Malignant Fever – see typhus.
Malignant sore throat – see Diphtheria.
Mania – Insanity.
Marasmus – Malnutrition occurring in infants and young children, caused by an insufficient intake of calories or protein and characterized by thinness, dry skin, poor muscle development, and irritability. In the mid-nineteenth century, specific causes were associated with specific ages: In infants under twelve months old, the causes were believed to be unsuitable food, chronic vomiting, chronic diarrhea, and inherited syphilis. Between one and three years, marasmus was associated with rickets or cancer. After the age of three years, caseous (cheeselike) enlargement of the mesenteric glands (located in the peritoneal fold attaching the small intestine to the body wall) became a given cause of wasting. (See tabes mesenterica.) After the sixth year, chronic pulmonary tuberculosis appeared to be the major cause. Marasmus is now considered to be related to kwashiorkor, a severe protein deficiency.
Melancholia – a mental condition now generally understood to be depression.
Membranous Croup – Diphtheria.
Meningitis – Inflammation of the meninges (the three membranes covering the brain and spinal cord), especially of the pia mater and arachnoid, caused by a bacterial or viral infection and characterized high fever, severe headache, and stiff neck or back muscles. Synonym: brain fever.
Metritis – Inflammation of uterus or purulent vaginal discharge.
Miasma – Poisonous vapors thought to infect the air.
Milk fever – Disease from drinking contaminated milk; fever which effects lactating women (mastitis?).
Milk leg – Post partum thrombophlebitis.
Milk sickness – Disease from the milk of cattle which had eaten poisonous weeds.
Morbus – Latin word for disease. In the last century, when applied to a particular disease, morbus was associated with some qualifying adjective or noun, indicating the nature or seat of such disease. Examples: morbus cordis, heart disease; morbus caducus, epilepsy or failing sickness.
Mormal – Gangrene.
Morphew Scurvy – Blisters on the body.
Mortification – Gangrene of necrotic tissue.
Myelitis – Inflammation of the spine.
Myocarditis – Inflammation of heart muscles.
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The 1850 U.S. Census included the names of everyone in the household for the first time.
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