Refusal or inability to speak.
Mutism may occur as a symptom of
or a rare form of
. The term may also apply to a
religious vow of silence.
Elective mutism is a rare childhood
disorder (usually starting before age 5),
in which the child can speak properly
but refuses to do so most of the time.
Akinetic mutism describes a state of
passivity caused by some brain tumours
People with akin-
etic mutism are incontinent, require
feeding, and respond at most with a
whispered "yes" or "no".
Medical term for
as ME (see
chronic fatigue syndrome)
A rare disorder in
which the muscles become weak and
tire easily. The muscles of the eyes,
face, throat, and limbs are most com-
Myasthenia gravis is an
In many cases, abnormalities
in the thymus gland are present, and in
some cases a
is found. Women
are affected more often than men.
The disease is extremely variable in its
effects. In most cases, it causes droop-
ing eyelids, double vision, a blank facial
expression, and a weak, hoarse, nasal
voice that is hesitant and becomes slur-
red during extended conversation. The
arm and leg muscles may also be affec-
ted. In severe cases, the respiratory
muscles may become weakened, caus-
ing breathing difficulty.
Diagnosis of the condition is often
made by injecting the drug edrophonium
into a vein. This temporarily restores
power to the weak muscles.
are also sometimes used.
may also be performed
to look for a thymoma.
Treatment with drugs that facilitate
transmission of nerve impulses often
restores the patient's condition to near
normal. In some cases, the condition
often improves, and is sometimes cured
by thymectomy (removal of the thymus
gland). Regular exchanges of the pati-
for fresh plasma may be
carried out in severe cases.
may be given. In a minority
of the throat and
respiratory muscles may lead to death.
An uncommon tropical infec-
tion affecting skin and bone and caused
or by actinomycetes (bacteria
that form long chain-like colonies). It
usually occurs on one limb, producing a
hard swelling and a discharge of pus.
Infections caused by actinomycetes are
removal of diseased tissue may be nec-
essary for a fungal infection.
The study of
Any of a group of
that are the smallest type capable of
free existence. Mycoplasmas are about
the same size as
viruses, they are capable of reproducing
Any disease caused by a fun-
fungi; fungal infections
A rare type of
that primarily affects the skin of
the buttocks, back, or shoulders. The
cause of mycosis fungoides is unknown.
In its mildest form, it produces a non-
itchy, red, scaly rash, which may spread
slowly or remain unaltered for many
years. In more severe forms, thickened
patches of skin,
, and enlarged
The diagnosis is confirmed with a
Treatment may include
, nitrogen mustard,
Dilation (widening) of the
pupil of the eye. It occurs in the dark, if
a person is emotionally aroused, after
the use of certain eye-drops (such as
), and after
consumption of alcohol.
A group of drugs
used to treat
and to dilate the
pupil during examination of the inside
of the eye and for surgery. Mydriatics
work by relaxing the circular muscles of
, causing the pupil to dilate.
Common mydriatic drugs include
, cyclopentolate, homatropine,
. (See also
gia; miotic drugs.)