Leukemia

Definition of Leukemia


Take the Leukemia Quiz

Leukemia: Cancer of the blood cells. Strictly speaking, leukemia should refer only to cancer of the white blood cells (leukocytes), but in practice it can apply to malignancy of any cellular element in the blood or bone marrow, as in red cell leukemia (erythroleukemia). Treatment may involve chemo’therapy, radiation therapy, biological therapy, and/or bone marrow transplantation. Also spelled leucemia. See also accelerated phase of leukemia; leukemia, blastic phase of; leukemia, chronic phase of; leukemia, hairy cell; leukemia, lymphocytic; leukemia, myeloid; leukemia, refractory; myelodysplastic syndrome.

Last Editorial Review: 5/13/2016

Leukemia Quiz: Test Your Medical IQ

Wilson disease

Definition of Wilson disease


19 Habits That Wreck Your Teeth

Wilson disease: An inherited disorder of copper metabolism that results in an abnormal accumulation of copper in the body. Although the accumulation of copper begins at birth, symptoms of the disorder do not appear until later in life, between the ages of 6 and 40. A diagnostic feature of the disease is a Kayser-Fleischer ring, a deep copper-colored ring around the edge of the cornea that represents copper deposits in the eye. The main clinical consequence of Wilson disease for most affected persons is liver disease. In other patients the first symptoms are nervous system or psychiatric symptoms or both and include tremor, rigidity, drooling, difficulty with speech, abrupt personality change, grossly inappropriate behavior and inexplicable deterioration of school or other work, neurosis, and psychosis. Without proper treatment, Wilson disease is always fatal, usually by age 30. If treatment is begun early enough, symptomatic recovery is usually complete, and a life of normal length and quality can be expected. Wilson disease is inherited in an autosomal recessive manner and is due to mutation of the ATP7B gene on chromosome 13. The ATP7B gene encodes ATPase, a
copper-transporting beta polypeptide.

Last Editorial Review: 5/13/2016

Back to MedTerms online medical dictionary A-Z List
Pill Identifier Tool

Need help identifying pills and medications?
Use the pill finder tool on RxList.

Colon cancer that has metastasized to the liver

Definition of Colon cancer that has metastasized to the liver


View Slideshow Pictures

Colon cancer that has metastasized to the liver: a metastatic (spread from its site of origin to a distant site) cancer that originated in the colon and has spread through the bloodstream to the liver.

See also: colon cancer, metastasis.

REFERENCE:

Rakel R.E. et al. “Textbook of Family Medicine.” 9th edition. Saunders 2015.

Last Editorial Review: 6/17/2016

Back to MedTerms online medical dictionary A-Z List
Pill Identifier Tool

Need help identifying pills and medications?
Use the pill finder tool on RxList.

Asphyxia

Definition of Asphyxia


Asphyxia: Impaired breathing that results in severely decreased delivery of oxygen to body tissues. Asphyxia can be fatal. Choking is an example of asphyxia. Traumatic asphyxia is an uncommon cause that results from an intense compression of the chest area. Asphyxia is also known as asphyxiation.

Kasper, D., et al. “Harrison’s Principles of Internal Medicine. McGraw-Hill Education/Medical. 19th edition. 2015

Last Editorial Review: 6/21/2016

Back to MedTerms online medical dictionary A-Z List
Pill Identifier Tool

Need help identifying pills and medications?
Use the pill finder tool on RxList.

Ectodermal dysplasia

Definition of Ectodermal dysplasia


19 Habits That Wreck Your Teeth

Ectodermal dysplasia: A genetic disorder in which the skin and associated structures (the hair, nails, teeth, and sweat glands) develop abnormally. X-linked anhidrotic (nonsweating) ectodermal dysplasia is most common; because it is an X-linked trait, it mainly affects males. There is also an autosomal dominant form that affects both males and females. The term ectodermal dysplasia refers to the abnormal development (dysplasia) of structures derived from one of the germ cell layers in the embryo (ectoderm).

Last Editorial Review: 6/9/2016

Back to MedTerms online medical dictionary A-Z List
Pill Identifier Tool

Need help identifying pills and medications?
Use the pill finder tool on RxList.

Flesh-eating bacteria

Definition of Flesh-eating bacteria


Slideshow: 19 Habits That Wreck Your Teeth

Flesh-eating bacteria: A popular media term for a type of strep bacteria (group A streptococcus) which rapidly destroys tissue and left untreated causes death. Surgical excision of dead and infected tissue is usually necessary to help control the infection. The rapid spread and destruction of tissue caused by these bacteria is thought due to a combination of factors related to a protective coat and other substances produced by the bacteria.

Other bacteria besides strep can also exhibit this type of behavior.
Last Editorial Review: 9/20/2012

Back to MedTerms online medical dictionary A-Z List
Pill Identifier Tool

Need help identifying pills and medications?
Use the pill finder tool on RxList.

Pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors (pancreatic NETs)

Definition of Pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors (pancreatic NETs)


Cancer 101: Cancer Explained

Pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors (pancreatic NETs): a type of tumor that arises from hormone-producing cells in the pancreas. Pancreatic NETs may be either benign or malignant and may produce hormones (termed a “functional” pancreatic NET) or not produce hormones (a “nonfunctional” pancreatic NET). Often, the tumor itself does not produce signs or symptoms, although the hormones produced by the tumor may cause symptoms.

  • The main types of functional pancreatic NETs are gastrinoma, insulinoma, and glucagonoma. These produce the hormones gastrin, insulin, or glucagon, respectively. Most glucagonomas and gastrinomas are malignant, while most insulinomas are benign. Nonfunctional tumors also tend to be malignant.
  • Other types of functional pancreatic NETs include tumors that produce vasoactive intestinal peptide (VIPomas) and somatostatinomas.
  • Having the condition known as multiple endocrine neoplasia 1 syndrome (MEN1) increases the risk of developing a pancreatic NET.
  • Some of the symptoms produced by the different kinds of pancreatic NETs include changes in
    hypoglycemia,
    diarrhea, stomach ulcers,
    dehydration, and
    weight loss, although the specific symptoms vary according to the type of hormone made by the tumor.
  • There are a number of possible treatments, including surgery,
    chemotherapy,
    hormone therapy, and targeted therapy.

REFERENCE: National Cancer Institute. “Pancreatic Neuroendocrine Tumors (Islet Cell Tumors) Treatment (PDQ®)–Patient Version.” Updated Jul 30, 2015.
http://www.cancer.gov/types/pancreatic/patient/pnet-treatment-pdq

Last Editorial Review: 6/17/2016

Back to MedTerms online medical dictionary A-Z List
Pill Identifier Tool

Need help identifying pills and medications?
Use the pill finder tool on RxList.

HIV

Definition of HIV


HIV/AIDS Myths and Facts

HIV: Acronym for the
Human Immunodeficiency Virus, the cause of AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency
syndrome). HIV has also been called the human
lymphotropic virus type III, the lymphadenopathy-associated virus and
the lymphadenopathy virus. No matter
what name is applied, it is a retrovirus. (A retrovirus has an RNA genome and a
reverse transcriptase enzyme. Using the reverse transcriptase, the virus uses its RNA as a template for making complementary
DNA which can
integrate into the DNA of the host organism).

Although the American
research Robert Gallo at the National Institutes of Health (NIH)
believed he was the first to find HIV, it is now generally accepted that the
French physician Luc Montagnier (1932-) and his team at the Pasteur
Institute discovered HIV in 1983-84.

Last Editorial Review: 8/28/2013


HIV AIDS Pictures Slideshow: Myths and Facts on Symptoms and Treatments