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Glossary

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A

  • assay cup

    A small wine cup for tasting wine prior to offering it to another person

  • asthma

    A common condition in which the airways go into spasm and become constricted. It causes wheezing, coughing and difficulty in breathing. It is often a reaction to hypersensitivity, but can also be triggered by exercise or stress.

  • astigmatism

    A condition where there is deviation in the curvature of the eye or the lens. This means that vision is distorted, as light rays cannot focus properly.

  • astringent

    A drug that causes cells to contract. Astringents are used in lotions to harden and protect the skin and to lessen the bleeding from minor abrasions. They are present in several other domestic products, such as mouthwash and deodorant.

  • astrolabe

    Instrument designed to observe the positions and measure the altitude of celestial bodies; used from the 2nd century BCE, until superseded by sextant.

  • astrology

    The study of the stars, moon, and planets, interpreted as having an affect on everyday life.

  • asylum

    A historic term for a psychiatric hospital. The term in this context was common in the 1700s and 1800s, but is no longer in use.

  • athanor

    A digesting furnace, formerly used by alchemists. It was constructed to maintain uniform and durable heat.

  • atomic force microscope

    Atomic force microscope (AFM) is a very high-resolution type of scanning probe microscope, with demonstrated resolution of fractions of an Angstrom

  • atomizer

    A vessel with mechanism to atomizes a liquid contained therein, used to deliver such material as medicines, fuel, scent, in a fine spray.

  • ausculation

    Listening to the sounds of the body such as the heart or chest either with the ear or a stethoscope to diagnose medical problems.

  • autism

    A psychiatric condition that begins in childhood. Its symptoms include difficulties forming relationships and communicating. Sometimes autism is marked with high intelligence in specific areas, but with learning difficulties in other areas. A person can suffer from different levels of autism, from minor to severe.

  • autoclave

    A machine used to sterilise instruments or materials with high pressure and heat or pressurised steam.

  • automatic lancet

    A surgical instrument of various forms, commonly sharp-pointed and double-edged, used in venesection, and in opening abscesses, etc,which uses a spring mechanism instead of human force.

  • autoradiograph

    A photograph of an object containing radioactive material. The image is created on a photo-sensitive plate by the radiation contained within the object.

  • Ayurveda

    An Indian medical tradition. Literally translated it means ‘Life Science’ and promotes mental and physical health through balancing biological elements. Ayurveda focuses on exercise, massage, yoga and meditation.

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