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Dr. Kennedy's Vocabulary Course: -K-
(View Course for 11/18/2013)
(A B C D E F G H I J K L M)
 
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Ron Kennedy, M.D.
 
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- K -
(A B C D E F G H I J K L M)
Kingella kingae:  A type of bacteria that has emerged from obscurity to become known as an important cause of invasive infections in young children. These infections include especially septic arthritis, osteomyelitis, spondylodiscitis bacteremia, and endocarditis, Kingella kingae is responsible for lower respiratory tract infections and meningitis.
Klebsiella:  A group of bacteria normally living in the intestinal tract and frequently the cause of nosocomial infections (infections acquired in the hospital). Named for Dr. Klebs.
K (potassium):  K is the symbol for potassium, the major positive ion (cation) found inside of cells. The chemical notation for potassium is K+.
Kala-azar:  A chronic and potentially fatal parasitic disease of the viscera (the internal organs, particularly the liver, spleen, bone marrow and lymph nodes) due to infection by the parasite called Leishmania donovani. Leishmania donovani, the agent of kala-azar, is transmitted by sandfly bites in parts of Asia (primarily India), Africa (primarily Sudan) and South America (primarily Brazil) where all together there are an estimated half million cases per year. There are also several hundred cases yearly in Europe (primarily in the Mediterranean region) and a few in North America.
Kalemia:  The presence of potassium in the blood. The word "kalemia" is seldom used today although it is the basis for the terms for abnormally high blood potassium (hyperkalemia) and low blood potassium (hypokalemia).
Kanner syndrome (aka autism):  A spectrum of neuropsychiatric disorders characterized by deficits in social interaction and communication, and unusual and repetitive behavior. Some, but not all, people with autism are non-verbal.
Kaposi sarcoma:  First described in 1872 by the dermatologist Moritz Kaposi (1837-1902), a relatively rare type of skin malignancy that tends to afflict elderly people or, especially, those with an abnormal immune system as in AIDS. Kaposi sarcoma is a highly vascular ("angioblastic") tumor of the skin characterized by soft purplish plaques and papules that form nodules which typically start on the feet and ankles and then slowly spread across the skin of the legs, hands and arms. In AIDS patients, these tumors can also develop internally and cause severe internal bleeding. The treatment depends on the severity of the tumor. Low dosages of radiation therapy can be effective in treating mild cases of Kaposi sarcoma. However, in more severe cases, anti-cancer drugs may be used to slow the spread of the tumor.
Kartagener syndrome:  A genetic syndrome characterized by sinusitis, bronchiectasis (widening and inflammation of the bronchi), dextrocardia (heart on the right side), and infertility. The syndrome is inherited in an autosomal recessive manner.
Karyocyte:  Any cell that possesses a nucleus.
Karyokinesis:  During cell division, the process of partition of a cell's nucleus into the daughter cells.
Karyotype (aka karyogram):  A standard arrangement of the chromosome complement done for chromosome analysis. For example, a normal human female karyotype would have 22 pairs of autosomes (non-sex chromosomes) arranged in numerical order together with two X chromosomes.
Kashin-Beck disease:   A disorder of the bones and joints of the hands and fingers, elbows, knees, and ankles of children and adolescents who slowly develop stiff deformed joints, shortened limb length and short stature due to necrosis (death) of the growth plates of bones and of joint cartilage. The disorder is endemic in some areas of eastern Siberia, Korea, China and Tibet and is probably of environmental origin, as evidenced by the fact that it occurs in children who move into the endemic areas and children with it who move away get better. Selenium supplementation has no effect on established Kashin-Beck disease. Iodine deficiency should be corrected. It is clearly a factor in the disease. Also called Kashin-Bek disease. The people in the areas subject to the disorder called it big bone disease.
