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Aerospace Medicine?
It deals with medical problems related to flying and space travel.

It is the study of the physical structure of organisms. In contrast to macroscopic or gross anatomy, cytology and histology (see below) are concerned with microscopic structures.

Angiogenesis? In the case of tumors, it is the formation of new blood vessels in response to the energy needs of the tumor.

Molecules that transform free radicals into harmless by-products, thus reducing their potential for harm.

Anti-Oxidant Theory?
Anti-oxidant properties are characteristics common to many edible plant foods that fight the harmful effects of free radicals, especially in the oxidation of blood vessel walls that is the cause of many vascular diseases. This theory has limitations. 

(From the words auto meaning "self", and poiesis - which shares the same Greek root as the word poetry - meaning "making"; so autopoiesis means "self-making".) Autopoiesis is the defining characteristic of life. It is a general pattern of organization, common to all living systems, whichever the nature of their components. It is a network of production processes, in which the function of each component is to participate in the production or transformation of other components in the network. In this way, the entire network continually "makes itself". It is produced by its components and in turn produces those components. Autopoiesis is seen as the pattern underlying the phenomenon of self-organization, or autonomy, that is so characteristic of living systems. In a living system, the product of its operation is its own organization. An important characteristic of living systems is that their autopoietic organization includes the creation of a boundary that specifies the domain of the network's operations and defines the system as a unit. Through their interactions with the environment, living organisms continually maintain and renew themselves, using energy and resources from the environment for that purpose. This creation of novelty, resulting in development and evolution, is an intrinsic aspect of autopoiesis (Ref: Humberto Maturana and Francisco Varela, "Autopoiesis: The Organization of the Living", published originally under the title "De Maquinas y Seres Vivos", Editorial Universitaria, Santiago, Chile, 1972).

Attractor? It is the trajectory of an object in phase space (an abstract mathematical space having the same number of dimensions as the number of variables of the system in which the object evolves). There are three basic types of attractors: (1) "point attractors", which correspond to a system in stable equilibrium. They are represented by open trajectories in phase space; (2) "periodic attractors", which correspond to periodic oscillations . They are represented by closed trajectories in phase space; and (3) "strange attractors", which correspond to chaotic systems. They are represented in phase space by trajectories that correspond to complex figures (examples are the Ueda attractor of a chaotic pendulum; the Lorenz attractor; etc.). They also exhibit fractal geometry. The phase space of a nonlinear system is partitioned into several "basins of attraction", each basin embedding its own separate attractor.

Autosomes? The chromosomes which are not sex chromosomes. There are 22 pairs of autosomes in humans.


It is the study of the chemistry taking place in living organisms, especially the structure and function of their chemical components.

Bioethics? It is a field of study which concerns the relationship between biology, science, medicine and ethics, philosophy and theology. 

Biomedical Engineering? It is a field dealing with the application of engineering principles to medical practice.

It is the application of statistics to biological fields in the broadest sense. A knowledge of  biostatistics is essential in the planning, evaluation, and interpretation of medical research. It is also fundamental to epidemiology and evidence-based medicine.

Blastocyst? Very early mammalian embryo, consisting of about 100 cells. The blastocyst comprises a hollow ball of dlls that will give rise to the placenta, surrounding a smaller, denser ball of cells that will give rise to the body of the embryo. 

Blastocyst/Embryo/Fetus? During the first two weeks after egg fertilization, the entity is a blastocyst. Between two weeks and eight weeks, the entity is an embryo. After eight weeks  and until birth, the entity is called a fetus.


Cancer? It is a chronic disease caused by disturbance(s) in cellular fiunction wherein the cell progressively acquires certain defining characteristics that allow it to grow and invade surrounding structures. We distinguish three stages in its evolution: initiation, promotion, and progression into metastasis.  

Cardiology? It is the science of the heart and its diseases.

Catalyst? It is a substance that increases the rate of a chemical reaction without itself being changed in the process.

Catalytic Networks?
In biochemical systems far from equilibrium, that is, systems exposed to energy flows, different catalytic reactions combine to form complex networks that may contain closed loops. In a catalytic network of enzymes, enzymes catalyze each other's formation in such a way that a closed loop, or catalytic cycle, is formed. These catalytic cycles are at the core of self-organizing chemical systems and in metabolic functions of living organisms. However, catalytic cycles do not constitute living systems.

Catalytic Reactions?
These are crucial processes in the chemistry of life. The most common and most efficient catalysts are the enzymes which are the essential components of cells promoting vital metabolic processes.

Catastrophe Theory?
It is the theory of bifurcation points (critical points of instability) in open systems operating far from equilibrium. Currently, mathematicians know of about 21 bifurcation points of instability. 

Chaotic Behavior? It is deterministic and patterned. Strange attractors allow us to transform the seemingly random data into a distinct visible shape.

Chaotic Pendulum? It is a pendulum characterized by oscillations that almost repeat themselves but not quite, seemingly random, and yet forming a complex, highly organized pattern.

Chaotic Systems? A common feature of all chaotic systems is the impossibility of predicting which part in phase space the attractor's trajectory will pass through, even though the system is governed by deterministic equations. However, whereas chaos theory is not capable of making representative predictions at a particular time, it can make very accurate predictions of qualitative features of the system's behavior. Chaotic systems are characterized by extreme sensitivity to initial conditions. Minute changes in the system's initial state will lead over time to large-scale consequences known as the "butterfly effect".

Chromatin? DNA in combination with its associated proteins, especially histone proteins.
Cloning? Cloning has two distinct meanings. The first describes the creation of an exact genetic replica of another living organism or a single cell. The second refers to the copying of a single piece of DNA (which may or may not be a gene), by propagating it in a bacteria or yeast. The technique used ("somatic cell nuclear transfer - SCNT", or "cell-nucleus replacement- CNR")  is one in which the genetic material from an egg cell is replaced with that of an adult or embryo body cell of the same animal species.

