WEIL'S DISEASE
WHIPLASH INJURY
However,
sibutramine
and
orlistat
may
be useful adjuncts to a reducing diet
and may be appropriate for some peo-
ple with a high BMI (see
body mass
index). Appetite suppressants
related to
amfetamines
are not recommended.
Weil's disease Another name for
lepto-
spirosis.
welder's eye Acute
conjunctivitis
and
keratopathy
(corneal damage) caused by
the intense
ultraviolet light
emitted by
an electric welding arc. Welder's eye,
which is also known as arc eye, results
from the failure to wear adequate eye
protection while welding.
wen A name for a
sebaceous cyst
.
Werdnig-Hoffmann disease A very
rare inherited disorder of the
nervous
system
that affects infants. Also known
as infantile spinal muscular atrophy,
Werdnig-Hoffmann disease is a type of
motor neuron disease
, affecting the nerve
cells in the spinal cord that control
muscle movement.
Marked floppiness and paralysis occur
during the first few months, and affected
children rarely survive beyond age 3.
There is no cure for the disease. Treat-
ment aims to keep the affected infant as
comfortable as possible.
Wernicke-Korsakoff
syndrome An
uncommon
brain
disorder almost always
related to malnutrition occurring in
chronic
alcohol dependence
, but occa-
sionally due to that which occurs in
other conditions, such as
cancer
. Wer-
nicke-Korsakoff syndrome is caused by
deficiency of thiamine (see
vitamin B
complex
), which affects the brain and
nervous system.
The disease consists of 2 stages: Wer-
nicke's encephalopathy and Korsakoff's
psychosis. Wernicke's encephalopathy
usually develops suddenly and pro-
duces
nystagmus
(abnormal, jerky eye
movements),
ataxia
(difficulty in coordi-
nating body movements), slowness, and
confusion. Sufferers usually have signs
of
neuropathy
, such as loss of sensation,
pins-and-needles, or impaired reflexes.
The level of consciousness falls progres-
sively and may lead to coma and death
unless treated. The condition is a medi-
cal
emergency.
Treatment with
high
doses of intravenous thiamine often
reverses most of the symptoms, some-
times within a few hours.
Korsakoff's psychosis may follow Wer-
nicke's encephalopathy if treatment is
not begun promptly enough. Symptoms
consist of severe
amnesia
, apathy, and
disorientation. Korsakoff's psychosis is
usually irreversible.
Wernicke's area An area of the cere-
bral cortex in the brain that is involved
in the interpretation of spoken and writ-
ten language.
Wernicke's encephalopathy See
Wer-
nicke-Korsakoff syndrome.
West Nile virus A virus transmitted
from infected animals or birds to hum-
nans by a mosquito bite. In most cases,
there are either no symptoms or a flu-like
illness. Rarely, a serious and potentially
fatal illness, in which the virus infects
the brain, can develop. The virus is
found in Africa, Eastern Europe, West
Asia, the Middle East, and, since 1999,
the East coast of the US.
wet dream Ejaculation that occurs dur-
ing sleep. See also
nocturnal emission
.
wheelchair A chair mounted on wheels
used to provide mobility for a person
unable to walk. Manual wheelchairs are
designed so that the hand-rims can be
easily gripped by a disabled person.
They can also be pushed by a helper.
Powered wheelchairs use batteries and
are controlled electronically by finger or
chin pressure, or breath control.
wheeze A high-pitched, whistling sound
produced in the chest during breathing,
caused by narrowing of the airways. It is
a feature of
asthma, bronchitis, bronchi-
olitis,
and
pulmonary oedema.
Inhalation
of a foreign body may also be a cause.
(See also
breathing difficulty.)
whiplash injury An injury to the soft
tissues,
ligaments
, and spinal joints of the
neck caused by a forcible and violent
bending of the neck backwards (hyper-
extension) and then forwards (flexion), or
vice versa. Such injury most commonly
results from sudden acceleration or de-
celeration, as occurs in a car collision.
Damage to the spine usually involves
minor
sprain
of a neck ligament, or
sub-
luxation
(partial dislocation) of a cervical
joint. Occasionally, a ligament may rup-
ture or a cervical vertebra may fracture
597
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