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NIH MedlinePlus the Magazine, Trusted Health Information from the National Institutes of Health

Understanding Medical Words

The alternative text for the background image is a mother and daughter sitting on a couch looking at the computer

A free, online tutorial from
the National Library of Medicine
that teaches you about many
of the words related
to your health care

Computer Screen with the Medical Words tutorial

Do you have trouble understanding some of the words that your doctor or other health-care provider uses? Now you can learn about them with a free, colorful, and easy-to-use set of lessons on the Internet. There are quizzes to help you mark your progress, with topics like these:

  • Word Roots: The "root" of a medical word is often a body part, like "derm" (skin) in dermatitis.
  • Beginnings and Endings: hyper- (above normal); hypo- (below normal)
  • Abbreviations: MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging), a test that uses images of your body
  • Medical Dictionary: A direct link to the medical dictionary

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Summer 2009 Issue: Volume 4 Number 3 Page Backcover