(from the Latin cognoscere or "to know") It is the process of knowing or perceiving. Autopoiesis and cognition are two different aspects of the same phenomenon of life.

Community (or Public) Health?
It is an aspect of health services concerned with threats to the overall health of the community or the public at large based on population health analysis.

Concordance? The degree to which two genetically identical individuals are identical phenotypically.
Conservation (or Ecological) Medicine or Medical Geology?
It studies the relationship between human and animal health, and environmental conditions. 

CpG? A cystosine nucleotide followed by a guanine nucleotide in DNA. CpG motifs can undergo methylation on the C.
Critical Care Medicine?
It is the branch of medicine that is concerned with the around-the-clock monitoring of a hospitalized patient's vital signs and condition, diagnosis, and treatment. It requires constant and specialized professional bedside care with expert physicians in attendance.

Cybernetics? (from the Greek word kybernetes "steersman"). It is the science of "control and communication", in the animal and the machine (Ref: Norbert Wiener, "Cybernetics", MIT Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1948; reprinted 1961). It is the study of systems that are open to energy but closed to information and control, systems that are information-tight.

It is the microscopic study of individual cells. 


Deontology (medical)? It is the set of moral rules governing the medical professionals and the practice  of their profession. (Same as Medical ethics of Bioethics). 

DeoxyriboNucleic acid (DNA)?
It is the chemical that encodes genetic information. It contains four different chemicals, or "bases", known as A(Adenine), C(Cytosine), G(Guanine), and T(Thymine).

It is concerned with the skin and its diseases.

In cell biology, differentiation is used to denote complete or partial fixing of the genome. It is the key to understanding development. The biochemical basis of cell differentiation is the synthesis by cells of particular sets of proteins, carbohydrates, and lipids.

Disaster Medicine?
It deals with medical aspects of emergency preparedness, disaster mitigation and management.

Discordance? The degree to which two genetically identical  individuals are non-identical phenotypically.
DNA Replication? Copying DNA to create new DNA molecules which are identical to the original.

DNMT? DNA MethylTransferase. An enzyme that can add methyl groups to cytosine bases in DNA.

Dynamical Systems Theory (DST) (or mathematics of complexity, or systems dynamics, or complex dynamics, or nonlinear dynamics)?
It is not a theory of  phenomena but a mathematical theory whose concepts and techniques are applied to a broad range of phenomena. (The same is true for "chaos theory" and the "theory of fractals", which are important branches of DST.) It is a mathematics of relationships and patterns, qualitative rather than quantitative. It embodies the shift of emphasis from objects to relationships, from quantity to quality, and from substance to pattern. For small alterations in the governing equations, the system remains structurally stable, that is with the basic character of the phase portrait unchanged. However, for larger changes, the systems become structurally unstable, that is attractors disappear or change into one another, or new attractors may suddenly appear. The critical points of instability are called "bifurcation points" (or "catastrophes"). Such instabilities can occur only in open systems operating far from equilibrium. The qualitative analysis of a dynamic system consists in identifying the system's "attractors" and "basins of attraction", and classifying them in terms of their topological characteristics. The result is a dynamical picture of the entire system called the "phase portrait".

Dissipative Structures?
They refer to the description of self-organizing systems in which dissipation becomes a source of order (Ref: Ilya Prigogine, "Dissipative Structures in Chemical Systems", in Stig Claesson (ed.); "Fast Reactions and Primary Processes in Chemical Kinetics", Interscience, New York, 1967). They not only maintain themselves in a stable state far from equilibrium, but may even evolve. When the flow of energy and matter through them increases, they may go through new instabilities and transform themselves into new structures of increased complexity. Although the structure of a living system is always a dissipative structure, not all dissipative structures are autopietic networks. A dissipative structure may be a living or non-living system. 


Ecoethical Values? These are values that are not peripheral to science and technology but constitute their very basis and driving force.

Ecological Community? It is the assemblage of organisms bound into a functional whole by their mutual relationships. Most organisms are not only members of ecological communities but are also complex ecosystems themselves, containing a host of smaller organisms that have considerable autonomy and yet are integrated harmoniously into the functioning of the whole.

(from the Greek oikos "household"; term coined in 1866 by biologist Ernst Haechel). It is the science of the relations between the organism and the surrounding outer world. It studies the relationships that interlink all members of the Earth Household. We distinguish between:

  • "Shallow" ecology, that is anthropocentric (or human centered). It views humans as above or outside of nature, as the source of all values, and ascribes only instrumental or "use" value to nature; and
  • "Deep" ecology that is ecocentric (or Earth centered). It does not separate humans or anything else from the natural environment. It sees the world not as a collection of isolated objects but as a network of phenomena that are fundamentally interconnected and interdependent. It recognizes the intrinsic value of all living beings and views humans as just one particular strand in the web of life. All living beings are members of ecological communities bound together in a network of interdependencies.

(Ref: Frijtof Capra, "The Web of Life", Anchor Books, Random House, Inc., 1996).

Ecosystem? It is the community of organisms and their physical environment interacting as an ecological unit.

It is the study of the early development of organisms.

Emergency Medicine? It is concerned with the diagnosis and treatment of acute or life-threatening conditions, including trauma, surgical, medical, pediatric, and psychiatric emergencies.

Emotional Intelligence? Often measured as an Emotional Intelligence (EI) Quotient , emotional intelligence is a term that describes the ability, capacity, and skill or a self-perceived ability to identify, assess, and manage the emotions of one's self, of others, and of groups. Different models have been proposed for the definition of EI and disagreements exist as to how the term should be used. Despite these disagreements, which are often highly technical, the ability EI and trait EI models (but not he mixed models) are enjoying considerable support in the literature and have successful applications in many different domains.
    The most distant roots of emotional intelligence can be traced to Darwin's early work on the importance of emotional expression for survival and second adaptation. It wasn't until the publication of Daniel Goleman's best seller "Emotional Intelligence: Why It Can Matter More Than IQ" that the term became widely popularized.