Kawasaki disease:  A disease that of unknown origin that mainly affects young children, causing fever, reddening of the eyes (conjunctivitis), lips and mucous membranes of the mouth, ulcerative gum disease (gingivitis), swollen glands in the neck (cervical lymphadenopathy) and a rash that is raised and bright red (maculoerythematous) in a glove-and-sock fashion over the skin of the hands and feet which becomes hard, swollen (edematous) and peels off. Also called the mucocutaneous lymph node syndrome. Some children with Kawasaki disease do not fulfill these classic criteria and yet are at risk for developing coronary artery aneurysms, an abnormal ballooning of a coronary vessel. Children with Kawasaki disease who are not treated within the first week to 10 days of the onset of fever have five times the risk of developing coronary artery aneurysms. The name of mucocutaneous lymph node syndrome is quite descriptive because the disease is characterized by the typical changes in the mucus membranes that line the lips and mouth and by the enlarged and tender lymph glands. The syndrome was first described in the late 1960's in Japan by the pediatrician Tomisaku Kawasaki. Kawasaki disease affects the vascular system, and is now the main cause of acquired heart disease in children. It is most common in people of Asian descent, and is both more common and more deadly in males. Treatment is usually with with high-dose intravenous gamma globulin, also called intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG).
Kearns-Sayre syndrome:  A neuromuscular disorder characterized by three primary findings: progressive paralysis of certain eye muscles (chronic progressive external ophthalmoplegia, or CPEO); abnormal accumulation of colored (pigmented) material on the retina (atypical retinitis pigmentosa), leading to chronic inflammation and progressive degeneration of the retina; and heart disease (cardiomyopathy) such as cardiac conduction defects and heart block. Other findings in the syndrome may include muscle weakness, short stature, hearing loss, and the loss of ability to coordinate voluntary movements (ataxia) due to problems in the part of the brain called the cerebellum. Kearns-Sayre syndrome is one of the mitochondrial encephalomyopathies. These disorders are due to defects in the DNA of the mitochondria, the cell structures that produce energy. These defects cause the brain and muscles to function abnormally (encephalomyopathy).
Kegel exercises:  Exercises designed to increase muscle strength and elasticity in the female pelvis. Kegel exercises may be recommended for treatment of an incompetent cervix, vaginal looseness after pregnancy and delivery, or urinary incontinence.
Keloid:  When the skin is injured, cells grow back to fill in the gap. Somehow, they normally "know" when the scar tissue is level with the skin, at which point the cells stop multiplying. When the cells keep on reproducing, the result is a what is called a overgrown (hypertrophic) scar or a keloid. The result is a keloid -- a tough heaped-up scar that rises quite abruptly above the rest of the skin. It is irregularly shaped and tends to enlarge progressively. In other words, keloids are due to an excessive response to trauma such as a cut to the skin. In creating a normal scar, connective tissue in the skin is repaired by the formation of collagen. This occurs in the dermis (the layer of skin just below the epidermis,the outer layer of skin). Keloids arise when there is too much collagen formed in the dermis during the repair of connective tissue. To develop keloids, a person must be susceptible to keloid formation. This susceptibility is clearly genetic. For instance, keloids are known to have occurred in 5 successive generations within a single family. People of African or Asian descent are more likely to get keloids than people with lighter skin.
Keratectomy:  Removal of part of the cornea. This can be done by surgical excision or by laser.
Keratectomy, photorefractive (PRK):  A kind of laser eye surgery designed to change the shape of the cornea to eliminate (or reduce) the need for glasses and contact lenses. The laser is used to remove the outer layer of the central area of the cornea in the case of near-sightedness or the peripheral area of the cornea in the case of far-sightedness. These changes are intended to correct myopia (near-sightedness), hyperopia (far-sightedness) and astigmatism (uneven curvature of the cornea that distorts vision). PRK is an ambulatory procedure done in the office with numbing eye drops. It takes about a minute to do and about 3 days to heal. No eye patch need be worn after PRK although a bandage contact lense is worn for 3-5 days while the corneal epithelium regenerates and covers the cornea again.
Keratin:  Protein in the upper layer of the skin, hair, nails and animal horns. The word keratin comes from the Indo-European ker> meaning horn. So there you go - now you know that medical science thinks of your skin as horny. As it turns out animal horns are made of keratin.
Keratitis:  Inflammation of the cornea (the transparent structure in the front of the eye).
Keratoconjunctivitis:  Inflammation of the eye involving both the cornea and the conjunctiva. Keratoconjunctivitis can be due to diverse causes, including infections and autoimmunity (as is the case in Sjogren syndrome).
Keratoconus:  Cone-shaped cornea with the apex of the cone being forward. Also called conical cornea. Keratoconus is a genetic condition present in about one out of 10,000 individuals. Both parents must have a recesssive gene (present in about one out of every 400 persons). When this is the case the children of such a union have a one in four chance of developing keratoconus. If left untreated the cornea can eventually rupture and scar over producing blindness. Prior to the development of corneal transplatation (keratoplasty in the 1930s many people simply went blind from ketatoconus.
