Leg support
COMA
COMPLEMENTARY MEDICINE
COLPOSCOPY
Colposcope
allows doctor
to view cervix,
Monitor shows
view through
colposcope
areas of precancerous tissue (see
dyspla-
sia)
or of early cervical cancer (see
cervix,
cancer of).
com a A state of
unconsciousness
and
unresponsiveness to external stimuli (for
example, pinching) or internal
stimuli
(such as a full bladder). Coma results
from disturbance or damage to areas of
the involved in conscious activity or
maintenance of consciousness - in par-
ticular, parts of the
cerebrum,
upper parts
of the
brainstem,
and central regions of
the brain, especially the
limbic system.
There are varying depths of coma. Even
people in deep comas may show some
automatic responses, such as breathing
unaided and blinking. If the lower brain-
stem is damaged, vital functions are
impaired, and artificial ventilation and
maintenance of the circulation are re-
quired. With medical care, a person may
be kept alive for many years in a deep
coma
(
persistent vegetative state
)
pro-
vided the brainstem is still functioning.
Complete irreversible loss of brainstem
function leads to
brain death
.
combination drug
A preparation con-
taining more than one active substance.
comedo
Another name for a
blackhead
.
commensal
A usually harmless
bacteri-
um
or other organism that normally
lives in or on the body.
commode
A portable chair that con-
tains a removable toilet bowl in its seat.
com m unicable disease Any disease due
to a microorganism or parasite that can
be transmitted from one person to anoth-
er. (See also
contagious; infectious disease.)
com partm ent
syndrom e A painful
cramp
due to compression of a group of
muscles within a confined space. It may
occur when muscles are enlarged due to
intensive training or injury such as
shin
splints.
Cramps induced by exercise usu-
ally disappear when exercise is stopped.
Severe cases may require
fasciotom y
to
improve blood flow and prevent devel-
opment of a permanent
contracture
.
compensation neurosis
A supposed
psychological reaction to injury affected
by the prospect of financial compensa-
tion. In some cases, the condition may
delay physical recovery.
complement
A collection of
proteins
in
blood plasma
that helps to destroy for-
eign cells and is an important part of
the
immune system.
complementary medicine
A group of
therapies, often described as “alterna-
tive”, which are now increasingly used to
complement or to act as an alternative
to conventional medicine. They fall into
3 broad categories: touch and movement
(as in
acupuncture
,
massage
, and
reflex-
ology
); medicinal (as in
naturopathy
,
homeopathy
. and
Chinese medicine
); and
psychological (as in
biofeedback
,
hyp-
notherapy
, and
meditation
).
139
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