Women's Health and Education Center (WHEC)


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Vaccination: injection or ingestion of an immunogenic antigen for the purpose of producing active immunity.

Vaccine: a suspension of dead or living micro-organisms that is injected or ingested for the purpose of producing active immunity.

Vagina: collapsible tube of smooth muscle with its opening located between the urethral orifice and the anal sphincter of women. Also known as the birth canal.

Validity: the accuracy of research results based on the method(s) used to obtain them.

Valsalva Maneuver: action of closing the airways and straining down on the abdominal muscles (such as when straining to have a bowel movement).

Variable: any measurable entity that might constitute an aspect of a research study.

Vector: a DNA vehicle that can be propagated in living cells (e.g., bacteria and yeast) into which foreign DNA can be inserted and propagated with the vector DNA. Examples of vectors include bacterial plasmids, cosmids, bacteriophages, and most recently, yeast artificial chromosomes. See -- cloning vector.

Vertical Transmission of Viruses: transmission from one generation to another. Can include transmission from one generation to the next through milk or through the placenta.

Very Low Birth Weight: a birth weight of less than 1500 g.

Virus: a non-cellular biological entity that can reproduce only within a host cell. Viruses consist of nucleic acid covered by protein; some animal viruses are also surrounded by membrane. Inside the infected cell, the virus uses the synthetic capability of the host to produce progeny virus. See also -- cloning vector.

Void: synonym for urination.

Voiding or Bladder Diary (Record): record maintained by the patient or caregiver that is used to record the frequency, timing, amount of voiding, and/or other factors associated with the patient's urinary incontinence. Also called an incontinence chart.

Voiding Reflex: reflex in which the bladder indicates to the spinal cord that it is full of urine, and the spinal cord signals the bladder to contract and empty.

Voluntary Health Insurance (VHI): Health insurance which is taken up and paid for at the discretion of individuals (whether directly or via their employers).

Vulnerable Groups: while there is agreement that globalization has both positive and negative effects, it is less clear exactly how these negative effects exert their impact on people's lives. Whether globalization is the cause of increased vulnerability or whether vulnerability is maintained by an inability to maximize the benefits of globalization is not clear. It is probable that both forces are at work. Thus vulnerable groups such as the elderly, the young, and the poor are already so marginalized that they cannot benefit from globalization, and are increasing in numbers as globalization increases the gap between rich and poor.

Women's Health & Education Center
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