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Understanding Medical Terms

Nov
26

Date: November 26th, 2013

Simple Naming Will Make Treatment and Exams EasierWhen someone talks of a muscle in the pelvis, it will be simple to understand and answer any question that is related to that. However, when the same question is posed and the words ‘obturator internus’ muscle replaces pelvic muscle, it will be very confusing and more so to a layperson. This is what many students go through where they have to memorize the names to understand what exam questions are targeting.

Getting Meaning from Source

Medical students get relieved when anatomical terms are well explained or easy to understand like ‘vocal cord paralysis or ‘urinary tract infection’. In most cases though, the terms used are hard to understand. At times, the names are derived from different languages like Greek or Latin, and when you check the meaning, you can at least try to get the meaning of the term. Nephrectomy (removal of a kidney through surgical means) is one example of a medical term that is derive from Greek words ‘Nephro’ that means kidney, and ‘ectomy’ that means surgical excision. When a student knows this, understanding terms will a bit simple. Such similar terms are ureterectomy, which is the removal of ureter, nephroureterectomy, which is the removal of both the kidney and ureter and appendectomy is the removal of appendix.

Lack Of Source Relation

This approach can be misleading at times because based on a case in 1806 where a dermatologist name a particular skin ailment after some fungus and the roots of a mushroom, the ailment (mycosis fungoides) had nothing to do with the things it was named after. The ailment is known to be a certain lymphoma.

Many a times are when a medical term is never related to what it is about. One reason for this is because some of the diseases were named after the person who discovered them. The Berger’s disease for example, which affects the kidney, is named after who discovered it, and a similar one, Buerger’s disease attacks the small arteries mainly in the case of a smoker.

The worst way that medical terms were named is in the order of the way they were discovered. The proteins on the surface of the human white blood cell are numbered from CD1 to CD350. Per CD proteins there are subcategories of the type of cell that express them.

The Tough Exam Settings

You will always find questions in our medical exams that test if you can note errors in the naming of diseases and other medical terms. For instance, you can be asked if there is an error in the naming of lupus anticoagulant, or if IL5 is a stimulant to allergic reactions and whether IL10 is an allergic depressant. To have known all these and many other medical terms you need to do a lot of memorizing.

Memorizing these terms takes a lot of time that could be used to study other important things. In that case, medical nomenclature does not have to be this complex, and should be made simple to understand.

 

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