Keratolytic:  Pertaining to keratolysis, the softening and shedding of the horny outer layer of the skin. A keratolytic agent is a peeling agent.
Keratoma:  An area of hardened skin, usually called a callus.
Keratoplasty:  Corneal transplant.
Keratosis:  A localized horny overgrowth of the upper layer of skin such as a callus or wart. Among the common forms of keratosis are actinic keratosis (related to sun exposure) and senile keratosis (related to age).
Keratosis follicularis:  A genetic skin disease characterized by slowly progressive hardening of the skin (keratoses) around the hair follicles. This disorder is inherited in an autosomal dominant manner. Also known as Darier disease.
Keratosis pilaris:  Small rough bumps, generally on the face, upper arms, and thighs. Keratosis refers to a localized overgrowth of the upper layer of skin. "Pilaris" pertains to the hair. In keratosis pilaris, the buildup of keratin (the hard protein in the skin, nails, and hair) is limited to the hair follicles.
Keratosis, actinic (aka senile and solar):  A small rough spot on skin chronically exposed to the sun, precancerous, can develop into a skin cancer called squamous cell carcinoma, a process that typically takes years. Actinic keratoses occur most frequently in fair-skinned people. Common locations are the face, scalp, back of the neck, upper chest, forearm and back of the hand. Prevention is by minimizing sun exposure. Treatments include cryosurgery (freezing them with liquid nitrogen), cutting them away, burning them, putting 5-fluorouracil (5-FU) on them, and photodynamic therapy (which involves injecting into the bloodstream a chemical that collects in actinic keratoses and makes them more sensitive to exposure to a specialized form of light).
Keratosis, seborrheic:  A benign skin disorder due to excessive growth of the top layer of skin cells, usually found in persons over 30 years old. They may appear as just one growth or in clusters. They are most often brown but can differ in color and range anywhere from light tan to black. They come in different sizes, anywhere from a fraction of an inch (or centimeter) to an inch (2.5 cm) in diameter. The telltale feature of seborrheic keratoses is that they look like they have been pasted on the skin or just stuck on it. They may look like a dab of warm brown candle wax that dropped on the skin. Almost everybody eventually develops at least a few seborrheic keratoses since they tend to become more common and more numerous with age. They are sometimes referred to as "barnacles of old age." The development of seborrheic keratoses is sometimes triggered by pregnancy, estrogen therapy or certain medical conditions. Seborrheic keratoses are most often found on the chest or back but can be found on the scalp, face, or neck or almost anywhere on the body. When they first appear, the growths usually begin one at a time as small rough bumps. Eventually they thicken and develop a rough, warty surface. Although seborrheic keratoses may first appear in one spot and seem to spread to another, they are not catching. As people age they may simply develop a few more. These growths may be unsightly, especially if they begin to appear on the face. They can get irritated by clothing rubbing against them. Because they may grow larger over the years, removal is sometimes recommended especially if they get irritated and bleed easily. A seborrheic keratosis may turn black and may be difficult to distinguish from a skin cancer. Sometimes such a growth must be removed and studied under a microscope to determine if it is cancerous or not. Salves, ointments or medication can neither cure nor prevent seborrheic keratoses. Most often seborrheic keratoses are treated by one of three methods: freezing, scraping, and electrosurgery.
Keratotomy:  A surgical incision (a cut) made into the cornea. A radial keratotomy is a surgical procedure designed to flatten the cornea, reduce its optical power, and correct nearsightedness (myopia). The procedure is called a radial keratotomy because the incisions resemble the spokes in a bicycle wheel.
Kernicterus:  A type of brain damage associated with athetoid cerebral palsy (uncontrollable movement of the face, body, arms, and legs) and deafness. Kernicterus is due to marked jaundice in the newborn period. The high blood level of the pigment bilirubin results in its deposition in the brain, which damages the brain. The level of bilirubin is monitored in newborns to determine whether treatment is needed to prevent kernicterus. Today no baby should develop brain damage from untreated jaundice. If a baby gets too jaundiced, the baby can be treated with phototherapy. The baby can be put under blue lights most of the day. If the baby gets very jaundiced, an exchange transfusion can be done. Kernicterus is also called bilirubin encephalopathy.
