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Medical Glossary - G

  • ganglion
    This is the commonest cystic swelling at the back of the wrist and can be seen in adults of any age. On examination the swelling may be soft and cystic but it can also be quite tense and easily mistaken for a bony prominence. It is harmless and in the absence of pain or complications, due to pressure on to an under- lying nerve, it is probably best left untreated.

  • gate control theory of pain
    This provides the physiological basis for an explanation of the observed pain phenomena and the effective and cognitive aspects of pain. The transmission of afferent nerve impulses is considered to be modulated at spinal dorsal horn level by a gating mechanism. Several interacting neural systems, including those from higher centres ('beyond the gate') have an excitatory or inhibitory function at the gate. When neural transmission reaches a critical level, and the gate is opened, a complex pattern of responses results in the experience and manifestations of pain.

  • gowers, sir william
    Sir William Gowers, Consultant Neurologist, University College London, 1845-1915 wrote on writer's cramp and similar occupational conditions. His views on the psychological and physical aspect of what would now be called work related upper limb disorders were very advanced for his time.

  • guillain-barre syndrome
    This is a polyneuropathy usually described as an acute infective polyneuritis. It is caused by inflammation of the spinal nerves soon after their formation at the junction of the nerve roots. All four limbs may be involved simultaneously. Sensory loss may involve the limbs or may spread to the trunk. If death from respiratory paralysis is prevented the outlook is good.