Science of medicine and disease

Abdominal ultrasound

Ultrasound technology allows doctors to "see" inside a patient without resorting to surgery. A transmitter sends high frequency sound waves into the body, where they bounce off the different tissues and organs to produce a distinctive pattern of echoes.

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Aortic aneurysm

An aneurysm is an abnormal bulging or swelling of a portion of a blood vessel. The aorta, which can develop these abnormal bulges, is the large blood vessel that carries oxygen-rich blood away from the heart to the rest of the body.

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Acute lymphangitis

Acute lymphangitis is a bacterial infection in the lymphatic vessels which is characterized by painful, red streaks below the skin surface. This is a potentially serious infection that can rapidly spread to the bloodstream and be fatal.

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Abortion, therapeutic

An abortion may be performed whenever there is some compelling reason to end a pregnancy. Women have abortions because continuing the pregnancy would cause them hardship, endanger their life or health, or because prenatal testing has shown that the fetus

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Abscess incision and drainage

An abscess is a pus-filled sore, usually caused by a bacterial infection. The pus is made up of both live and dead organisms and destroyed tissue from the white blood cells that were carried to the area to fight the infection. Abscesses are often found in the soft tissue under the skin, such as the armpit or the groin. However, they may develop in any organ, and are commonly found in the breast and gums. Abscesses are far more serious and call for more specific treatment if they are located in deep organs such as the lung, liver or brain.

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Abscess

There are two types of abscesses, septic and sterile. Most abscesses are septic, which means that they are the result of an infection. Septic abscesses can occur anywhere in the body.Only a germ and the body's immuneresponse are required. In response to the invading germ,

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Aging

Human beings reach a peak of growth and development around the time of their mid 20s. Aging is the normal transition time after that flurry of activity. Although there are quite a few age-related changes that tax the body, disability is not necessarily a part of aging.

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Acne

Acne originates in the oil or sebaceous glands that lie just beneath the surface of the skin, within the hair follicles. These glands produce an oil called sebum-the skin's natural moisturizer-which also helps preserve the flexibility of the hair.

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Albinism

Albinism is an inherited condition present at birth, characterized by a lack of pigment that normally gives color to the skin, hair, and eyes. Many types of albinism exist, all of which involve lack of pigment in varying degrees. The condition, which is found in all races, may be accompanied by eye problems and may lead to skin cancer later in life.

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Amnesia

Amnesia refers to the loss of memory. Memory loss may result from two-sided (bilateral) damage to parts of the brain vital for memory storage, processing, or recall (the limbic system, including the hippocampus in the medial temporal lobe).

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Appendectomy

Appendectomy is the surgical removal of the appendix. The appendix is a worm-shaped hollow pouch attached to the cecum, the beginning of the large intestine.

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Aphasia

Aphasia is condition characterized by either partial or total loss of the ability to communicate verbally or using written words. A person with aphasia may have difficulty speaking, reading, writing, recognizing the names of objects, or understanding what other people have said.

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Atherectomy

Atherectomy is a procedure to open blocked arteries or vein grafts by using a device on the end of a catheter to cut or shave away atherosclerotic plaque blocking the flow of blood.

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Breastfeeding

Breastfeeding is the practice of feeding an infant milk through the mother's breast. According to La Leche League International (LLLI), human milk is "a living fluid that protects babies from disease and actively contributes to the development of every system in baby's body." Breastfeeding stimulates the immune systems of babies and helps to protect against diarrhea and infection.

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Bronchiectasis

Prior to the widespread use of immunizations, bronchiectasis was often the result of a serious infection with either measles or whooping cough. Currently, viruses that cause influenza (flu) or influenza-like syndromes, as well as a number of bacteria may precede the development of bronchiectasis. Patients who have been infected with tuberculosis or the virus that causes AIDS (HIV or human immunodeficiency virus) also have an increased chance of bronchiectasis.

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Burns

A physician will diagnose a burn based upon visual examination, and will also ask the patient or family members questions to determine the best treatment. He or she may also check for smoke inhalation, carbon monoxide poisoning, cyanide poisoning, other event-related trauma, or, if suspected, further evidence of child abuse.

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Bursitis

Bursitis is the painful inflammation of the bursa, a padlike sac found in areas subject to friction. Bursae cushion the movement between the bones, tendons and muscles near the joints. Bursitis is most often caused by repetitive movement and is known by several common names including weaver's bottom, clergyman's knee, and miner's elbow, depending on the affected individual's occupation and area of injury.

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Adenoid hyperplasia

Located at the back of the mouth above and below the soft palate are two pairs of lymph glands. The tonsils below are clearly visible behind the back teeth; the adenoids lie just above them and are hidden from view by the palate. Together these four arsenals of immune defense guard the major entrance to the body from foreign invaders-the germs humans breathe and eat. In contrast to the rest of the body's tissues, lymphoid tissue reaches its greatest size in mid-childhood (around five years of age) and recedes thereafter (generally by seven years). In this way children are best able to develop the immunities they need to survive in a world full of infectious diseases.

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