It is the science dealing with the internal secretions and their physiologic and pathologic conditions.

Endostatin? It is an angiogenesis inhibitor.

Entelechy (or self-completion)?
It is the process of self-realization that unifies matter and  form.

Environmental Medicine (or Environmental Health Sciences)? This clinical application of molecular medicine and epigenetics studies the modifiable environment to identify and correct abnormalities that trigger sickness.

It is the study of the demographics of disease processes, and includes, but is not limited to, the studies of epidemics.

Epigenetics? This is the study of the variables (including environmental factors) that regulate and control gene expression in all its forms. It refers to mechanisms that control gene activity, which do not change the DNA sequence itself.

Epigenome? All the epigenetic modifications on the DNA genome and its associated histone proteins. 
It is an understanding of the process of knowing, a method of questioning.

ES Cells? Embryonic stem cells. Pluripotent cells experimentally derived from the Inner Cell Mass (ICM).  
Ethics (medical)?
It is the set of rules that govern the practice of the medical profession. (Same as Medical Ethics or Bioethics.)

Eugenics? Refers to methods aimed at improving the health of human populations through the application of genetics.

Evolutionary Medicine? It is a perspective on medicine derived through applying evolutionary theory.

Evolutionary Psychology?
It attempts to explain psychological traits - such as memory, perception, or language - as adaptations, that is, as the functional products of natural selection or sexual selection. Adaptationist thinking about physiological mechanisms, such as the heart, lungs, and immune system, is common in evolutionary biology. Evolutionary psychology applies the same thinking to psychology. 
    Evolutionary psychologists argue that much of human behavior is generated by psychological adaptations that evolved to solve recurrent problems in human ancestral environments. They hypothesize, for example, that humans have inherited special mental capacities for acquiring language, making it nearly automatic, while inheriting no capacity specifically for reading and writing. Other adaptations might include the abilities to infer others' emotions, to discern kin from non-kin, to identify and prefer healthier mates, to cooperate with others, and so on.  
Consistent with the theory of natural selection, evolutionary psychology sees organisms as often in conflict with others of their species, including mates and relatives. Evolutionary psychologists see those behaviors and emotions that are nearly universal (such as fear of spiders and snakes) as more likely to reflect evolved adaptations. Evolved psychological adaptations (such as the ability to learn a language) interact with cultural inputs to produce specific behaviors. This view is contrary to the idea that human mental faculties are general-purpose learning mechanisms.

Evolutionary Thinking? It is thinking in terms of change, growth, and development.

Exon? Region of a gene that codes for a section that is present in the final version of the mRNAS copied from that gene. Most, but not all, eons encode amino acids in the final protein produced from a gene. 


Feedback? It is the conveying of information about the outcome of any process or activity to its source. The polarity of a feedback loop is the product of the polarities of its causal links. It is the essential mechanism of homeostasis.

Feedback Loops? These are abstract patterns of relationships embedded in physical structures or in the activities of living organisms.

Forensic Medicine?
It deals with medical questions in a legal context, such as determination of the time and cause of death.

Fractal Geometry? It is a powerful mathematical language to describe the fine scale structure of nature, including chaotic attractors( Ref: Benoit Mandelbrot, "The Fractal Geometry of Nature", Freeman, New York, 1983; first original French edition published in 1975). The most striking property of these fractal shapes (namely, self similarity) is that their characteristic patterns are found repeatedly at descending scales, so that their parts at any scale are similar in shape to the whole. Strange attractors are exquisite examples of fractals. Like for chaotic systems, it is impossible to calculate the length or area of a fractal shape, but we can define the degree of jaggedness in a qualitative way. The central mathematical feature linking chaos theory and fractal geometry is the process of iteration (so-called "baker transformation"). Fractal shapes generated by iteration are: the Koch (or snow flake) curve, the Mandelbrot cloud, the Garcia fern, etc. With these new mathematical techniques (called "fractal forgeries"), scientists have been able to construct accurate models of a wide variety of irregular natural shapes, and in so doing have discovered the pervasive appearance of fractals. Many fractal shapes can be generated mathematically by iterative procedures in the complex plane (for example, the "Julia sets").


Gamete? An egg or a sperm.

It is the branch of medical science concerned with the function and disorders of the stomach and intestines.

Gender-Based Medicine? It studies the biological and physiological differences between the human sexes and how they affect differences in disease.

General (or Family) Practice, or Family Medicine, or Primary Care? It is, in many countries, the first port-of-call for patients with non-emergency medical problems.

Genes? These are the basic biological units of inheritance, the information that is passed on from one generation to the next. We have two sets of around 25,000 different genes (one set inherited from each parent), which together influence our appearance, health and maybe even aspects of our personality. Genes are made out of DNA, and most are coded instructions for making everything your body needs to develop, grow, and survive.  

Gene Expression/Repression?
The variations between tissues are not due to the presence or absence of certain genes, but to the "expression" of some genes and the "repression" of other genes.

Gene Therapy? An experimental medical technique that aims to treat an illness by replacing a faulty or missing gene with a working copy, or by switching off  a harmful gene.

Gene transcription? It is the process by which genetic information in DNA is converted into RNA, with the RNA ultimately "translated" into protein.

Genetic condition? A condition or illness caused by changes in a gene or genes, affecting the way the body looks, develops or works.

Genetic counselling? Information and advice given to patients affected by, or at risk of a genetic condition. An explanation of risks and options may include the findings of specific genetic tests.

Genetic modification/engineering? The permanent alteration of an organism's genetic material, using laboratory-based techniques rather than conventional breeding methods.