Kernig sign:  A clinical hallmark of meningitis, inflammation of the meninges, the membranes covering the brain and spinal cord. The test for Kernig sign is done by having the person lie supine (flat on the back), flex the thigh so that it is at a right angle to the trunk, and then completely extend the leg at the knee joint. If the leg cannot be completely extended due to pain, this is a positive Kernig's sign.
Keshan disease:  Condition caused by deficiency of the essential mineral selenium. Keshan disease is a potentially fatal form of cardiomyopathy (disease of the heart muscle). It was first observed in Keshan province in China and since has been found elsewhere (including New Zealand and Finland) in areas where the selenium level in the soil is low. Treatment is selenium supplementation.
Ketoacidosis:  A feature of uncontrolled diabetes mellitus characterized by a combination of ketosis and acidosis. Ketosis is the accumulation of substances called ketone bodies in the blood. Acidosis is increased acidity of the blood. Symptoms of ketoacidosis include slow, deep breathing with a fruity odor to the breath; confusion; frequent urination (polyuria); poor appetite; and eventually loss of consciousness. The treatment of ketoacidosis is a matter of urgency and is usually done in a hospital. It may require the administration of intravenous fluids, insulin, and glucose, and the institution of changes in the person's diet.
Ketogenic diet:  A diet devised as a treatment for severe seizure disorders that do not respond to conventional medication. The ketogenic diet is comprised almost entirely of fats and protein. All portion must be precisely weighed and timed. Because this diet can cause the buildup of ketone bodies in the blood, it is highly risky and should only be tried under close medical supervision.
Ketone:  A chemical substances that the body makes when it does not have enough insulin in the blood. When ketones build up in the body for a long time, serious illness or coma can result.
Ketone bodies:  Acetone, acetoacetate, and beta-hydroxybutyrate -- are toxic acidic chemicals. They build up in the blood and then spill over into the urine. The body can also rid itself of acetone through the lungs. This gives the breath a fruity odor. The presence of ketone bodies in the blood is termed ketosis and the presence of ketone bodies in the urine is called ketonuria.
Ketonuria:  A condition in which abnormally high amounts of ketone bodies (a byproduct of the breakdown of cells) are present in the urine. Ketonuria is a sign seen in diabetes mellitus that is out of control.
Kidney:  One of a pair of organs located in the right and left side of the abdomen which clear "poisons" from the blood, regulate acid concentration and maintain water balance in the body by excreting urine. The kidneys are part of the urinary tract. The urine then passes through connecting tubes called "ureters" into the bladder. The bladder stores the urine until it is released during urination.
Kidney cancer:  Malignancy of the kidney, the organ that is primarily responsible for the removal of metabolic waste products from the body. The types of kidney cancer in adults and children are different and distinct. In Adults -- Kidney cancer tends to occur after age 50 and strikes men twice as often as women. The most common type occurs in the renal (kidney) tissue that filters the blood and produces the urine and is called renal cell carcinoma. Another type of adult kidney tumor arises in the renal pelvis where the urine collects and is called transitional cell carcinoma. The most frequent diagnostic sign of kidney cancer in adults is blood in the urine. In children far and away the main type of kidney cancer in children is Wilm's tumor. It starts to develop in fetal life and may be large by the time it is detected (on the average at 3 years of age). Wilms tumor is associated with certain congenital defects including urinary tract abnormalities, absence of the iris (aniridia) and hemihypertrophy (enlargement of one side of the body), and shows an increased incidence among siblings and twins. The tumor tends to cause a noticeable mass and sometimes pain in the abdomen. Blood in the urine occurs in a minority of cases.
Kidney disease screening:  Screening for early kidney disease in people who are not already known to have it. Kidney disease is common and is commonly insidious in onset. The burden of kidney disease in its earlier stages lies not only in the risk of progression but in the complications of decreased kidney function and the risk of heart disease. In 2002 the National Kidney Foundation set forth guidelines for kidney disease screening. It recommended that all individuals at increased risk for chronic kidney disease regularly have their blood pressure measured and their blood and urine tested for signs of impaired kidney function.
