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abdomen
The body cavity that contains the major organs of digestion and excretion. It is located below the diaphragm and above the pelvis.
abduction
Motion of a limb away from the midline.
acetabulum
The depression on the lateral pelvis where its three component bones join, in which the femoral head fits snugly.
Adam's apple
The firm prominence in the upper part of the larynx formed by the thyroid cartilage. It is more prominent in men than in women.
adduction
Motion of a limb toward the midline.
adenosine triphosphate (ATP)
The nucleotide involved in energy metabolism; used to store energy.
adrenal glands
Endocrine glands located on top of the kidneys that release adrenaline when stimulated by the sympathetic nervous system.
adrenergic
Pertaining to nerves that release the neurotransmitter norepinephrine, or noradrenaline (such as adrenergic nerves, adrenergic response). The term also pertains to the receptors acted on by norepinephrine, that is, the adrenergic receptors.
aerobic metabolism
Metabolism that can proceed only in the presence of oxygen.
agonal respirations
Slow, shallow, irregular respirations or occasional gasping breaths; sometimes seen in dying patients.
alpha-adrenergic receptors
Portions of the nervous system that, when stimulated, can cause constriction of blood vessels.
alveoli
The air sacs of the lungs in which the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide takes place.
anaerobic metabolism
The metabolism that takes place in the absence of oxygen; the principle product is lactic acid.
anatomic position
The position of reference in which the patient stands facing you, arms at the side, with the palms of the hands forward.
anterior
The front surface of the body; the side facing you in the standard anatomic position.
aorta
The main artery that receives blood from the left ventricle and delivers it to all the other arteries that carry blood to the tissues of the body.
apex (plural apices)
The pointed extremity of a conical structure.
apneustic center
Portion of the pons that increases the length of inspiration and decreases the respiratory rate.
appendicular skeleton
The portion of the skeletal system that comprises the arms, legs, pelvis, and shoulder girdle.
appendix
A small tubular structure that is attached to the lower border of the cecum in the lower right quadrant of the abdomen.
arterioles
The smallest branches of arteries leading to the vast network of capillaries.
atrium
One of two (right and left) upper chambers of the heart. The right atrium receives blood from the vena cava and delivers it to the right ventricle. The left atrium receives blood from pulmonary veins and delivers it to the left ventricle.
autonomic nervous system
The part of the nervous system that regulates involuntary functions, such as heart rate, blood pressure, digestion, and sweating.
axial skeleton
The part of the skeleton comprising the skull, spinal column, and rib cage.
ball-and-socket joint
A joint that allows internal and external rotation, as well as bending.
beta-adrenergic receptors
Portions of the nervous system that, when stimulated, can cause an increase in the force of contraction of the heart, an increased heart rate, and bronchial dilation.
biceps
The large muscle that covers the front of the humerus.
bilateral
A body part or condition that appears on both sides of the midline.
bile ducts
The ducts that convey bile between the liver and the intestine.
blood pressure
The pressure of circulating blood against the walls of the arteries.
brachial artery
The major vessel in the upper extremity that supplies blood to the arm.
brain
The controlling organ of the body and center of consciousness; functions include perception, control of reactions to the environment, emotional responses, and judgment.
brain stem
The area of the brain between the spinal cord and cerebrum, surrounded by the cerebellum; controls functions that are necessary for life, such as respiration.
capillary vessels
The tiny blood vessels between the arterioles and venules that permit transfer of oxygen, carbon dioxide, nutrients, and waste between body tissues and the blood.
cardiac muscle
The heart muscle.
carotid artery
The major artery that supplies blood to the head and brain.
cartilage
The support structure of the skeletal system that provides cushioning between bones; also forms the nasal septum and portions of the outer ear.
cecum
The first part of the large intestine, into which the ileum opens.
central nervous system (CNS)
The brain and spinal cord.
cerebellum
One of the three major subdivisions of the brain, sometimes called the \"little brain\"; coordinates the various activities of the brain, particularly fine body movements.
cerebrospinal fluid (CSF)
Fluid produced in the ventricles of the brain that flows in the subarachnoid space and bathes the meninges.
cerebrum
The largest part of the three subdivisions of the brain, sometimes called the \"gray matter\"; made up of several lobes that control movement, hearing, balance, speech, visual perception, emotions, and personality.
cervical spine
The portion of the spinal column consisting of the first seven vertebrae that lie in the neck.
chordae tendineae
Thin bands of fibrous tissue that attach to the valves in the heart and prevent them from inverting.
chyme
The name of the substance that leaves the stomach. It is a combination of all of the eaten foods with added stomach acids.
circulatory system
The complex arrangement of connected tubes, including the arteries, arterioles, capillaries, venules, and veins, that moves blood, oxygen, nutrients, carbon dioxide, and cellular waste throughout the body.
clavicle
The collarbone; it is lateral to the sternum and anterior to the scapula.
coccyx
The last three or four vertebrae of the spine; the tailbone.
coronal plane
An imaginary plane where the body is cut into front and back parts.
cranium
The area of the head above the ears and eyes; the skull. The cranium contains the brain.
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