ear. The organ of hearing. It is also responsible for equilibrium.

Echinococcus granulosus. see hydatid.

echocardiography: A technique in which sound waves evaluate the structure and function of the heart.

edema. Increased amounts of fluid in the spaces between the body cells. Edema is generated in conditions such as heart failure, kidney failure, liver disease and in inflammation. Edema that is generalized all over the body is called anasarca.

Edwin Smith papyrus. c 1600BC. One of the earliest documented medical treatises. See biographical dictionary.

electrocardiogram (ECG): A record of the electrical activity of the heart. Echocardiograph = the machine that records an ECG.

embryo. A fertilized egg in the early stages of development. In humans the developing child is called an embryo for the first 8 weeks or so, after which it is termed a fetus.

endocrine glands. Ductless glands, that produce hormones. Examples are the thyroid, the adrenal and the testes.

endoscopy. A technique of looking into the body through an optical instrument. Examples are gastrointestinal endoscopy, urinary endoscopy and others.

enteric <Gr enteron=intestine> Pertaining to the intestines.

Entameba histolytica. see ameba.

epidemic.<Gr. epi= in one place, demos=people>Disease that occurs with an incidence that is abnormally high among a given population. cf. pandemic

epithelium. The layer of tissue which serves as a lining or covering. The external epithelial layer of the body is the skin. The inner layer of most organs is an epithelium usually called the mucosa or mucous membrane.

eschar. The thick parchment-like dead tissue that covers a deep burn.

esophagus. The foodpipe. (Illustration)

estradiol. One of the estrogens.

estrogen. A group of hormones that sustain the female reproductive system, and are thus also called as the female sex hormones. Structurally they are steroids. The most important estrogen is estradiol.

ethanol (spirit). An antiseptic

ethambutol. A drug for tuberculosis. (Diagnosis of tuberculosis)

Eustachean tube. A tube that connects the pharynx with the middle ear.

exocrine glands. Exocrine glands are glands usually shaped like a tube or a flask and lined by cells that secrete chemicals, which are released into a duct that transports the chemicals to the site of action. Examples are the salivary glands, the glands of the stomach and intestines, and the breast.


fertilization. The process of fusion of a sperm with an egg.

fetus. The growing child in the mothers womb is called a fetus. Prior to 8 weeks of development "embryo" is the better term.

filariasis. Filariasis is a parasitic infection, usually caused by the worms Wuchereria bancrofti and Brugia malayi.

fine needle aspiration cytology (fine needle aspiration biopsy cytology). A test in which a needle is inserted into tissue to suck out some cells. The cells the are sucked into the needle using a syringe, and then examined under the microscope for a diagnosis.

first aid. First aid is the initial assistance, treatment or management of an emergency medical condition, carried out at the site where the emergency occurs, prior to the arrival of qualified medical help or transfer to a hospital.

first degree burns. See burn

fistula. A fistula is an abnormal communication between two hollow organs, or between one hollow organ and the skin. The best known of fistulas is a fistula in ano, which is a communication between the anal canal and the skin. A gastrojejunocolic fistula is a communication between the stomach, the jejunum (part of the small intestine) and the colon, and is a dangerous complication of surgery for peptic ulcer. Fistulas between loops of bowel can form in Crohn's disease.

flagellum.(pl flagella)(L flagella=whip) A long, whip-like structure that projects from a cell, usually present for the cell's motility. Flagella are present on spermatozoa, as well as on several single-celled parasites.

Fleming, Sir Alexander 1881–1955. Scottish microbiologist. See biographical dictionary.

fluoroquinolones. A class of antibacterial drugs.

FNABC, FNAC. See fine needle aspiration cytology.

formalin. An antiseptic

fracture. A break in bone.

fundoplication. An operation in which the stomach is wrapped around the esophagus, used in gastrointestinal reflux disease.


Galen 1st century AD. Greek physician. See biographical dictionary.

gastroenteritis. Inflammation of the stomach and intestine. A condition in which the inflammation causes diarrhea and vomiting. The usual cause is food poisoning. In many developing countries viral infection with rotavirus, bacterial infection with Shigella and parasitic infection with Entameba (amebiasis) can cause gastroenteritis.

gastrointestinal tract. The digestive organs. The gastrointestinal tract includes the alimentary canal (esophagus, stomach, duodenum, jejunum, ileum, colon, rectum) along with accessory organs of digestion, the liver, gall bladder and pancreas. Gastrointestinal bleeding or gastrointestinal hemorrhage: loss of blood into the alimentary canal, usually from the mucosal surface of the alimentary tract, rarely from the liver, gall bladder or pancreas. The blood appears in the vomit or in the stool.

gastrointestinal tuberculosis. See abdominal tuberculosis

gastresophageal reflux disease (GERD). Symptoms caused by reflux of acid from the stomach into the esophagus.

gonadotrophic hormone (gonadotrophin). A hormone secreted by the pituitary gland, controls the sex glands, ie the ovaries and testes.

granuloma. A term loosely applied to a collection of inflammatory cells, present as a cluster or nodule. It may contain giant cells. Granulomas occur in chronic inflammatory disorders, notably tuberculosis and Crohn's disease.

growth hormone. A hormone secreted by the pituitary gland, controls the growth of bones

gutaraldehyde(Cidex). A powerful disinfectant


hammer. One of the bones of the middle ear.

heart. The organ that pumps blood throughout the body. Heart attack: a heart attack is a common term for sudden pain in the heart. This pain is caused by lack of blood supply to the heart itself, because of a block in the arteries that supply the muscles of the heart (coronary arteries). Heart failure: heart failure is a condition in which the heart cannot pump blood at adequate pressure to sustain all the body organs. A heart attack may cause failure of the heart; heart failure may occur without a heart attack. A cardiac arrest refers to cessation of heartbeat.

Heller's operation. Esophagocardiomyotomy.

hemorrhage. Bleeding.

hexachlorophene. An antiseptic

Hippocrates c 500 BC. Greek physician. See biographical dictionary.

histopathology. The discipline dealing with the structure and appearance of diseased tissue. Tissue biopsied from patients needs to undergo histopathological examination under the microscope, to determine the diagnosis.

HIV. Human immunodeficiency virus. (Article on AIDS)

Holter monitoring: A 24 hour ECG carried out while the person is mobile and carries out all physical activities. It records the number of ischemic episodes that the person suffers suring the day. It is especially useful in detecting silent angina.

hormone. A chemical secreted by a "ductless gland". This chemical is released from the blood stream and exerts its effects at a distant site in the body. e.g. insulin, adrenaline. hormone replacement therapy = administration of hormones to a woman to prevent the effects of menopause.

Hunter, John 1728-93,Scottish surgeon. See biographical dictionary.

hydatid. A parasite, Echinococcus granulosus, that causes the development of cysts in the liver and elsewhere in man.

hydrocephalus. (literally, water in the brain): A condition in which there is dilatation of the ventricles of the brain, because of increased pressure in the cerebrospinal fluid. It is usually congenital, but may occur as a result of tuberculosis or tumours in adults.

hypersensitivity. Allergy.

hyperthermia. Abnormally high temperature.

hypertrophic scar. A scar on the skin that swells and continues to grow, upto a period of 6-9 months. May be painful or itchy. Does not grow after 9 months.

hypothermia. Abnormally low temperature.

hypothyroidism. A disease of the thyroid gland, in which the gland does not produce enough thyroid hormone.