Kidney scoping:  Formally known as retrograde intrarenal surgery (RIRS), this is a procedure for doing surgery within the kidney using a viewing tube called a fiberoptic scope (an endoscope). In RIRS the scope is placed through the urethra (the urinary tube from the bladder to the outside) into the bladder and then through the ureter (the tube from the kidney to the bladder - one on each side) into the urine-collecting part of the kidney (the renal pelvis). The scope thus is moved retrograde (up the urinary tract system) to within the kidney (intrarenal). RIRS may be done to remove a stone. The stone is seen through the scope and can then be manipulated or crushed by an ultrasound probe or evaporated by a laser probe or grabbed by small forceps, etc. RIRS is performed by a specialist, a urologist (endourologist) with special expertise in RIRS. The procedure is usually done under general or spinal anesthesia. The advantages of RIRS over open surgery include a quicker solution of the problem, the elimination of prolonged pain after surgery, and much faster recovery.
Kidney stone:  A stone in the kidney (or lower down in the urinary tract). Kidney stones are a common cause of blood in the urine and pain in the abdomen, flank, or groin. Kidney stones occur in 1 in 20 people at some time in their life. The development of the stones is related to decreased urine volume or increased excretion of stone-forming components such as calcium, oxalate, urate, cystine, xanthine, and phosphate. The stones form in the urine collecting area (the renal pelvis) of the kidney and may range in size from tiny to staghorn stones the size of the renal pelvis itself.
Kidney transplant:  Replacement of a diseased, damaged, or missing kidney with a donor kidney. Also called a renal transplant. Patients with end-stage renal failure are candidates for transplantation. A successful transplant frees the patient from dialysis and provides the kidney's other metabolic functions. The survival rate a year after a transplant from a living related donor is over 95%. The survival rate a year after a transplant from a cadaver is about 90%. The principal problems in kidney transplantation are immunologic, avoiding rejection of the transplanted kidney by the recipient's immune system. The first kidney transplant was done in Boston by surgeon Joseph E. Murray in 1954. This was the first successful human organ transplant other than corneal transplantation.
Kikuchi disease:  A disorder that typically causes "swollen glands" in the neck (cervical lymphadenopathy) together with fever or flu-like symptoms. Laboratory test abnormalities include elevated erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR), and white blood count abnormalities (low neutrophil count and elevated lymphocyte count with atypical lymphocytes in the peripheral blood). Kikuchi disease is fairly common in young people, predominantly young women, in Asia. Also called Kikuchi-Fujimoto disease or histiocytic necrotizing lymphadenitis, this condition was discovered in Japan in 1972 and since then has seen in other areas of the world.
Kilobase:  Unit of length of DNA equal to 1000 nucleotide bases.
Kilocalorie:  The term used to represent the amount of energy required to raise the temperature of a liter of water one degree centigrade at sea level. In nutrition terms, the word calorie is commonly used to refer to a unit of food energy. (The word calorie is used instead of the more precise scientific term kilocalorie.) Technically, however, this common usage of the word calorie of food energy is understood to refer to a kilocalorie (and actually represents, therefore, 1000 true calories of energy).
Kimmelstiel-Wilson disease (diabetic nephropathy):  A kidney condition associated with long-standing diabetes. It affects the network of tiny blood vessels (the microvasculature) in the glomerulus, a key structure in the kidney that is composed of capillary blood vessels and which is critically necessary for the filtration of the blood. Features of Kimmelstiel-Wilson disease include the nephrotic syndrome with excessive filtration of protein into the urine (proteinuria), high blood pressure (hypertension), and progressively impaired kidney function. When severe, Kimmelstiel-Wilson disease leads to kidney failure, end-stage renal disease, and the need for chronic kidney dialysis or a kidney transplant. The disorder is named for Paul Kimmelstein (1900-1970), a German-born pathologist in the U.S., and Clifford Wilson (1906-), an English physician. It is also known as Kimmelstiel-Wilson syndrome or intercapillary glomerulonephritis.
Kinesin:  A family of microtubule motor proteins active in mitosis. The kinesins use chemical energy from the hydrolysis of ATP (adenosine triphosphatase) to generate mechanical force. They bind tightly to and move along the microtubules. The kinesins are not related in sequence to the other known class of microtubule motor proteins, the dyneins.
Kinetic:  With movement. The opposite of kinetic is akinetic. It means without movement. In neurology, kinetic and akinetic denote the presence or absence of movement. Kinetic comes from the Greek word kinesis for motion.
