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The Medicine Portal

Marble statue of Asclephius on a pedestal, symbol of medicine in Western medicine

Medicine is the science and practice of caring for a patient, managing the diagnosis, prognosis, prevention, treatment, palliation of their injury or disease, and promoting their health. Medicine encompasses a variety of health care practices evolved to maintain and restore health by the prevention and treatment of illness. Contemporary medicine applies biomedical sciences, biomedical research, genetics, and medical technology to diagnose, treat, and prevent injury and disease, typically through pharmaceuticals or surgery, but also through therapies as diverse as psychotherapy, external splints and traction, medical devices, biologics, and ionizing radiation, amongst others.

Medicine has been practiced since prehistoric times, during most of which it was an art (an area of skill and knowledge) frequently having connections to the religious and philosophical beliefs of local culture. For example, a medicine man would apply herbs and say prayers for healing, or an ancient philosopher and physician would apply bloodletting according to the theories of humorism. In recent centuries, since the advent of modern science, most medicine has become a combination of art and science (both basic and applied, under the umbrella of medical science). While stitching technique for sutures is an art learned through practice, the knowledge of what happens at the cellular and molecular level in the tissues being stitched arises through science.

Prescientific forms of medicine are now known as traditional medicine or folk medicine, which remains commonly used in the absence of scientific medicine, and are thus called alternative medicine. Alternative treatments outside of scientific medicine having safety and efficacy concerns are termed quackery. (Full article...)

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Lewy body in the substantia nigra from a person with Parkinson's disease.jpg

Dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) is a type of dementia characterized by changes in sleep, behavior, cognition, movement, and regulation of automatic bodily functions. Memory loss is not always an early symptom. The disease worsens over time and is usually diagnosed when cognitive decline interferes with normal daily functioning. Together with Parkinson's disease dementia, DLB is one of the two Lewy body dementias. It is a common form of dementia, but the prevalence is not known accurately and many diagnoses are missed. The disease was first described by Kenji Kosaka in 1976.

REM sleep behavior disorder (RBD)—in which people lose the muscle paralysis that normally occurs during REM sleep and act out their dreams—is a core feature. RBD may appear years or decades before other symptoms. Other core features are visual hallucinations, marked fluctuations in attention or alertness, and parkinsonism (slowness of movement, trouble walking, or rigidity). A presumptive diagnosis can be made if several disease features are present, such as symptoms or certain results of blood tests, neuropsychological tests, imaging, and sleep studies. A definitive diagnosis usually requires an autopsy. (Full article...)

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Animation of a three-dimensional echocardiogram. The heart is viewed from the apex (tip), with the apical part of the ventricles removed. The mitral valve can clearly be seen to open and close. The leaflets of the tricuspid and aortic valve are not clearly visible, but the openings are. To the left are two standard two-dimensional views.

Photo credit: Kjetil Lenes (GFDL/cc-by-sa-3.0)



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