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Medical Dictionary

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An alphabetical listing of General terms and items.

The larger of two types of conidia produced in the same manner by the same fungus.

A large scavenger white blood cell that ingests and processes foreign invaders and cellular debris. Specialized macrophages protect the skin, lungs (alveolar macrophages), brain (microglia), liver (Kupffer cells), and other tissues.

Macroscopic   Dico Tools
Adjective, Greek makros = large, and skopein = to examine; hence, large enough to be seen with the naked eye, e.g., pertaining to gross anatomy.

Macula   Dico Tools
Latin = spot (cf. immaculate - spotless); adjective - macular.

Magna   Dico Tools
Latin = great.

A sensitive, non-invasive method for viewing soft tissues of the body using a magnetic field.

Therapy that follows successful initial treatment of an illness; generally maintenance therapy continues for a long period of time (possibly for life) to prevent disease recurrence. Contrast with induction therapy.

A group of genes that controls the expression of cell surface protein markers (also known as human leukocyte antigen, or HLA, markers) that allow immune cells to recognize the body's own cells (that is, to distinguish "self" from "non-self").

MALAISE   Dico Tools
A generalized feeling of illness and discomfort; a flu-like feeling.

A cancer, neoplasm, or tumor that grows in an uncontrolled manner, and may invade nearby tissue and metastasize, or spread, to other areas of the body.

MALIGNANT   Dico Tools
A condition that is severe, harmful, or resistant to treatment. Contrast with benign.

Malignant Hypertension   Dico Tools
A dangerous type of hypertension marked by an unusually sudden rise in blood pressure to very high levels, often accompanied by headache, blurred vision, and seizures (see Hypertension).

Malignant Lymphedema   Dico Tools
A form of lymphedema caused by mechanically impaired lymph flow in the lymphatics and/or lymph nodes due to malignant tumor growth.

Malleolus   Dico Tools
Diminutive of Latin malleus = hammer, adjective - malleolar.

Malleus   Dico Tools
Latin = a hammer.

Lack of the minimum amount of nutrients (proteins, carbohydrates, lipids, vitamins, minerals, etc.) necessary for good health. Malnutrition may result from poor diet, lack of appetite, or inadequate absorption of nutrients from the gastrointestinal tract.

Mamma   Dico Tools
Latin = breast; adjective - mammary.

Mammilla   Dico Tools
Diminutive of mamma; adjective - mammillary.

Mandible   Dico Tools
Latin mandere = to chew; hence, the movable lower jaw; adjective - mandibular.

Manual Lymph Drainage   Dico Tools
A treatment technique using a series of rhythmic, light strokes to reduce swelling and improve the return of lymph to the circulatory system; MLD.

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Manubrium   Dico Tools
Latin = handle; adjective - manubrial.

Manus   Dico Tools
Latin = hand (cf. manual).

Margin   Dico Tools
The edge or border of a surface; adjective - marginal.

Masseter   Dico Tools
Greek = chewer; adjective - masseteric.

Mast Cell   Dico Tools
A type of large cell abundant in the mucosa, skin, the lining of the gut, and the airways. Mast cells play a key role in allergic reactions by releasing histamine, leukotrienes, and other inflammatory mediators (see Allergies).

Mastication   Dico Tools
Latin masticere = to chew.

Mastoid   Dico Tools
Adjective, Greek mastos = breast or teat, and eidos = shape or form.

Matrix   Dico Tools
Latin = a female animal used for breading, womb; refers to ground substance of connective tissue, and nail bed.

Maxilla   Dico Tools
Latin = jaw-bone; now used only for the upper jaw; adjective - maxillary.

MAXIMINE   Dico Tools
See histamine dihydrochloride.

MEAN (AVERAGE)   Dico Tools
A statistical measurement of the central tendency, or average, of a set of values. For example, in the series of values "1, 1, 3, 5, 6, 8, 8, 10, 21," the mean is 7 (determined by adding up all the values and dividing by the number of values). Contrast with median.

Meatus   Dico Tools
Latin = passage; adjective - meatal.

Medial   Dico Tools
On the inside (as opposed to lateral); not to be confused with the median nerve which is compressed in carpal tunnel syndrome.

MEDIAN   Dico Tools
The number within a series that is preceded and followed by an equal number of values. For example, in the series of values "1, 1, 3, 5, 6, 8, 8, 10, 21," the median is 6 (there are four values lower and four values higher). Contrast with mean.

Mediastinum   Dico Tools
Derivation doubtful, but possibly from Latin medius = middle, and stans = standing; hence, a median vertical partition, adjective - mediastinal.

MEDICAID   Dico Tools
In the United States, a program that is funded by federal and state governments that pays for medical care for those who cant afford it.