Genetic susceptibility/predisposition? Increased probability (compared to the general population) of developing a disease, due to the presence of one or more gene mutations.

Genetic test? A test that gives genetic information, for example about paternity, disease status or disease susceptibility.

It is the study of genes, and their role in biological inheritance. 

Genome? The total genetic information of a living thing, a complete copy of which is found in most body cells. The human genome is made up of around 2.9 billion chemical letters ("base-pairs") of DNA. All the DNA in the  nucleus of a cell.

Genotype? The specific set of gene variations ("alleles") inherited at a particular chromosome location.

It is the branch of medicine concerned with the medical problems and care of old people.

Germ line? The cells that pass on genetic information from parent to child. These are the eggs and the sperm (and their precursors). 


HDAC? Histone deacetylase. An enzyme that can remove acetyl groups from histone proteins.

Health 2.0?
A term that represents the possibilities between health care, eHealth, and Web 2.0, and has come in use after a recent spate of articles in newspapers, and by physicians and librarians (Ref: "Health 2.0: Technology and Society: Is the Outbreak of Cancer Videos, Bulimia Dogs and Other Forms of "User Generated" Medical Information a Healthy Trend?", The Economist , September 6: 73-74, 2007; D. Gustini "How Web 2.0 is Changing Medicine", Editorial  of the British Medical Journal, 333:1283-1284, 2006). It is "the participatory health care characterized by the ability to rapidly share, classify and summarize individual health information with the goals of improving health care systems, experiences and outcomes via integration of patients and stakeholders" (Ref: R. Crespo, "Virtual Community  Health Promotion", Preventing Chronic Disease" 4(3): 75, 2007.

Hematology? It is the medical specialty that pertains to the anatomy, physiology, pathology, symptomatology, and therapeutics related to the blood and blood-forming tissues.

Hepatology? It is the 
branch of medical science treating especially the liver.

It is the study of the structures of biological tissues by light microscopy, electron microscopy, and immunohistochemistry.

Histones? Globular proteins that are closely associated with DNA, and which can be epigenetically modified.

Homeopathy? A system of therapy developed by Samuel Hahnemann on the theory that large doses of a ceratin drug given to a healthy person will produce certain conditions which, when occurring spontaneously as symptoms of a disease, are relieved by the same drug in small doses. This was called the "law of similia" - a sort of "fighting fire with fire" therapy. Many different ideas, such as the theory of dynamization (that repeated trituration, or dilution with agitation, enhanced the power of a drug) characterized the cult. The real value of it was to demonstrate the healing powers of nature and the therapeutic virtue of placebos. 

It is the self-regulatory mechanism that allows organisms to maintain themselves in a state of dynamic balance with their variables fluctuating between tolerance limits (Ref: Claude Bernard, French scientist, near the end of the XIXth century; Walter B. Cannon, "The Wisdom of the Body", Norton, New York, 1932). It is the equilibrium of vital forces in the body.

Hospital Medicine? It is concerned with the general medical care of hospitalized patients.

Human Epigenome Project (HEP)? An international project that is targeting the "control switches" that regulate genes.

Human Genome Project (HGP)? An international, publicly-funded effort to read and decode the entire genetic information of a human being, the results of which were published in 2003.

Hyperbaric (or Diving) Medicine?
It is concerned with the prevention and treatment of diving-related problems. 

Biochemical) Hypercycles? With sufficient time and a continuing flow of energy, catalytic cycles tend to interlock to form closed loops (or hypercycles) in which the enzymes produced in one cycle act as a catalyst on the subsequent cycle. They self-organize, self-reproduce, and evolve but are not "alive".


It is the study of the immune system, which includes, for example, the innate and adaptive immune system in humans.

Imprinting? Phenomenon in which expression of certain genes depends on whether they are inherited from the mother or the father.

Infectious Diseases?
It is that branch of medical science that is concerned with all diseases capable of being transmitted by infection, with or without actual contact. Also denote diseases due to the action of microorganisms.

Inner Cell Mass (ICM)? The pluripotent cells in the inside of the early blastocyst that will give rise to all cells of the body.

Internal Medicine?
It is that branch of medicine that is concerned with systemic diseases of adults. It treats the whole patient. An internal medicine physician (or internist) can treat many illnesses and conditions, and is skilled in treating a patient who has several illnesses or disorders at the same time. This internist, who can be a primary care physician, emphasizes disease prevention and wellness, but can treat problems of the eyes, ears, skin, nervous system and reproductive organs, along with mental health or substance abuse issues, cancer or diseases of the heart, blood, kidneys, joints, and digestive, respiratory care and vascular systems.   

Intron? Region of a gene that codes for a section that is removed tom the final version of the mRNA copied from that gene. 

iPS Cells?
Induced pluripotent cells. Produced by reprogramming mature cells with specific genes that cause terminally differentiated cells to revert into pluripotent ones.

kB? Kilobase. 1,000 base pairs.


Living Systems?
There are three kinds: organisms, parts of organisms, and communities of organisms (social systems and ecosystems), all of which are integrated wholes whose essential properties arise from the interactions and interdependence of their parts. Living systems operate far from equilibrium. We distinguish between:

  • Open systems:These are systems that cannot be described by the Second Law of Thermodynamics. They need to feed on a continual flow of matter and energy from their environment to stay alive. They settle into states far from equilibrium. Self-regulation is anoher of their key properties (Ref: Ludwig von Bertalanffy, "The Theory of Open Systems in Physics and Biology", Science, Vol. 111, pp. 23-29, 1950; and "General Systems Theory", Braziller, New York, 1968); and
  • Closed systems: These  systems are governed by the Second Law of Thermodynamics. In such systems, some mechanical energy is always dissipated into heat that cannot be completely recovered. They settle into a state of thermal equilibrium.

