BREATHLESSNESS
B
(for example, following a
stroke),
by
Cheyne-Stokes respiration,
and, in chil-
dren, by
breath-holding attacks.
breathlessness
A feeling of laboured breathing. Breath-
lessness is a normal response to exercise
or exertion, but may also be caused by
some underlying disorders (see
breath-
ing difficulty).
breath test
A procedure used to check for infection
of the digestive tract by H
eeicobacter
pyeori
, the bacterium associated with
peptic
ulcers.The test involves drinking a
substance that can be broken down by
the bacterium. The breakdown process
produces a chemical that passes into the
bloodstream and is then breathed out. A
machine detects the substance’s pres-
ence in the breath, confirming infection
with the bacterium.
breech delivery
A birth in which the fetus presents but-
tocks first. Many fetuses lie in a breech
position before week 3 2 of pregnancy,
but most of them turn by week 3 6. The
three per cent that do not turn may be
in one of three types of breech presen-
tation: in a complete breech, the fetus is
curled up; in a frank breech, the fetus’s
legs are extended and the feet are close
to the face; in a footling breech, one or
both feet are positioned over the cervix.
In many twin pregnancies, one twin is in
a breech position.
A mother whose fetus is in a breech
presentation may be offered a proce-
dure to turn the fetus around after week
36 of pregnancy, because this usually
makes birth easier.
In some breech
deliveries, a
caesarean section
may be
recommended.
bridge, dental
False teeth attached to natural teeth on
either side of a gap left by one or more
missing teeth (see the illustrated box).
Adhesive bridges, which are attached
to, but do not damage, the teeth on
either side of the gap are now available
in certain situations. (See also
denture.)
Bright’s disease
An alternative name for the kidney dis-
order
glomerulonephritis.
Briquet’s syndrome
An alternative name for
somatization dis-
order,
a psychiatric illness.
brittle bones
Bones with an increased tendency to
fracture. They are a feature of
osteoporo-
sis
and may occur in people who are
taking
corticosteroid drugs,
are immobile,
or have certain hormonal disorders. In
osteomalacia,
the bones are soft and
tend both to become deformed and to
fracture. The inherited disorder
osteoge-
nesis imperfecta
is a rare cause of brittle
bones and frequent fractures and is usu-
ally detected in infancy.
brittle diabetes
A former term for type
1
(insulin-
dependent)
diabetes mellitus
in which it
is difficult to maintain blood sugar
levels within an acceptable range.
Broca’s area
An area of the cerebral cortex (the outer
layer of the
brain
) that is responsible for
speech origination. Damage to Broca’s
area may result in
aphasia
(complete loss
of previously acquired language skills).
Brodmann areas
Areas of the cerebral cortex (outer layer
of the
brain),
that are numbered one to
47. Each area contains nerve cells that
correspond to specific functions, such
as sight, hearing, and movement.
broken leg
See
femur, fracture of; fibula; tibia.
broken nose
Fracture of the nasal bones or disloca-
tion of the cartilage that forms the
bridge of the nose (see
nose, broken).
broken tooth
See
fracture, dental.
broken veins
A term that is commonly used to refer
to
telangiectasia,
in which small blood
vessels under the surface of the skin
enlarge and give the impression of
being “broken”.
bromides
Substances formerly used as
sedative
drugs
or as
anticonvulsant drugs
in the
treatment of
epilepsy.
Bromides are no
longer used due to their side effects,
which include serious disturbance of
brain function that may lead to
coma.
bromocriptine
A drug used to suppress production of
prolactin
(a hormone) to treat conditions
such as noncancerous pituitary tumours
(see
prolactinomas; acromegaly).
Bromo-
criptine may also be used to suppress
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