MEDICARE   Dico Tools
In the United States, a program that pays for certain health care expenses for people 65 and older.

A technique for relaxation and clearing and focusing the mind.

Medius   Dico Tools
Latin = middle.

Medulla   Dico Tools
Latin = marrow; applied to part of an organ deep to its cortex, and to the spinal cord and adjoining part of brain stem, which may have been thought to be the marrow of the vertebral column, adjective - medullary pertains to the medulla of an organ or medulla oblongata.

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A large precursor blood cell that gives rise to platelets.

MELD   Dico Tools
An acronym for Model End Stage Liver Disease. A severity score or calculation used for adults with liver disease to rank candidates for liver transplantation.

MEMBRANE   Dico Tools
A thin sheet or layer of tissue that serves as a semi-permeable covering.

A disease of the kidneys where HCV antibodies and viral particles are deposited in the kidneys.

Meninges   Dico Tools
Plural of Greek meninx = a membrane; adjective - meningeal.

Meniscus   Dico Tools
Latin menis - a small crescent.

MENOPAUSE   Dico Tools
The cessation of menstruation.

A stage of the female reproductive cycle. An ovum (egg) matures and is released every month. Hormones prepare the uterus for possible implantation. If pregnancy does not occur, the uterine lining (blood and tissue) is shed and expelled (the menstrual period).

Mental   Dico Tools
Adjective - Latin mentum = chin; or Latin mens = mind.

Mesencephalon   Dico Tools
Greek mesos = middle, and enkephalos = brain; adjective - mesencephalic.

Mesenchyme   Dico Tools
Greek mesos = middle, and chymos = juice; the embryonic connective tissue of the mesoderm.

Mesentery   Dico Tools
Greek mesos = middle, and enteron = intestine; hence, the peritoneal fold which tethers the centrally situated small intestine; adjective - mesenteric.

Mesial   Dico Tools
Adjective - medial, used in dental anatomy.

Mesoderm   Dico Tools
Greek mesos = middle, and derma = skin; the middle germ layer of the embryo.

Mesosalpinx   Dico Tools
Greek mesos = middle, and salpinx = tube; hence, the intermediate part of the broad ligament.

A piece of ribonucleic acid that carries genetic information from DNA to ribosomes in order to synthesize new proteins.

METABOLISM (adjective METABOLIC)   Dico Tools
The processes of building the body's molecular structures from nutrients (anabolism) and breaking them down for energy (catabolism). Also, the chemical processing or breakdown of food, drugs, and toxins.

Metacarpus   Dico Tools
Greek meta = after, and karpus = wrist; adjective - metacarpal.

Metaphysis   Dico Tools
Greek meta = after, and physis = growth; hence, the end of the shaft of a bone alongside the epiphysial or growth cartilage; adjective - metaphysial.

Metastases   Dico Tools
Secondary cancers that form after cancer cells spread to other parts of the body (see Breast Cancer).

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Metastasis   Dico Tools
The spread of cancer cells from the site of origin to another part of the body (see Breast Cancer).

A disease (especially cancer) that spreads from one part of the body to another.

Metatarsus   Dico Tools
Greek meta = after, and tarsos = ankle; hence, the bones beyond the tarsus, adjective - metatarsal.

Metencephalon   Dico Tools
Greek meta = beside, behind, or after, and enkephalos = brain; hence the parts of the hindbrain immediately caudal to the fore- and midbrain, namely the pons and cerebellum.

Metered-dose Inhaler   Dico Tools
A device for delivering inhaled asthma medications. Multiple doses of medication are held within a pressurized canister. With each use, the exact "metered" dose is released in the form of a spray (see Asthma).

METHADONE   Dico Tools
An oral opiate-like drug used for pain management and to treat opiate (e.g., heroin) addiction. Methadone maintenance therapy prevents withdrawal symptoms by administering small doses of the drug on a regular basis.

See s-adenosylmethionine.

Methotrexate   Dico Tools
A drug which is used in low doses for the treatment of inflammatory disorders, including various types of inflammatory arthritis, and in very high doses to treat certain cancers. It is sometimes abbreviated to MTX (See also slow-acting anti-rheumatic drugs).

MHC   Dico Tools
See major histocompatibility complex.

MICROCONIDIUM (pl. Microconidia)   Dico Tools
The smaller of two types of conidia produced in the same manner by the same fungus.

Micturition   Dico Tools
Latin micturare = to desire to pass urine.

The most widely used herbal remedy to treat chronic hepatitis. Silymarin is a combination of active components derived from milk thistle. Studies suggest that milk thistle can reduce hepatitis symptoms and helps prevent liver damage.

