Glossary of medical terms
|Alphafetoprotein/AFP A protein present in the blood of the human foetus or unborn child. Traces of this protein in the mother's blood may indicate a spinal defect (see Sutton, 1990:198).|
|Amniocentesis This is a well-established and widely available method for prenatal diagnosis (see Kingston, 1989:1370). The test, which is usually carried out around the sixteenth week of pregnancy, involves extracting a small sample of the amniotic fluid via the abdomen using a fine spinal needle. Ultrasound is used to locate the amniotic fluid and placenta in order that the procedure can be carried out with precision. Once enough fluid has been collected, it is sent to the laboratory to be analysed. The fluid obtained may be analysed in three ways: the measurement of proteins, analysis of the chromosomal constitution of the cultured cells and biochemical analysis (see Crawfurd, 1988:504). For example, once the foetal cells have been cultured, the chromosomal make-up of the foetus can be examined, and chromosomal abnormalities, such as Down's Syndrome, can be diagnosed. The sex of the foetus can also be confirmed in this way. Neural tube defects are diagnosed by measuring the concentration of alphafetoprotein which is raised in the presence of neural tube defects. The results of the analyses take from seven days up to four weeks (see Sutton, 1990:20).|
|Amniotic fluid The fluid surrounding the foetus within the amniotic sac (see Sutton, 1990:198).|
|Chromosomes Chain-like microscopic bodies in the nucleus or centre of cells which contain the genes or biological bases of heredity. The normal number of chromosomes in humans is 46. They come in pairs: 23 of paternal origin and 23 of maternal origin (see Sutton, 1990:200). |
Questia, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning. www.questia.com
Book title: Feminism after Postmodernism: Theorising through Practice.
Contributors: Marysia Zalewski - Author.
Place of publication: New York.
Publication year: 2000.
Page number: 143.
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