GLOSSARY M-P

maxilla — the principal bone of the upper jaw (The bone of the lower jaw is the mandible.)
mediastinum — the space within the chest located between the lungs, containing the heart, major blood vessels, trachea and esophagus
meninges — the system of membranes that envelopes the central nervous system
metabolism — the conversion of food into energy and waste products
mimicry/mimetic — protective resemblance; the resemblance that certain animals and plants exhibit to other animals and plants or to the natural objects among which they live; a characteristic that serves as their chief means of protection against enemies; imitation; mimesis; mimetism
morbidity — a disease or the incidence of disease within a population; also refers to adverse effects caused by a treatment
morphology — science of the form and structure of organisms (plants, animals and other forms of life)
mortality — death rate by a given cause within a population
motor nuclei — collection of cells in the central nervous system giving origin to a
motor nerve
mydriasis — a long-continued or excessive dilation of the pupil of the eye
myocardium — the middle and thickest layer of the heart wall composed of cardiac muscle
neurological — having to do with the nerves or the nervous system
neuromuscular — the synapse or junction of the axon of a neuron and the motor end plate of a muscle; in vertebrates, the signal passes through the neuromuscular junction via a neurotransmitter, acetylcholine
neurotoxic — poisonous to the nerves or nerve cells
nystagmus — spontaneous, rapid, rhythmic movement of the eyes occurring on fixation or on ocular movement
oblique — an indirect or evasive angle
occlude — to close off or stop up; obstruct
oronasal — pertaining to the mouth and nose
paralysis — loss of ability to move all or part of the body
paresthesia — a sensation of numbness or tingling on the skin
patent foramen ovale — a hole in the septum (wall) between the right and left atria of the heart
pelagic — any water in the sea that is not close to the bottom or near to the shore is in the pelagic zone; from the Greek pélagos, which means “open sea”
perfusion — the passage of fluid (such as blood) through an organ or tissue
pericardium — a double-layered membranous sac surrounding the heart and major blood vessels connected to it
peripheral — related to or located in the outer boundary of the body
pharynx — portion of the airway at the back of the throat, connecting mouth, nasal cavity and larynx
phylogenetics — the study of evolutionary relatedness among various groups of organisms
pia mater — the delicate innermost layer of the meninges, the membranes surrounding the brain and spinal cord
platelet — a round or oval disk, which is found in the blood of vertebrate animals, that is involved with blood clotting
pleura — membranes surrounding the outer surface of the lungs and the inner surface of the chest wall and the diaphragm
pneumatophore — one of the polyps of Physalia spp., which forms a gas-filled bladder that enables the organism to float along the ocean surface; also known as the marissa or sail
pneumomediastinum — the presence of air in the mediastinal soft tissues
pneumothorax — a collapsed lung
postictal — pertaining to the period following a seizure or convulsion
postural — position of the body or body parts
prescription — a written order for dispensing drugs signed by a physician
primary assessment — assessment of the airway, breathing and circulation (pulse) in an ill or injured person; also known as the ABCs
proinflammatory mediator — a substance that indirectly mediates or triggers an inflammatory response

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