1. A drug. 2. The art of preventing or curing disease; the science concerned with disease in all its relations. 3. The study and treatment of general diseases or those affecting the internal parts of the body, especially those not usually requiring surgical intervention. [L. medicina, fr. medicus, physician (see medicus)]
- adolescent m. the branch of m. concerned with the treatment of youth in the approximate age range of 13 to 21 years. SYN: hebiatrics.
- aerospace m. a branch of m. combining the areas of concern of both aviation and space m..
- alternative m. a term referring to a heterogeneous group of hygienic, diagnostic, and therapeutic philosophies and practices whose theoretical bases and techniques diverge from those of modern scientific m.. Some of these differ from traditional m. only in preferring natural hygienic and therapeutic methods to drug treatment and surgery; some are supernatural, magical, or cultist, with roots in ancient or modern philosophical or religious systems; some are based on naive, false, or inconsistent notions of anatomy, physiology, psychology, pathology, and pharmacology; and some are fraudulent schemes designed to exploit unsophisticated health care consumers and those whose perceived health needs have not been met by scientific m.. Alternative health practices have been imported into some parts of the U.S. by migrant populations, particularly Asians and Hispanics. Many branches of alternative m. have in common a holistic view of human health, emphasizing integration of body, mind, and spirit. All have failed to gain acceptance as part of mainstream m. because they lack both a plausible scientific basis and evidence of efficacy. SYN: complementary m., holistic m. (2).Americans make more visits annually to alternative m. (AM) practitioners than to primary care physicians, and the total cost of AM in this country exceeds $21 billion a year. Three-fifths of adults queried have made use of AM within the past year, but only 5% rely on it exclusively. AM appeals particularly to people of advanced education, those who believe strongly in the role of the mind in health and disease, and those with an interest in esoteric forms of spirituality and personal growth psychology. Users of AM tend to be in poorer general health than others and to have certain chronic conditions (including anxiety, depression, headache, and backache), but dissatisfaction with conventional m. appears to be less important in their choice than a preference for a healing system that is congruent with their personal beliefs and values. Practitioners of some forms of AM are overtly hostile to traditional m. and habitually impugn the competence and integrity of legitimate health practitioners. On the other hand, alternative methods such as acupuncture and hypnosis are employed by some physicians, particularly those espousing a holistic view of medical practice. Some insurance plans provide coverage for certain alternative therapies, such as acupuncture, biofeedback, and massage therapy. Although the use of AM may benefit some people by providing hope and needed emotional support, exerting placebo effects, or relieving symptoms through mechanisms not yet understood, it prevents many from receiving appropriate diagnosis and treatment. Moreover, alternative therapies can interact adversely with more orthodox forms of treatment, and some are inherently dangerous to health. In 1992, the U.S. Congress established the Office of Alternative M. (OAM) within the Office of the Director, National Institutes of Health to facilitate the full scientific evaluation of alternative therapies, to establish a clearinghouse for the exchange of information, and to support research training in topics related to AM that are not typically included in the training curriculum of mainstream health professionals. In 1998 OAM was renamed the National Center for Complementary and Alternative M. (NCCAM) and accorded a $50 million annual budget. Philosophies or methods of alternative diagnosis or treatment that are popular in the U.S. include acupressure, acupuncture, aromatherapy, biofeedback, chelation therapy, chiropractic, Christian Science, herbal m., homeopathy, hydrotherapy, hypnotherapy, iridology, macrobiotics, massage therapy, meditation, megavitamin therapy, moxibustion, naturopathy, osteopathy, relaxation techniques, rolfing, shiatsu, tai chi, and yoga.
- aviation m. the study and practice of m. as it applies to physiologic problems peculiar to aviation. SYN: aeromedicine.
- behavioral m. an interdisciplinary field concerned with the development and integration of behavioral and biomedical science knowledge and techniques relevant to health and illness, and to its application to prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation.
- clinical m. the study and practice of m. in relation to the care of patients; the art of m. as distinguished from laboratory science.
- community m. the study of health and disease in a defined community; the practice of m. in such a setting.
- comparative m. a field of study concentrating on similarities and differences between veterinary m. and human m..
- complementary m. SYN: alternative m..
- defensive m. diagnostic or therapeutic measures conducted primarily as a safeguard against possible subsequent malpractice liability.
- desmoteric m. the branch of medical practice that deals with health problems occurring among prison inmates. [G. desmoterion, prison, fr. deo, to bind, + -ic]