Kinetics:  Kinetics (with an "s" at the end) refers to the rate of change in a biochemical (or other) reaction, the study of reaction rates. Kinetics is a noun. It is distinct from "kinetic" (an adjective) meaning with movement. The opposite of kinetic is akinetic meaning without movement.
King's evil:  An old term for tuberculosis of the lymph nodes in the neck. Also known as scrofula.
Kinky hair syndrome:  A genetic disorder, also known as Menkes syndrome, in which the hair is fragile and twisted ("kinky") and there is progressive deterioration of the brain and arterial changes leading to death in infancy. The condition is an inborn error of metabolism that markedly decreases the ability to absorb copper. It can often be diagnosed by looking at the person's hair, which appears to be both whitish and kinked when viewed under a microscope. The syndrome is inherited as an X-linked recessive disorder.
Kinome:  A subset of the genome consisting of the protein kinase genes. The complete complement of over 500 protein kinases constitutes one of the largest of all human gene families. Protein kinases act as key regulators of cell function by catalyzing (facilitating) the addition of a negatively charged phosphate group to proteins. This process of protein phosphorylation, in turn, regulates protein function in both normal and disease states.
Kinsey Report:  A report entitled "Sexual Behavior in the Human Male" published by Alfred Charles Kinsey's in 1948 that attracted great attention. The Kinsey Report, as it was known, was based on extensive interviews with 18,500 subjects. The Report revealed that many practices considered "sexual perversions" were in common usage. Kinsey (1894-1956), a sociologist, was widely praised and damned for his work. Those who actually read his Report were usually struck by its lack of eroticism and its serious scientific tone.
Kissing bug:  The insect that transmits the parasite Trypanosoma cruzi, which causes Chagas disease (American trypanosomiasis). The bug "kisses" people, especially babies, on the lips while they are asleep, infecting them with the parasite.
Kissing disease:  A name for infectious mononucleosis ("mono"), a very common illness caused by the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV). By the time most people reach adulthood, an antibody against EBV can be detected in their blood meaning they have been infected with EBV. The illness is less severe in young children. The infection can be spread by saliva. The incubation period for "mono" is 4 to 8 weeks. Symptoms include fever, fatigue, sore throat, and swollen lymph glands. "Mono" can cause liver inflammation (hepatitis) and spleen enlargement. Vigorous contact sports should be avoided to prevent rupture of the spleen.
Kleine-Levin syndrome:  A rare condition characterized by excessive need for sleep, food, and sexual disinhibition. Most people with Kleine-Levin syndrome are adolescent males. When awake, they may be confused, irritable, and lethargic, and some have hallucinations. The cause is unknown, although current theory holds that Kleine- Levin syndrome is caused by an inherited autosomal dominant trait that affects the hypothalamus. Most cases resolve over time without treatment.
Klinefelter syndrome:  A chromosome condition in boys and men that is usually due to 47 chromosomes with XXY sex chromosomes. XXY is one of the most common chromosomal abnormalities. It occurs in 1 in 500 male births. Because it is so common, Klinefelter syndrome is considered an SCV (sex chromosome variation). Klinefelter syndrome is the most common genetic cause of male infertility. However, Klinefelter syndrome often remains undiagnosed because of the variation in clinical presentation and insufficient awareness of the syndrome itself. The signs of the syndrome include small testes, insufficient production of testosterone, and infertility. XXY males are more likely than other males to show breast enlargement, lack of facial and body hair, a rounded body type, to be overweight, and be taller than their fathers and brothers.
Klippel-Feil sequence:  Short neck, low hairline at the nape of the neck and limited movement of the head. Klippel-Feil sequence is due to a defect in the early development of the spinal column in the neck, resulting in fusion of the cervical vertebrae. The condition is named for the French neurologists Maurice Klippel and Andre Feil who in 1912 reported "A case of absence of the cervical vertebrae with the thoracic cage going up to the base of the skull."
Klippel-Trenaunay-Weber (KTW) syndrome:  A congenital malformation syndrome characterized by the triad of asymmetric limb hypertrophy, hemangiomata, and nevi. "Asymmetric limb hypertrophy" is enlargement of one limb and not the corresponding limb on the other side, the enlarged limb being 3 times more likely to be a leg than an arm in KTW; and the limb enlargement is of bone as well as soft tissue. The hemangiomas, abnormal nests of blood vessels that proliferate inappropriately and excessively, cover a remarkable range from small innocuous capillary hemangiomas ("strawberry marks") to huge cavernous hemangiomas. The nevi are pigmented moles on the skin; in KTW there are often also dark linear streaks on the skin, streaks due to too much pigment.