Key criteria of a living system are: (1) Pattern of organization, that is the configuration of relationships that determines the system's essential characteristics; (2) Structure, that is the physical embodiment of the system's pattern of organization; and (3) Life process, that is the activity involved in the continual embodiment of the system's pattern of organization (Ref: Frijtof Capra, "The Web of Life", Anchor Books, A Division of Random House, Inc., New York, 1996).

Logistic Mapping?
This is a mapping used by ecologists to describe the growth of a population under opposing tendencies.


miRNA? Micro RNA. Small RNA molecules that are copied  from DNA but that don't code for proteins. miRNAs are a subset of ncRNA.

mRNA? Messenger RNA. Copied from DNA and codes for proteins.

Mandelbrot Set?
It is the principal visual symbol of the new mathematics of complexity. It serves as a catalog of all Julia sets. While there is an infinite number of Julia sets, the Mandelbrot set is unique. It is a structure of patterns of infinite detail and variations. It is a "superfractal" of inconceivable complexity.

Medical Humanities?
The field includes the humanities (literature, philosophy, ethics, history, and religion), social sciences (anthropology, cultural studies, psychology, and sociology), and the arts (literature, theater, film, and visual arts), and their application to medical education and practice.

Medical Informatics or Medical Computer Science or Medical Information or eHealth? These are relatively recent fields that deal with the application of computers and information technology to medicine. 

Medical Physics?
It is the study of the applications of physics principles in medicine.

Medical Science 2.0?

(From the Latin ars medicina, meaning the art of healing. ) Medicine is the science and art of diagnosing, treating, curing and preventing disease, relieving pain, and improving and preserving health. Though medical technology and clinical expertise are pivotal to contemporary medicine, successful face-to-face relief of actual suffering continues to require the application of ordinary human feeling and compassion (known in English as bedside manner). In the broadest meaning of "medicine", there are many different specialties. However, within medical circles, there are two broad categories: "Medicine" and "Surgery". Medicine refers to the practice of non-operative medicine, and most specialties in this area require preliminary training in "Internal Medicine". "Surgery" refers to the practice of operative medicine, and most subspecialties in this area require preliminary training in "General Surgery". There are some specialties of medicine that do not fit into either of these categories, such as Radiology, Pathology, or Anesthesia.

Medicine 2.0? A closely related concept to Health 2.0 (see above).

Metronomic Therapy?
In the case of cancer, it is a method of prevention in which numerous anti-cancer molecules present in food are administered continuously through the diet. This is to be opposed to chemotherapy in which chemical drugs of limited molecular composition are administered intermittently (ref: Richard Beliveau and Denis Gingras :Foods to Fight Cancer: Essential Foods to Help Prevent Cancer", DK Publications, 2007).

  It is the study of microorganisms, including protozoa, bacteria, fungi, and viruses.

Molecular Medicine?

Morphology? It is the study of biological form from a dynamic, developmental point of view.

MZ Twins? Monozygotic/identical twins formed when an early embryo splits in two.




ncRNA? Non-coding RNA. opined from DNA and does not code for proteins.
Nature? Nature is seen as an inter-connected web of relationships in which the identification of specific patterns as "objects" depends on the human observer and the process of knowing. This web of relationships is described in terms of a corresponding network of concepts and models, none of which is any more fundamental than the others.

Nephrology? It is the branch of medical science concerned with the kidneys.

Neuro-Critical Care? It is a neurology sub-specialty that provides intensive care for critically ill patients with neurological disorders, such as strokes, ruptured aneurysms (bleeding blood vessels), brain tumors, brain traumas, seizures, brain and spinal cord traumas, and many nerve and muscle diseases. The neuro-critical care unit also treats patients who need postoperative care after brain and spine surgery.

It is a combination  of interventional techniques to treat patients'  brain or vertebrae before they experience debilitating brain or spinal injury. In the brain, these treatments include dissolving clots, placing coils in aneurysms and inserting angioplasty or stents in narrowed vessels. In the spine, they consist of vertebroplasty and kyphoplasty, procedures that inject a cement-like material into the vertebrae to stabilize a fracture and alleviate pain.

Neurology? It is concerned with the nervous system and its disorders.There are two basic components of the nervous system: (1) The central nervous system (CNS), which is composed of the brain and the spinal cord; and (2) the peripheral nervous system (PNS), composed of sensory and motor neurons that connect to the CNS. Both systems are interconnected in complex arrangements that regulate all the functions of the human body, both physical and mental.

It is concerned with testing the physiology or function of the central and peripheral aspects of the central and peripheral aspects of the nervous system. These kinds of tests can be divided into recordings of: (1) spontaneously or continuously running electrical activity, or (2) stimulus-evoked responses. Subspecialties include Electroencephalography, Electromyography, Evoked-Potential, Nerve Conduction Study, and Polysomnography.

Neuroradiology? It is a subspecialty of radiology that focuses on the examination of the central and peripheral nervous system and is used to diagnose a number of conditions of the head, spine, and neck.

It includes those disciplines of science that are related to the study of the nervous system. A main focus of neuroscience is the biology and physiology of the human brain and spinal cord.

Neurosurgery? This subspecialty includes procedures that focus on either intracranial surgery on the brain, or spinal surgery on the back or neck.

Neurotology? A subspecialty within otolaryngology (ear, nose, throat), it is the medical and surgical management of diseases of the ear and the skull base around the ear. It includes hearing and balance disorders, the facial nerve, the ear and related structures.

Neurotransmitter? A chemical produced bygone brain cell that acts on another brain cell to alter its behavior.
Nonlinear Systems? They have three important characteristics: (1) Complex and seemingly chaotic behavior can give rise to ordered structures, and to subtle and beautiful patterns. The behavior of chaotic systems is not merely random but shows a deeper level of patterned order; (2) Exact predictions may be impossible even though the governing equations may be strictly deterministic, which has brought about an important shift from quantitative to qualitative analysis; and (3) Small changes may have dramatic effects because they may be amplified repeatedly by self-reinforcing feedback. Such nonlinear feedback processes are the basis of their instabilities and the sudden emergence of new forms of order that are so characteristic of self-organization.

