Women's Health and Education Center (WHEC)


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Backcross: a cross between an animal that is heterozygous for alleles obtained from two parental strains and a second animal from one of those parental strains. Also used to describe the breeding protocol of an outcross followed by a backcross. See also -- model organisms.

Bacteria: microscopic organisms that can cause infection and are usually treated with antibiotics.

Bacterial Artificial Chromosome (BAC): a vector used to clone DNA fragments (100- to 300-kb insert size; average, 150 kb) in Escherichia coli cells. Based on naturally occurring F-factor plasmid found in the bacterium E. coli. See also -- cloning vector.

Bacteriophage: see -- phage.

Bacteriuria: bacteria present in the urine -- 100,000 colony forming units (cfu).

Base: one of the molecules that form DNA and RNA molecules. See also -- nucleotide, base pair, base sequence.

Baseline: an observation or value that represents the background level of a measurable quantity.

Base Pair (BP): two nitrogenous bases (adenine and thymine or guanine and cytosine) held together by weak bonds. Two strands of DNA are held together in the shape of a double helix by the bonds between base pairs.

Base Sequence: the order of nucleotide bases in a DNA molecule; determines structure of proteins encoded by that DNA.

Base Sequence Analysis: a method, sometimes automated, for determining the base sequence.

B Cell or B Lymphocyte: a bone marrow cell. These cells mediate humoral immunity and are thymus-independent cells. In the avian species, these cells are derived from the bursa of Fabricius. In humans, they originate in the bone marrow.

Bedside Commode: portable toilet used by individuals who have difficulty ambulating to standard facilities.

Bed Days: a day during which a person is confined to a bed and in which the patient stays overnight in a hospital.

Behavioral Genetics: the study of genes that may influence behavior.

Behavioral Techniques: specific interventions designed to alter the relationship between the patient's symptoms and his or her behavior and/or environment for the treatment of maladaptive urinary voiding patterns. This may be achieved by modification of the behavior and/or environment.

Benchmarking, also see Best Practice: a process of measuring another organization's product or service according to specified standards in order to compare it with and improve one's own product or service.

Beneficence: literally means doing or producing good, is the obligation to promote the well-being of others. It is the principle requiring that a physician/healthcare provider must act in a manner that benefits the patient.

Beneficiaries: the individuals covered within a health plan.

Benefit, see Health Benefit: in health insurance, either a payment in cash paid in settlement of a claim under the terms of an indemnity policy or the provision of a service in kind following a medical contingency covered by a scheme.

Benefits Package: the set of services and other advantages in money or kind to which a person or persons are entitled by virtue of meeting particular criteria.

Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH): common disorder of men older than 50 characterized by enlargement of the prostate which may press against the urethra and interfere with the flow of urine, causing overflow incontinence. BPH is the most common cause of such anatomic obstruction in elderly men.

Best Available, Best Record, Most Recent: the 'Best Available' or 'Best Record' data is a selection of the most recent, most nationally representative survey of ALL surveys contained with the infobase. This selection is performed by the WHO Global Infobase team based on the total collection of data available within the Infobase. If more recent data is available it should be provided to the WHO Global Infobase team.

Best Available Evidence: conclusive evidence of the links between, for example, socio-environmental factors and health or the effectiveness of interventions is not always available. In such cases, the best available evidence -- that which is judged to be the most reliable and compelling -- can be used, but with caution.

Best Practice, see Benchmarking: an examination of the methods by which optimal outcomes are achieved.

Beta Error: the error of failing to reject a false null hypothesis, i.e. declaring that a difference does not exist when in fact it does. Failure to reject the null hypothesis when it is, in fact, incorrect. Also called a Type II error.

Beveridge System, see Health Care System: the system of social security and health services arising out of the Beveridge report in England and Wales, first published in 1943. This report recommended provision of health care for all people through central taxation and other compulsory financial contributions and that a system of universal benefits should give support during unemployment or sickness and after disability and retirement. The National Health Service Act of 1946 established the provision of services, free-of-charge, for the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of disease.

Bias: allowing subjectivity (rather than objectivity) or prejudice (rather than impartiality) to affect sample selection or data collection and analysis. Prejudice leading to the conscious or unconscious selection of study procedures that depart from the truth in particular direction or to one-sidedness in the interpretation of results.

