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METABOLISM

The sum of all the physical and chemical changes within the cells and tissues that maintain life and growth.  The breakdown processes which occur are known as catabolic and those which build materials up are anabolic.  The term may also be applied to describe one particular set of changes e.g. protein metabolism.  Basal metabolism is the minimum amount of energy required to maintain the bodyís vital processes e.g. heartbeat and respiration and is usually assessed by means of various measurements taken while a person is at rest.

 

METASTASIS

The process by which a malignant tumor spreads to a distant part of the body, and also refers to the secondary growth that results from this.  The spread is accomplished by means of three routes, the blood circulation, lymphatic system and across the body cavities.

 

MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS

A disease of the brain and spinal cord which affects the MYELIN sheaths of nerves and a\disrupts their function.  It usually affects people below the age of 40 and its cause is unknown, but is the subject of much research.  The disease is characterized by the presence of patches of hardened (sclerotic) connective tissue irregularly scattered through the brain and spinal cord.  At first the fatty part of the nerve sheaths breaks down and is absorbed, leaving bare nerve fibers, and then connective tissue is laid down.  Symptoms depend upon the site of the patches in the central nervous system and the disease is characterized by periods of progression and remission.  However, they include unsteady gait and apparent clumsiness, tremor of the limbs, involuntary eye movements, speech disorders, bladder dysfunction and paralysis.  The disease can progress very slowly but generally there is a tendency for the paralysis to become more marked. 

   

 

 

MUNCHAUSENíS SYNDROME

A rare mental disorder in which a person tries to obtain hospital treatment for a non-existent illness.  The person is adept at simulating symptoms and may self-induce these or cause self-inflicted injury to add authenticity.   The person may end up having unnecessary treatment and operations and is resistant to psychotherapy.

 

MYALGIA

Pain in a muscle.

 

 

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