It is the classification of diseases for various purposes.

Nosokinetics? It is the science/subject of measuring and modeling the process of care in health and social care systems.

Nucleosome? Combination of eight specific histone molecules with DNA wrapped around them. 

Any food (fruit, vegetable, beverage, or product of fermentation) that contains a large quantity of one or more molecules with anti-cancer (or more generally, any disease) potential.

It is the study of how nutrition can affect genes and, more commonly, how our genes can affect the way we deal with foodstuffs. Generally, it is related to disease prevention.

Nutrition Science (theoretical focus) and dietetics (practical focus)?
Nutritional science investigates the metabolic and physiological responses of the body to  diet. With advances in the fields of molecular biology, biochemistry, and genetics, the study of nutrition is increasingly concerned with metabolism and metabolic pathways: the sequences of biochemical steps through which substances in living things change from one form to another. More simply,
it is the study of the relationship of food and drink to health and disease, especially in determining an optimal diet. Poor diet can have an injurious impact on health, causing deficiency diseases such as scurvy, beriberi, kwashiorkor; health-threatening conditions such as obesity and metabolic syndrome; and such common systemic diseases as cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and osteoporosis. Many common health problems can be prevented or alleviated with a healthy diet. Medical nutrition therapy is done by dietitians and is prescribed for diabetes, cardio-vascular diseases, weight and eating disorders, allergies, malnutrition, and neoplastic (cancer) diseases.

Nutritional Anthropology? It links the study of human beings (anthropology) with the science of fueling the body (nutrition). It goes right to the heart of what it means to be a human being in nutritional terms. (Reference: Geoff Bond: "Deadly Harvest: The Intimate Relationship Between our Health and our Food", Square One Publishers, 2007.)


Obstetrics & Gynecology? They are concerned respectively with childbirth and the female reproductive and associated organs. Reproductive medicine and fertility medicine are generally practiced by gynecological specialists. 

Occupational Medicine? Its principal role is the provision of health advice to organizations and individuals to ensure that the highest standards of health and safety at work can be achieved and maintained.

Combining form of therapy denoting a few or a little.

Oncology (or Cancerology)?
It is the study or science dealing with the physical, chemical, and biological properties and features of neoplasms (or tumors), including causation, pathogenesis, and treatment.

Ophthalmology? It is exclusively concerned with the eye and ocular adnexa (or appendages). It combines conservative and surgical therapy. 

Organismic Biology?
It is the study of the organization of biological systems, as opposed to the old notion of function in physiology.

Organization Pattern?
This is the configuration of relationships characteristic of a particular system. The understanding of life begins with the understanding of patterns:

  • Self organization: This is the spontaneous emergence of order or new structures and new forms of behavior in open systems far from equilibrium characterized by internal feedback loops and described mathematically by nonlinear equations.

Orthognathic Surgery? Surgery to correct the malposition of the bones of the jaw.

Osteopathic Medicine?
It is a school of medicine based upon the idea that the normal body when in "correct adjustment" is a vital machine capable of making its own remedies against infections and other toxic conditions. Practitioners use the diagnostic and therapeutic measures of ordinary medicine in addition to manipulative measures.


Pain (or Management) Medicine?
It is the medical discipline that is concerned with the relief of pain.

Palliative Care? It is a relatively modern branch of clinical medicine that deals with pain , symptom relief, and emotional support in patients with terminal illnesses including cancer and heart failure.

Parthenogenesis? The creation of artificial "embryos" (parthenotes) without the need for fertilization of an egg by sperm. 

As a science, it is the study of the diseases -- the causes, course, progression and resolution thereof -- and the morphologic and physiologic changes produced by them. As a diagnostic specialty, pathology may be considered the basis of modern scientific medical knowledge and plays a large role in evidence-based medicine. Many modern molecular tests such as flow cytometry, polymerase chain reaction (PCR), immunohistochemistry, cytogenetics, gene rearrangements studies, and fluorescent in situ hybridization (FISH) fall within the territory of pathology.

Pediatrics? It is devoted to the care of infants, children, and adolescents. Like internal medicine, there are many pediatric subspecialties for specific age ranges, organ systems, disease classes, and sites of care delivery.

Personalized Medicine?
Pharmacogenetics? An area of research that aims to develop ways of matching medicines to a person's genetic make-up, to avoid adverse reactions and non-response to a particular drug.   

Pharmacogenomics? It is a form of individualized medicine.

It is the study of drugs and their actions. Clinical pharmacology is concerned with how systems of therapeutics interact with patients.

Pharming Research? The use of genetically altered plants and animals to produce pharamaceutical products such as human medicines.

Phenotype? The observable characteristics or traits of an organism
Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine (or Physiatry)?
It is concerned with functional improvement after injury, illness, or congenital disorders.

It is the study of the normal functioning of the body and the underlying regulatory mechanisms. 

Phytochemicals? Food molecules responsible for the color and organoleptic properties (i.e., properties affecting the organs and the senses). There are ~ 5,000-10,000 different phytochemicals. They are specific not only to fruits and vegetables but also to different beverages and spices. The phytochemicals produced by plants have antibacterial, antifungal, and insecticidal properties. They allow plants to defend themselves against infection and damage caused by micro-organisms, insects or other predators. Phytochemicals are much more than just anti-oxidants and more powerful anti-oxidants than vitamins, e.g. polyphenols have a chemical structure that is ideal for absorbing free radicals. Far from being simple free radical neutralizers, phytochemicals can target a great number of distinct events, all of which are associated with the growth of cancer (or, more generally, any other disease).