Klumpke palsy:  A form of brachial plexus palsy in which there is paralysis of the muscles of the forearm and hand due to an injury to the roots of eigth cervical and first thoracic roots or the lower part of the brachial plexus, a network of spinal nerves that originates in the back of the neck, extends through the axilla (armpit), and gives rise to nerves to the upper limb. The brachial plexus is formed by the union of portions of the fifth through eighth cervical nerves and the first thoracic nerve, all of which come from the spinal cord.
Knee:  The knee is a joint which has three parts. The thigh bone (the femur) meets the large shin bone (the tibia) to form the main knee joint. This joint has an inner (medial) and an outer (lateral) compartment. The kneecap (the patella) joins the femur to form a third joint, called the patellofemoral joint. The patella protects the front of the knee joint.
Knee bursitis:  A bursa is a fluid-filled sac that functions as a gliding surface to reduce friction between moving tissues of the body. There are three major bursae of the knee. Bursitis is usually not infectious, but the bursa can become infected.
Knee jerk:  (aka patellar tendon reflex) The reflex tested by tapping just below the knee causing the lower leg to suddenly jerk forward. What is tapped to elicit this reaction is the patellar tendon, the tendon that runs down from the quadriceps muscle in the front of the thigh, over the kneecap (the patella), down to the lower leg. And what happens is that the quadriceps contracts and abruptly brings the lower leg forward. This reaction is involuntary since it occurs without the person willing it to happen.
Knee replacement, total:  A surgical procedure in which damaged parts of the knee joint are replaced with artifical parts. The surgery is done by separating the muscles and ligaments around the knee to expose the inside of the joint. The ends of the thigh bone (femur) and the shin bone (tibia) are removed as is often the underside of the kneecap (patella). The artificial parts are then cemented into place.
Knock-knees:  An abnormal curve of the legs that causes the knees to touch or nearly touch while the feet are apart. The problem may arise in the bone structure itself, or in some cases it develops gradually as a result of muscle abnormalities. Knock- knees can cause movement difficulties, muscle and bone strain, and pain from overstress on the ankles. Also called genu valgum.
Knockout mouse:  A mouse missing a single gene (that has been knocked out). Knockout mice are used in biomedical research.
Knuckle:  The dorsal aspect of the flexed metacarpophalangeal joint. Knuckle may be shorter and simpler to say.
Koch's postulates:  In 1890 the German physician and bacteriologist Robert Koch set out his celebrated criteria for judging whether a given bacteria is the cause of a given disease. Koch's criteria brought some much-needed scientific clarity to what was then a very confused field. Koch's postulates are as follows: (1) The bacteria must be present in every case of the disease. (2) The bacteria must be isolated from the host with the disease and grown in pure culture. (3) The specific disease must be reproduced when a pure culture of the bacteria is inoculated into a healthy susceptible host. (4) The bacteria must be recoverable from the experimentally infected host. However, Koch's postulates have their limitations and so may not always be the last word. They may not hold if: (1) The particular bacteria (e.g. leprosy) cannot be "grown in pure culture" in the laboratory. (2) There is no animal model of infection with that particular bacteria. A harmless bacteria may cause disease if: (1) It has acquired extra virulence factors making it pathogenic. (2) It gains access to deep tissues via trauma, surgery, an IV line, etc. (3) It infects an immunocompromised patient. (4) Not all people infected by a bacteria may develop disease-subclinical infection is usually more common than clinically obvious infection. Despite such limitations, Koch's postulates are still a useful benchmark in judging whether there is a cause-and-effect relationship between a bacteria (or any other type of microorganism) and a clinical disease.
Kok disease:  A genetic disorder also known as hyperexplexia in which babies have an exaggerated startle reflex (reaction). This disorder was not recognized until 1962 when it was described by Drs. Kok and Bruyn as a disease with the onset at birth of hypertonia (stiffness), exaggerated startle response, strong brain-stem reflexes (especially head-retraction reflex) and, in some cases, epilepsy.