- electrodiagnostic m. the specific area of medical practice in which specially trained physicians use information from the clinical history and physical examination, along with the scientific method of recording and analyzing biologic electrical potentials, to diagnose and treat neuromuscular disorders.
- evidence-based m. the process of applying relevant information derived from peer-reviewed medical literature to address a specific clinical problem; the application of simple rules of science and common sense to determine the validity of the information; and the application of the information to the clinical problem. SEE ALSO: Cochrane collaboration, clinical practice guidelines, under guideline.
- experimental m. the scientific investigation of medical problems by experimentation upon animals or by clinical research.
- family m. the medical specialty concerned with providing continuous, comprehensive care to all age groups, from first patient contact to terminal care, with special emphasis on care of the family as a unit.
- folk m. treatment of ailments outside of organized m. by remedies and simple measures based upon experience and knowledge handed on from generation to generation.
- forensic m. 1. the relation and application of medical facts to legal matters; 2. the law in its bearing on the practice of m.. SYN: legal m., medical jurisprudence.
- geriatric m. a specialty of m. that is concerned with the disease and health problems of older people, usually those over 65 years of age. Considered a subspecialty of internal m..
- holistic m. 1. an approach to medical care that emphasizes the study of all aspects of a person's health, especially that a person should be considered as a unit, including psychological as well as social and economic influences on health status. 2. SYN: alternative m..
- hyperbaric m. the medicinal use of high barometric pressure, usually in specially constructed chambers, to increase oxygen content of blood and tissues.
- internal m. (IM) the branch of m. concerned with nonsurgical diseases in adults, but not including diseases limited to the skin or to the nervous system.
- legal m. SYN: forensic m..
- maternal-fetal m. a subspecialty of obstetrics/gynecology devoted to the study of the obstetrical, medical, and surgical complications of pregnancy. SYN: fetology.
- military m. the practice of m. as applied to the special circumstances associated with military life.
- nuclear m. the clinical discipline concerned with the diagnostic and therapeutic uses of radionuclides, including sealed radiation sources.
- osteopathic m. SYN: osteopathy (2).
- patent m. a m., usually originally patented, advertised to the public.
- physical m. the study and treatment of disease mainly by mechanical and other physical methods. SYN: physiatry.
- podiatric m. SYN: podiatry.
- preventive m. the branch of medical science concerned with the prevention of disease and with promotion of physical and mental health, through study of the etiology and epidemiology of disease processes.
- proprietary m. a medicinal compound the formula and mode of manufacture of which are the property of the maker.
- psychosomatic m. the study and treatment of diseases, disorders, or abnormal states in which psychological processes resulting in physiological reactions are believed to play a prominent role.
- quack m. a compound advertised falsely as curative of a certain disease or diseases. Cf.:nostrum.
- social m. a specialized field of medical knowledge concentrating on the social, cultural and economic impact of medical phenomena.
- socialized m. the organization and control of medical practice by a government agency, the practitioners being employed by the organization from which they receive standardized compensation for their services, and to which the public contributes usually in the form of taxation rather than fee-for-service.
- space m. the field of m. concerned with physiologic diseases or disturbances resulting from the unique conditions of space travel.
- sports m. a field of m. that uses a holistic, comprehensive, and multidisciplinary approach to health care for those engaged in a sporting or recreational activity.
- tropical m. the branch of m. concerned with diseases, mainly of parasitic origin, in areas having a tropical climate.
- veterinary m. the field concerned with the diseases and health of all animal species other than humans.

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med·i·cine 'med-ə-sən, Brit usu 'med-sən n
1) a substance or preparation used in treating disease
2 a) the science and art dealing with the maintenance of health and the prevention, alleviation, or cure of disease
b) the branch of medicine concerned with the nonsurgical treatment of disease

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1. the science or practice of the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of disease.
2. the science or practice of nonsurgical methods of treating disease.
3. any drug or preparation used for the treatment or prevention of disease, particularly a drug that is taken by mouth.

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med·i·cine (medґĭ-sin) [L. medicina] 1. any drug or remedy. 2. the art and science of the diagnosis and treatment of disease and the maintenance of health. 3. the treatment of disease by nonsurgical means.

Medical dictionary. 2011.

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