ASPIRIN
ASTHMA
drink. If consciousness is impaired, for
example by a head injury or excess
alcohol intake, aspiration of the stom-
ach contents is common.
Aspiration
biopsy
is the removal of
cells or fluid for examination using a
needle and syringe. The procedure is
commonly used to obtain cells from a
fluid-filled cavity (such as a
breast lump
or
breast cyst).
It is also used to obtain
cells from the bone marrow (see
bone
marrow biopsy)
, or from internal organs,
when a fine needle is guided into the
site of the biopsy by CT
scanning
or
ultrasound scanning.
ASPIRATION OF A BREAST LUMP
aspirin A nonopioid
analgesic drug
used
to treat disorders such as headache,
menstrual pain, and muscle discomfort.
Aspirin has an
anti-inflammatory
action
and is particularly useful for joint pain
in
arthritis.
It reduces fever and is inclu-
ded in some
cold remedies.
In small
doses, it reduces the stickiness of plate-
lets (blood particles involved in clotting).
This has led to its use in preventing
thrombosis
in people at risk of develop-
ing
stroke
or
myocardial infarction
and
as initial treatment of chest pain that may
be due to myocardial infarction. Aspirin
may also reduce the risk of
colon cancer
and slow the progress of
dementia.
Aspirin is not usually given to children
because there is a slight risk of
Reye's
s^mdrome
(a rare brain and liver disorder)
developing. Aspirin may cause irritation
of the stomach lining, resulting in indi-
gestion or nausea. Prolonged use may
cause bleeding from the stomach due
to
gastric erosion
or
peptic ulcer.
assay Analysis or measurement of a
substance to determine its presence or
effects. Biological assays (bioassays)
measure the responses of an animal or
organ to particular substances. They can
be used to assess the effects of a drug
or to measure hormone levels. (See
also
immunoassay radioimmunoassay. )
assisted conception Treatment for
in-
fertility
involving techniques that assist
the fertilization and implantation of eggs,
association area One of a number of
areas in the outer layer (cortex) of the
brain
that are concerned with higher
levels of mental activity. Association
areas interpret information received from
sensory areas and prompt appropriate
responses such as voluntary movement,
astereognosis An inability to recognize
objects by touch when they are placed
in the hand, even though there is no
defect of sensation in the fingers or
difficulty in holding the object. Aster-
eognosis is either left- or right-sided;
tactile recognition is normal on the
other side. If both sides are affected,
the condition is called tactile
agnosia.
Astereognosis and tactile agnosia are
caused by damage to parts of the
cere-
brum
(main brain mass) involved in
recognition by touch and may occur as
a result of a
stroke
or
head injury.
asthenia An outdated term for loss of
strength and energy (see
weakness).
asthenia, neurocirculatory See
car-
diac neurosis.
asthma A lung disease in which there is
intermittent narrowing of the
bronchi
(ainvays), causing shortness of breath,
wheezing, and cough. The illness often
starts in childhood but can develop at
any age. At least 1
child in 7 suffers
from asthma, and the number affected
has increased dramatically in recent
years. Childhood asthma may be out-
grown in about half of all cases.
During an asthma attack, the muscle
in the walls of the airways contracts,
causing narrowing. The linings of the
airways also become swollen and in-
flamed, producing excess mucus that
can block the smaller airways.
In some people, an allergic response
triggers the airway changes. This aller-
gic type of asthma tends to occur in
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