MINERAL   Dico Tools
An inorganic element that promotes chemical reactions within the body and is necessary for proper cellular metabolism. Essential minerals include calcium, iodine, iron, magnesium, potassium, and zinc.

Minimus   Dico Tools
Latin = smallest.

Miosis   Dico Tools
Greek meiosis = lessening; hence, pupillary constriction; adjective - miotic.

A pregnancy that ends prematurely and is not carried to term.

A rod-shaped organelle in the cytoplasm of a cell that produces energy.

MLD   Dico Tools
Abbreviation for Manual Lymph Drainage

Modality   Dico Tools
Latin modus = mode; hence, a form of sensation - e.g. touch, pain, sight.

Modiolus   Dico Tools
Latin a cylindrical borer with a serrated edge; hence, like a screw; the central stem of the bony cochlea.

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Molar   Dico Tools
Adjective, Latin mola = mill.

MOLD   Dico Tools
See Mycelium.

MOLECULE   Dico Tools
A small unit of matter made up of atoms. A molecule is the smallest unit of a substance that retains its unique characteristics.

Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors (MAOIs)   Dico Tools
Antidepressant medications that act by preventing the breakdown of the monoamines serotonin and norepinephrine (see Depression).

A preparation consisting of identical antibodies active against a specific pathogen.

MONOCYTE   Dico Tools
A large white blood cell that plays a role in immune defense. Monocytes circulate in the bloodstream; when they migrate to the tissues, they mature into macrophages.

Having a single spouse; more often used to refer to having a single sexual partner.

Use of a single drug for treatment. Monotherapy for HCV (interferon alone) is no longer considered standard treatment. Contrast with combination therapy.

Monounsaturated Fats   Dico Tools
Fatty acids, abundant in olive, peanut, sesame, and canola oils (see High Cholesterol).

Mons   Dico Tools
Latin = mountain; mons pubis, the soft tissue bulge over the female pubes.

A condition affecting the eyes causing pain, inflammation, tearing and loss of sight.

MORBIDITY   Dico Tools
Sickness; the state of being affected by disease.

Morphology   Dico Tools
Greek morphos = form, and logos = word or relation; hence, study of pattern of structure; adjective - morphological.

Death. The mortality rate is the rate of death in a given population.

Motility   Dico Tools
The ability of the digestive tract to propel its contents (see Digestive Health).

MOXA   Dico Tools
The herb mugwort.

In traditional Chinese medicine, the burning of an herb (moxa) to generate heat and stimulate the flow of qi.

MRI   Dico Tools
See magnetic resonance imaging.

MRNA   Dico Tools
See messenger RNA.

MU   Dico Tools
Abbreviation for million units.

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A moist layer of semi-permeable tissue lining the openings of the body (e.g., the gastrointestinal, respiratory, and genitourinary tracts).

Multifidus   Dico Tools
Latin multus = much, and findere = to split.

Occurring at more that one site.

A statistical analysis that takes into account several different factors or variables.

A nutritional supplement that contains several different essential vitamins and minerals.

MURIFORM   Dico Tools
Like a wall; multicellular, with transverse and longitudinal septations.

Muscle   Dico Tools
Latin musculus, diminutive of Greek mus = mouse, the body and head of which represent the main belly of a muscle, and the tail, the tendon.

MUTATION (verb MUTATE)   Dico Tools
A change in the character of a gene that is perpetuated when a cell divides or a virus replicates.

MYALGIA   Dico Tools
Muscle pain.

MYCELIUM   Dico Tools
The mass of hyphae making up a fungus colony.

MYCOLOGY   Dico Tools
The study of fungi.

Mydriasis   Dico Tools
Greek = dilatation of the pupil.

Myelencephalon   Dico Tools
Greek myelos = marrow (= Latin medulla), and enkephalos = brain; hence the medulla oblongata. See also medulla.

MYELIN   Dico Tools
A white fatty substance that forms a sheath around the axons of neurons (nerve cells) and provides the insulation necessary for the proper transmission of electrical impulses.

Inhibition of the bone marrow, resulting in decreased blood cell production.

Poisonous to or destructive of the bone marrow.

Myenteric   Dico Tools
Greek mys = muscle, and enteron = intestine, hence, pertaining to the muscle of the gut.

Mylohyoid   Dico Tools
Greek mylo = molar, and hyoeides = U-shaped.

Blockage of the arteries serving the heart, often leading to angina pectoris and/or heart attack.

Myocardium   Dico Tools
Greek mys = muscle, and kardia = heart, adjective - myocardial.

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MYOPATHY   Dico Tools
Muscle inflammation, damage, or disease.

Myotome   Dico Tools
Greek mys = muscle, and tome = a cutting or division; hence, a group of muscles innervated by a single spinal segment.

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