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Used most frequently with reference to tumors, meaning not harmful.



A viscous, bitter fluid produced by the LIVER and stored in the GALLBLADDER, a small organ near the liver.  It is an alkaline solution of bile salts, pigments, some mineral salts and CHOLESTEROL, which aids in fat digestion and absorption of nutrients.  Discharge of bile into the intestine is increased after food and of the amount secreted each day (up to one liter), most is reabsorbed with the food, passing back into the blood to circulate back to the liver.  If the flow of bile into the intestine is restricted, it stays in the blood, resulting in jaundice.



The study of the chemistry of biological processes and substances in living organisms.  Such studies contribute to the overall understanding of cell metabolism, diseases and their effects.



An adjunct to diagnosis  which involves removing a small sample of living tissue from the body for examination under the microscope.  The technique is particularly important in differentiating between benign and malignant tumors.  A biopsy can be undertaken with a hollow needle inserted into the relevant organ.




A suspension of red blood cells (or corpuscles) called erythrocytes, white blood cells (leucocytes) and platelets (small disc-shaped cells involved in BLOOD CLOTTING) in a liquid medium, blood PLASMA.  The circulation of blood through the body provides a mechanism for transporting substances.  Its functions include:

1)      carrying oxygenated blood from heart to all tissues via the arteries while the veins return deoxygenated blood to the heart.

2)      carrying essential nutrients, e.g. glucose, fats and amino acids to all parts of the body.

3)      Removing the waste products of metabolism- ammonia and carbon-dioxide, to the liver where urea is formed and then transported by the blood to the kidneys for excretion.

4)      Carrying important molecules, e.g. hormones, to their target cells.

The red blood cells, produced in the bone marrow, are hemoglobin-containing discs while the white varieties vary in shape and are produced in the marrow and lymphoid tissue.  The plasma comprises water, proteins and electrolytes and forms approximately half the blood volume.



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