Phytoestrogens? One example is genistein, a molecule found in large amounts in soy. It structurally resembles a substance known as estradiol, which is a female sex hormone from the estrogen family. 

Phytotherapy? Therapy based on the use of phytochemicals or/and phystoestrogens.

Pluripotency?  The ability of a cell to give rise to most other cell types. Typically, pluripotent mammalian cells give rise to all cells of th body, but not the cells of the placenta.

Largest class of phytochemicals found in nature; molecules responsible for the bitter and astringent properties associated with certain foods.

Pre-Implantation Genetic Diagnosis (PGD)? This is a genetic test that can be carried out on embryos created using in vitro fertilization (IVF), to ensure that only embryos unaffected y a particular genetic condition are returned to the woman's womb. 

Preventive Medicine? It is the branch of medicine concerned with preventing disease.

Primordial Germ Cells? Very specialized cells created in early development, which give rise ultimately to the gametes. 
It is the surgical specialty concerned with the anus and rectum and their diseases.

Promoter? Region in front of a gene that controls how a gene is switched on.

Pronucleus? The nucleus of a gene that controls how a gene is switched on.
It is concerned with the bio-psycho-social study of the etiology, diagnosis, treatment and prevention of cognitive, perceptual, emotional, and behavioral disorders. Related non-medical fields include psychotherapy and clinical psychology.

It is the profession (e.g., clinical psychology), scholarly discipline (academic psychology), and science (research psychology) concerned with the behavior of man and animals, and related mental and physiological processes.

It is the application of cybernetic principles to psychology, a term coined by the cosmetic surgeon Maxwell Maltz, MD, FICS (Ref:  Maxwell Maltz, "Psycho-Cybernetics", Pocket Books, New York, 1960)

It is the branch of medicine that is concerned with the lungs and their diseases.


Radiogenomics? A novel (mid-2010's) method of associating gene expression patterns with radiographic imaging phenotypes. It underlines a potential future role of both diagnostic and interventional radiologists in genetic assessment of cancer patients wih radiographic imaging studies. Gene profiling is a tumor staging and diagnostic technique that can determine prognosis and optimal treatment. Diagnostic imaging is a surrogate for gene expression profiling: tumor staging and disease, prognosis, optimal therapy. Proponents of the imaging technique claim it is robust, scalable, can potentially be translated into clinical practice, and the combined techniques will ultimately contribute to a more personalized medicine, specifically tailored to the unique genetic profile of each patient and the pathophysiology of each malady.

Radiology? It is concerned with the imaging of the human body, e.g., by X-rays, X-ray computed tomography, ultrasonography, and nuclear magnetic resonance.

Radiosurgery? Stereotactic radiosurgery does not actually involve surgery. It is a noninvasive method of delivering a precise dose of intense radiation to a tumor.The radiation damages the DNA of tumor cells, stopping the cells from growing, and thus, destroying them. Stereotactic radiosurgery offers an important alternative, and can complement surgical procedures for many brain tumors in order to achieve optimum tumor control, for both benign and malignant tumors, which have traditionally been treated through complicated invasive surgical procedures.

Recombinant DNA Technology? The creation of new DNA molecules using fragments of DNA from different sources which can then be used to make genetically modified organisms. It is applicable to any organism - not just bacteria, but plants, animals, even humans.

Regenerative Medicine? These are cell-based therapies for treating incurable conditions, such as spinal injury, Parkinson's disease and diabetes. They form a logical extension of existing transplant operations.

Retrotransposons? Unusual segments of DNA that do not code for protein and can move between different locations in the genome. Believed to have originated from viruses. 
 It is the branch of medicine that is concerned with the diagnosis and treatment of rheumatic conditions. (A rheumatism is an indefinite term applied to various conditions with pain or other symptoms which are of articular origin or related to other elements of the musculoskeletal system.) 

Ribonucleic acid (RNA)? A close chemical relative of DNA, which plays important roles in controlling  gene activity and decoding gene instructions. It contains four different chemicals ("bases"), known as A (Adenine), C (Cytosine), G (Guanine), and U (Uracil). It is a single stranded copy of a specific region of DNA. The term RNA includes different classes of RNA molecules including miRNA, mRNA and ncRNA. 


  (From the Latin scientia, meaning "knowledge" or "knowing".)  It is the effort to discover and increase human understanding of how the physical world works. Using controlled methods, scientists collect data in the form of observations, record observable physical evidence of natural phenomena, and analyze this information to construct theoretical explanations of how things work. Thus, it is the systematized knowledge derived from observation, study, and experimentation carried on in order to determine the nature or principles of what is being studied. Knowledge in science is gained through research. The methods of scientific research include the generation of hypotheses about how natural phenomena work, and experimentations that test these tests and hypotheses under controlled conditions. The outcome or product of this empirical scientific process is the formulation of  a theory that describes human understanding of physical processes and facilitates prediction. 

Scientific Facts? They are those facts that emerge out of an entire constellation of human perceptions, values, and actions, that is out of a paradigm from which they cannot be separated.

Scientific Knowledge? It is the network of concepts and models in which no part is any more fundamental than the others. The material universe is seen as a dynamic web of inter-related events. None of the properties of any part of this web is fundamental. They all follow from the properties of the other parts, and the overall consistency of their inter-relations determines the structure of the entire web.

Scientific Paradigm?
It is a constellation of achievements - concepts, values, techniques, etc. - shared by a scientific community and used by that community to define legitimate problems and solutions (Ref: Thomas S. Kuhn, "The Structure of Scientific Revolutions", University of Chicago Press, Chicago, 1962).

Sex Chromosomes? The X and Y chromosomes that govern sex determination in mammals. Normally, females have two X chromosomes and males have one X and one Y chromosome.
Sleep Disorders?
These are  disorders of the sleep, including somnolence (or sleepiness), insomnia (or sleeplessness), somniloquence (or sleep talking), and somnambulism (or sleep-walking).

