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Term Definition
Amniocentesis

a method of prenatal diagnosis at 15 weeks in which a fluid sample is removed from the womb and grown in tissue culture; it takes another 2-3 weeks for results; a fetus can be tested for genetic diseases this way

Ankle Foot Orthosis (AFO)

an apparatus used to support, align, prevent, or correct deformities or to improve the function of the ankle and foot.

Anticholinesterases

(example: Neostigmine) one of the drugs that myotonic dystrophy patients should avoid; can adversely affect diameter of blood vessels, function of the intestines, and part of the nervous system that controls smooth muscle, heart muscle and gland cells

Anticipation

the tendency in certain genetic disorders-like myotonic dystrophy-for individuals in successive generations to present with symptoms at an earlier age and/or with more severe manifesations; often observed in disorders resulting from the expression of a trinucleotide repeat mutation that tends to increase in size and have a more significant effect when passed from one generation to the next.

Apnea

periodic absence of breathing while sleeping

Armodafinil

a drug used to treat excessive daytime sleepiness (brand name is Nuvigil)

Arrhythmia

an irregular heart beat

Aspiration pneumonia

serious form of pneumonia resulting from inhalation of foreign material, usually food particles or vomit, into the bronchi

Asymptomatic

without symptoms, at least in the mind of the person himself

Atrial fibrillation

abnormal heartbeat in which the normal rhythmical contractions of the upper chambers of the heart (cardiac atria) are replaced by rapid irregular twitchings of the muscular wall

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

a behavior disorder originating in childhood in which the essential features are signs of developmentally inappropriate inattention, impulsivity and hyperactivity

Autosomal dominant

a pattern of inheritance in which if one parent has a mutated gene, each offspring has a 50% chance of inheriting it

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