Koplik's spots:  Little spots inside the mouth that are highly characteristic of the early phase of measles (rubeola). The spots look like a tiny grains of white sand, each surrounded by a red ring. They are found especially on the inside of the cheek (the buccal mucosa) opposite the 1st and 2nd upper molars. Named for the New York pediatrician Henry Koplik (1858-1927) who described them.
Kostmann disease:  Children born with this condition lack neutrophils (agranulocytosis) (a type of white blood cell that is important in fighting infection). These children suffer frequent infections from bacteria which in the past led to death in three-quarters of cases before 3 years of age. This disease is also known as severe congenital neutropenia (SCN). Children with SCN have no special problems with viral or fungal infections. They do, however, have an increased risk of developing acute myelogenous leukemia or myelodysplasia, a bone marrow disorder. Aside from agranulocytosis, the bone marrow and blood show a number of other abnormalities (including maturational arrest of neutrophil precursors at the promyelocyte stage, absolute monocytosis, eosinophilia and thrombocytosis). The gamma globulin level in blood is low. The inheritance of the disease is autosomal recessive.
Krabbe disease:   A progressive degenerative disorder of the nervous system due to mutation in the galactosylceramidase (GALC) gene, leading to the accumulation of galactocerebroside and destruction of myelin, a fatty material that surrounds and insulates nerves. (Galactocerebroside is a component of myelin.)
Krukenberg tumor:  A tumor of the ovary caused by the spread of stomach cancer. When the stomach cancer spreads to an ovary, the tumor in the ovary is called a Krukenberg tumor.
Kuru:  A slowly progressive fatal disease of the brain due to an infectious agent transmitted among people in Papua New Guinea by ritual cannibalism. Kuru is an infectious form of subacute spongiform encephalopathy. It was once thought to be due to a slow virus but is now believed to be caused by a tiny protein particle called a prion. It appears to be similar to bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE or "mad cow disease") and Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. The disease causes a gait disturbance (cerebellar ataxia), incoordination, trembling and shivering. In time, difficulty in swallowing and feeding oneself leads to malnutrition. Death supervenes within several years of the onset of the disease. Kuru is also called trembling disease (kuru means trembling)
Kussmaul breathing:  deep and labored breathing pattern often associated with severe metabolic acidosis, particularly diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) but also renal failure. It is a form of hyperventilation, breathing which is increased above the required rate. It is seen on a transitory basis immediately after extreme athletic exertion (which induces acidosis by the rapid production of carbon dioxide). The term comes from the 19th century German doctor who described it, Dr. Adolph Kussmaul. It is an effort to rid the body of acid.
Kveim test:  A skin test for detecting sarcoidosis, a disease of unknown origin that causes inflammation of body tissues, especially the lungs and skin. The Kveim test involves injecting a preparation derived from sarcoid tissue into the skin. A lump developing at the point of injection is a positive result. The test is named for Morten A. Kveim, a 20th-century Norwegian physician.
Kwashiorkor:  The word kwashiorkor comes from the Ivory Coast. It means the deposed (no longer suckled) child. Kwashiorkor is a childhood disease due to protein deprivation. Early signs are vague: apathy, lethargy and irritability. More advanced signs are poor growth, lack of stamina, loss of muscle mass, swelling, abnormal hair (sparse, thin, often streaky red or gray in dark-skinned children) and abnormal skin. Kwashiorkor disables the immune system so the child is susceptible to many infectious diseases. Kwashiorkor is responsible for much morbidity and mortality among children worldwide. Also known as protein malnutrition and protein-calorie malnutrition (PCM).
Kyphoplasty:  A procedure similar to vertebroplasty, but with the intent of expanding the collapsed vertebral body. A surgical instrument is introduced into the vertebral body with a balloon that is inflated to expand the bone. Once this instrument is withdrawn, the space created is then filled with a bone cement mixture. By creating space in this way, kyphoplasty procedures may correct deformity and restore body height. The use of kyphoplasty to treat osteoporotic compression fractures in patients where conservative treatment has failed is relatively recent.
Kyphoscoliosis:  Combination of kyphosis (hunch-back) and scoliosis (lateral curving of the spine).
Kyphosis:  Outward curvature of the spine, causing a humped back. Treatment is by physical therapy and wearing a back brace, and in some cases by surgery.



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