransmitter that is involved in the transmission of nerve impulses. Sero...

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Shortness of breath: Difficulty in breathing. Medically referred to as dyspnea. Shortness ...

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Skull: The skull is a collection of bones which encase the brain and give form to the hea...

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Sodium: The major positive ion (cation) in the fluid surrounding cells in the body. The ch...

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Spinal cord: The major column of nerve tissue that is connected to the brain and lies with...

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Spinal tap: Also known as a lumbar puncture or "LP", a spinal tap is a procedure whereby ...

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Spongiform: Resembling a sponge in being soft and full of cavities, as in as in transmissi...

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Stroke: The sudden death of brain cells due to lack of oxygen, caused by blockage of blood...

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Syndrome: A combination of symptoms and signs that together represent a disease process.

Temporal: 1. Pertaining to time, limited in time, temporary, or transient.
...

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Temporal lobe: The lobe of the cerebral hemisphere located down on the side just forward o...

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Therapy: The treatment of disease. Therapy is synonymous with treatment.

Thiamine: Vitamin B1. Thiamine (vitamin B1) acts as a coenzyme in the metabolism of the bo...

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Thyroid: 1. The thyroid gland. Also, pertaining to the thyroid gland. 2. A p...

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Tomography: The process for generating a tomogram, a two-dimensional image of a slice or s...

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Trachea: A tube-like portion of the respiratory tract that connects the larynx with the br...

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Transplant: The grafting of a tissue from one place to another, just as in botany a bu...

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Trauma: A physical or emotional injury.

Trimester: In obstetrics, one of the three divisions of three months each during pregnancy...

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Umbilical cord: The cord that connects the developing fetus with the placenta while the fe...

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Unconscious: 1. Interruption of awareness of oneself and one's surroundings, lack ...

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Uterus: A hollow, pear-shaped organ that is located in a woman's lower abdomen, between th...

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Vascular: Relating to blood vessels. For example, the vascular system in the body includes...

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Ventilator: A machine that mechanically assists a patient in the exchange of oxygen and ca...

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Viruses: Small living particles that can infect cells and change how the cells function. I...

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Vitamin B1: Thiamine. Vitamin B1 (thiamine) acts as a coenzyme in the metabolism of the bo...

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Vitamins: The word "vitamin" was coined in 1911 by the Warsaw-born biochemist Casimir Funk...

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