Wart: A local
growth of the outer layer of skin caused by a virus. Warts
that occur on the hands or feet are called common warts.
Genital (venereal) warts are located on the genitals and are
transmitted by sexual contact.
Warts, genital: Warts confined primarily to the moist skin of
the genitals due to viruses belonging to the family of human
papilloma viruses (HPVs) transmitted through sexual contact.
Most infected people have no symptoms but these viruses increase
a womanís risk for cancer of the cervix. The virus can also be
transmitted from mother to baby during childbirth. HPV infection
is the most common sexually transmitted disease in the United
States. It is also the leading cause of abnormal PAP smears and
pre-cancerous changes of the cervix in women. There is no cure
for genital warts virus infection. Once contracted, the virus
can stay with a person for life.
Wart, venereal: The same as a genital wart.
Wasp stings: Stings from wasps and other large stinging insects
such as bees, hornets and yellow jackets can trigger allergic
reactions varying greatly in severity. Avoidance and prompt
treatment are essential. In selected cases, allergy injection
therapy is highly effective. (The three "Aís" of insect allergy
are Adrenaline, Avoidance and Allergist.)
WBC: Commonly used abbreviation for a white blood cell.
Werner-His disease: Named for the German physician Heinrich
Werner (not the Werner of Wernerís syndrome) and the Swiss
physician Wilhelm His, Jr. (who described the bundle of His in
the heart). See Fever, Wolhynia.
Western blot: A technique in molecular biology, used to separate
and identify particular proteins. Called a Western blot merely
because it has some similarity to a Southern blot (which is
named after its inventor, the British biologist M.E. Southern).
White blood cells: White blood cells (WBCs) are cells which
circulate in the blood and lymphatic system and harbor in the
lymph glands and spleen. They are part of the immune system
responsible for both directly (T cells and macrophages) and
indirectly (B cells producing antibodies) attacking foreign
invaders of the body.
White matter: The part of the brain that contains myelinated
nerve fibers. The white matter is white because it is the color
of myelin, the insulation covering the nerve fibers. The white
matter is as opposed to the gray matter (the cortex of the brain
which contains nerve cell bodies).
Whooping cough: Also known as pertussis, this is a feared
infectious disease that can strike the respiratory system and
affect other organs of the body. It has three stagesóan initial
stage with watery runny nose and eyes, a progressive cough stage
with characteristic (sometimes severe) coughing spells, and (if
the dhild survives) a recovery stage. The disease may last for
2-6 weeks. Therapy is supportive and many young infants need
hospitalization if the coughing becomes severe. Immunization
with DPT (diphtheria-pertussis-tetanus) vaccine provides
protection. With pertussis, an ounce of prevention is worth a
pound of cure (or, if you are metrically inclined, a gram of
prevention is worth a kilo of cure). Have your child immunized!
Will, living: A living will is one form of advance medical
directive. Advance medical directives preserve the personís
right to accept or reject a course of medical treatment even
after that person becomes mentally or physically incapacitated
to the point of being unable to communicate those wishes. There
are two basic forms of advance directives: (1) a living will, in
which the person outlines specific treatment guidelines that are
to be followed by health care providers; (2) a health care proxy
(also called a power of attorney for health-care
decision-making) in which the person designates a trusted
individual to make medical decisions in the event that he or she
becomes too incapacitated to make such decisions. Advance
directive requirements vary greatly from one jurisdiction to
another and should therefore be drawn up in consultation with an
attorney who is familiar with the laws of the particular
jurisdiction. (This entry is based upon material from the
National MS Society).
WNL: Within normal limits. A laboratory test result may for
instance be WNL.
Wolhynia fever: Trench fever, a louse-borne disease first
recognized in the trenches of World War I, again a major problem
in the military in World War II, seen endemically in Mexico, N.
Africa, E. Europe, and elsewhere. The cause, Rochalimaea
quintana, is an unusual rickettsia that multiplies in the gut of
the body louse. Transmission to people can occur by rubbing
infected louse feces into abraded (scuffed) skin or outer layer
of the whites of the eyes (conjunctiva). Onset of symptoms is
sudden, with high fever, headache, back and leg pain and a
fleeting rash. Recovery takes a month or more. Relapses are
common. Also called shin bone fever, quintan fever, five-day
fever, Meuse fever, Hisí disease, His-Werner disease, Werner-His
Wordprocessorís cramp: A dystonia that affects the muscles of
the hand and sometimes the forearm and only occurs during typing
or wordprocessing. Similar focal dystonias have also been called
writerís cramp, pianistís cramp, musicianís cramp, and golferís
Writerís cramp: A dystonia that affects the muscles of the hand
and sometimes the forearm and only occurs during handwriting.
Similar focal dystonias have also been called typistís cramp,
pianistís cramp, musicianís cramp, and golferís cramp.
Wry neck: Medically called spasmodic torticollis, or torticollis.
The most common of the focal dystonias. In torticollis, the
muscles in the neck that control the position of the head are
affected, causing the head to twist and turn to one side. In
addition, the head may be pulled forward or backward.
Wt: Weight. Wt 80 lbs = weight 80 pounds.