Social Paradigm? It is a constellation of concepts, values, perceptions, and practices shared by a community which forms a particular vision of reality that is the basis of the way the community organizes itself (Ref: Fritjof Capra, "The Concept of Paradigm and Paradigm Shift", Re-Vision, Vol. 9, No. 1, p. 3, 1986).

Somatic Cell Nuclear Transfer (SCNT)? A technique in which the nucleus from a mature cell (generally, the genetic material from an egg is is transferred into that of an adult or embryo body cell of the same animal species. 

Somatic Cells? Cells of the body.

Somatic Mutations? Mutations that happen in the cells of the body, rather than ones that have been inherited via sperm or eggs. 

Sports Medicine?
It deals with the treatment and preventive care of athletes, amateur and professional. The team includes specialty physicians and surgeons, athletic trainers, physical therapists, coaches, other personnel, and, of course, the athlete.

Stem Cells? Cells whose gene activation profiles, meaning which genes are turned on or off, are not yet fixed to make them specialized cells. In some stem cells, the gene profile is partially fixed, and they are called "pluripotent" stem cells. In other stem cells, the gene profile is not fixed at all, and they are called "totipotent" stem cells. Early-stage embryonic stem cells are totipotent stem cells, the gene profile is totally unfixed, so they have the potential to become any type of cell at all. Note: The fixation of the gene profile can be reversed if the genome is exposed to certain circumstances. Totipotent stem cells, so-called embryonic stem cells, are actually blastocyst stem cells in an undifferentiated mass of cells less than two weeks old, at a stage before any differentiation into an embryo has begun.

Stochastic Variation? A random change or fluctuation.

Surgery? The branch of medicine concerned with the treatment of disease, injury, and deformity by operation or manipulation, and the performance of procedures or operations.

Synergetics? It is that field of systematic study in which the combined actions of many individual parts produce a coherent behavior of the whole.

Systemic (or Holistic, or Ecological) Science? It is science that is based on systemic (as opposed to component parts) thinking. 

(from the Greek synhistania "to place together".) It is the integrated whole whose central properties arise from the relationships between its parts.

(General) Systems Theory? (includes systems engineering, systems analysis, systems dynamics, etc.) It is the general science of "wholeness". It is a mathematical discipline, in itself purely formal but applicable to the various empirical sciences.

Systems Thinking?
It is the understanding of a phenomenon within the context of  a larger whole. It concentrates not on basic building blocks but on basic principles of organization. It is "contextual" as opposed to "analytical". It is contextual thinking characterized by the following six interdependent criteria: (1) Shifts from the parts to the whole; (2) Ability to shift one's attention back and forth between systems levels; (3) Living systems cannot be understood by analysis, that is the properties of the parts are not intrinsic properties but can be understood only within the context of the larger whole; (4) All systems thinking is environmental; (5) What we observe is not nature itself but nature exposed to our method of questioning (Ref: Heisenberg);  and (6) Shift from "objective" to "epistemic" science, to a framework in which epistemology becomes an integral part of scientific theories. 


Technology? This is the knowledge and use of the techniques of a profession, art, or science.   

Tektology? (From the Greek word tekton meaning "builder".) It is the science of structures (Ref: Alexander Bogdanov, circa 1940's) It clarifies the modes of organization that are perceived to exist in nature and human activity.

Teleology? (From the Greek word "telos" (meaning purpose). It asserts that the causal agent postulated by vitalism is purposeful, that there is purpose and design in Nature. The currently emerging theory of living systems has overcome the debate between mechanism and teleology, and views living Nature as mindful and intelligent without the need to assume any overall design and purpose.

Therapeutic Cloning? The proposed use of embryo stem cells derived using somatic cell nuclear transfer technology (see above), to develop genetically matched cell therapies for a range of diseases. 

It is the field of the various remedies that can be used to treat disease and promote health.

Topology (or Rubber Band Sheet Geometry)? It is a geometry in which all lengths, angles, and areas can be distorted at will (Ref: Jules Henri Poincare). All figures that can be transformed into each other by continuous bending, stretching, and twisting are called "topological equivalents". Topology is concerned with those properties of geometrical figures that do not change when the figures are transformed. It is a mathematics of relationships, of unchangeable or invariant patterns.  

Totipotency? The ability of a cell to give rise to all cells of the body and the placenta. 

It is the science of poisons -- their source, chemical composition, action, tests, and antidotes.

Transcription? Copying of DNA to create RNA molecules.

Transgenerational Inheritance? The phenomenon in which phenotypic changes in one generation are passed on to the next, without any alteration in the genetic code. 

A genetically altered organism that contains genes from another species.

Travel Medicine (or Emporiatrics)?
It deals with health problems of international travelers or travelers across highly different environments. 


Uniparental Disomy? A situation where both members of a pair of chromosomes have been inherited from one parent, rather than one from each parent. For example, maternal uniparental disomy of chromosome 11 would mean both copies of chromosome 11 had come from the mother. 

Urgent Care?
It focuses on the delivery of unscheduled, walk-in care, outside of the hospital emergency department, for injuries and illnesses that are not severe enough to require care in an emergency department.


Vernalization? The process where plants need a period of cold before they will flower.

Veterinary Medicine?
Veterinarians apply similar techniques as physicians to the care of animals.

It is the study of viruses and viral diseases.


Web 2.0? This term refers "to a perceived second generation of web development and design that aims to facilitate communication, secure information sharing, interoperability, and collaboration on the World Wide Web. Web 2.0 concepts have led to the development and evolution of web-based communities, hosted services, and applications such as social networking sites, video sharing sites, wikis, blogs, and folksonomies" (Ref: Wikipedia).


The transplanting of animal organs into human patients.  


Zygote? The totipotent cell formed when an egg and a sperm fuse.





















































































































































































































































































































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