Binding Site: a term used for the antibody-combining site and other sites of specific attachment of macromolecules to one another.

Biofeedback Therapy: behavioral technique in which a person learns how to consciously control involuntary responses such as muscle contractions. The person receives a visual, auditory, or tactile signal (the feedback) that indicates how well the person's muscles are responding to the commands of the person's nervous system. The signal is derived from a measurable physiologic parameter, which is subsequently used in an educational process to accomplish a specific therapeutic result. The signal is displayed in a quantitative way, and the patient is taught how to alter it and thus control the physiologic process.

Bioinformatics: the science of managing and analyzing biological data using advanced computing techniques. Especially important in analyzing genomic research data. See also -- informatics.

Biologic Response Modifier: the molecule produced by the body to regulate cellular responses.

Bioremediation: the use of biological organisms such as plants or microbes to aid in removing hazardous substances from an area.

Biotechnology: a set of biological techniques developed through basic research and now applied to research and product development. In particular, biotechnology refers to the use by industry of recombinant DNA, cell fusion, and new bioprocessing techniques.

Birth Asphyxia: the term is used for failure to initiate and sustain breathing at birth. It is not used as a predictor of outcome.

Birth Attendant: a trained person with midwifery skills providing delivery care for mother and newborn.

Birth Defect: any harmful trait, physical or biochemical, present at birth, whether a result of a genetic mutation or some other nongenetic factor. See also -- congenital, gene, mutation, syndrome.

Birth Plan: a plan for giving birth that takes into account the woman's or couple's preferences as well as special circumstances and possible complications or emergency situations.

Birth Weight: the first weight of the newborn, measured to the nearest five grams. It is usually obtained within the first hours of birth.

Bismarckian System, see Social Health Insurance: a system of national social security and health insurance introduced into the 19th century German empire under the then Chancellor Bismarck. This system is a legally mandatory system for the majority or the whole population to obtain health insurance with a designated (statutory) third-party payer through non-risk related contributions which are kept separate from taxes or other legally mandated payments.

Bladder: hollow, muscular organ that lies in the pelvis and is supported by the pelvic floor muscle. The bladder has only two functions: to stretch to allow the storage of urine and to contract to enable the expulsion of urine. The term detrusor is used to refer to the smooth muscle structure of the bladder.

Bladder Catheterization: procedure in which a catheter is passed through the urethra and into the bladder for the purpose of draining urine and performing diagnostic tests of bladder or urethral function.

Bladder Diary or Record: daily record of bladder habits documenting urination and episodes of incontinence.

Bladder Training: behavior technique that requires the patient to resist or inhibit the sensation of urgency (the strong desire to urinate), to postpone voiding, and to urinate according to a timetable rather than the urge to void.

BLAST: a computer program that identifies homologous (similar) genes in different organisms, such as human, fruit fly, or nematode.

Blastocyst: a stage in early human development that follows from the formation of the morula. The balstocyst is a sphere of cells containing a fluid-filled cavity forming about 4 days after fertilization and prior to the beginning of the process of implantation.

Blastomeres: the cells derived from the first and subsequent cell divisions of the zygote.

Block Grants: These grants are lump sum grants, calculated prospectively, and based on specific criteria which cannot be influenced by the receiving authority in the short run, for example the number of inhabitants and their distribution.

Blocking Factor: a humoral antibody or an antigen-antibody complex or other factor that coats antigenic sites with a protective covering so that neither complement nor killer lymphocytes can attack the cell.

Boundaries of The Health System: the outer limits within which the health system operates. More specifically, they include all activities whose primary intent is to improve health.

Boundary: the outer limit of a concept.

Bowel Movement: act of passing feces through the anus.

Bowel: another word for intestines.

BPSD: behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia.

Brachytherapy: treatment of malignant tumors by radioactive sources that are implanted close to (intracavitary) or within (interstitial) the tumor.

Budget, also see Global Budget: a statement of the financial resources made available to provide an agreed level of service over a set period of time or to use them for a specific purpose.

Burden of Disease: the total significance of disease for society beyond the immediate cost of treatment. It is measured in years of life lost to ill health as the difference between total life expectancy and disability-adjusted life expectancy.

Bursa of Fabricius: a cloacal structure in avian species containing immature lymphoid elements (B cells) and presumed to govern the production of humoral antibodies through these B cells.

Women's Health & Education Center
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