I
APHRODISIAC
APGAR CHART
Sign
0
1
2
Colour
Blue, pale
Body pink; extremities blue
Completely pink
Respiratory effort
Absent
Weak cry; irregular breathing
Good strong cry; regular breathing
Muscle tone
Limp
Bending ofsome limbs
Active motion; limbs well-flexed
Reflex irritability
No response
Grimace (on nasal stimulation)
Cry
Heart rate
Absent
Slow (below 100 beats per minute)
Over 100 beats per minute
mental illnesses, such as
schizophrenia.
An affected person fails to take interest
in everyday activities and tends to be
inactive and lacking in volition (drive).
aperient
A mild
laxative drug.
apex
The tip or uppermost surface of an
organ or structure, such as the lungs or
the heart. The apex of a tooth is the tip
of its root.
apex beat
A normal heartbeat felt through the
chest wall. As the heart contracts, its tip
hits the chest wall and the beat can be
felt between the fifth and sixth ribs on
the left side of the chest. The apex beat
is displaced when the heart is enlarged.
Apgar score
A system devised by Virginia Apgar, an
American anaesthetist,
to
assess
the
condition of a newborn baby and help
to direct appropriate care. Five features
(breathing, heart rate, colour, muscle
tone, and response to stimulation) are
scored one minute, and again five min-
utes, after birth.
aphakia
The absence of the
lens
from the eye.
Aphakia may be congenital
(present
from birth), may result from surgery
(for example,
cataract surgery),
or may
be due to a penetrating injury
Aphakia causes severe loss of focusing
in the affected eye and requires correc-
tion by implanting a lens
or with
contact lenses or glasses.
aphasia
Complete absence of previously acqui-
red language skills caused by a brain
disorder that affects the ability to speak
and write, and/or comprehend and read.
Related disabilities that may occur as a
feature of aphasia are
alexia
(word blind-
ness) and
agraphia
(writing difficulty).
CAUSES
Language function in the brain lies in
the dominant cerebral hemisphere (see
cerebrum).
Two particular areas in this
hemisphere,
Broca’s
and
Wernicke’s
areas, and the pathways connecting the
two, are important in language skills.
Damage to these areas, which most
commonly occurs as a result of
stroke
or
head injury,
can lead to aphasia.
TYPES AND SYMPTOMS
Broca’s
aphasia
causes
difficulty
in
expressing language. Speech is laboured
and normal rhythm is lost, but the few
words uttered tend to be meaningful.
Writing may also be impaired.
Wernicke’s aphasia causes difficulty
in language comprehension. Speech is
fluent but its content is disturbed, with
errors in word selection and grammar.
Writing is also impaired, and spoken
and/or written language may not be
understood.
In
associative aphasia,
comprehension
is normal, and the affected individual
can write and speak. However, he or she
is unable to repeat what has been heard
and cannot read aloud.
Global aphasia comprises the total, or
near total, inability to speak, write,
or understand language.
Nominal aphasia is restricted to diffi-
culty in naming objects or in finding
words, although the sufferer may be
able to choose the correct word from
several offered.
In
jargon aphasia,
an affected individ-
ual cannot form grammatical sentences
and utters meaningless phrases com-
posed of jumbled words or neologism.
TREATMENT AND OUTLOOK
Some recovery from aphasia is usual
following a stroke or head injury, but
the more severe the aphasia, the less the
chances of recovery
Speech therapy
is
the main treatment. (See also
aphonia;
dysarthria; dysphasia; dysphonia
;
speech;
speech disorders.)
apheresis
A procedure in which blood is with-
drawn from a donor or patient and
reinfused after one or more selected
components have been separated and
removed. For example, in
plasmapher-
esis, antibodies
(proteins manufactured
by the
immune system
) that are causing a
disease (such as
Guillain-Barre syndrome
or
Goodpasture’s syndrome)
are removed;
in leukapheresis, white blood cells (see
lymphocyte
) are removed either to re-
duce their number or to harvest them
for use in a
blood transfusion.
aphonia
Complete loss of the voice, which may
result from surgery to the
larynx
(voice-
box) or may be temporary, sudden in
onset, and due to emotional stress.
In aphonia, the vocal cords fail to meet
as normal when an individual tries
to speak,
although they may come
together when the person coughs.
There is no particular treatment for
aphonia, but in the temporary form of
the
condition,
the
sufferer’s
voice
usually returns as suddenly as it disap-
peared. (See also
dysphonia.)
aphrodisiac
Any substance that is thought to stimu-
late erotic desire and enhance sexual
performance. Aphrodisiacs are named
after Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of
love, beauty, and fertility.
For
centuries,
various
substances
(most notably oysters and rhinoceros
horn) have been used as aphrodisiacs.
In fact, no substance has a proven
aphrodisiac effect.
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