An autopsy is the examination of the body of a dead person and is performed primarily to determine the cause of death, to identify or characterize the extent of disease states that the person may have had, or to determine whether a particular medical or surgical treatment has been effective. A physician cannot order an autopsy on a patient without the consent of the next-of-kin. A medical examiner can order an autopsy without the consent of the next-of-kin. Read more: Autopsy Article
Multimedia: Slideshows, Images & Quizzes
Picture of Brain
The brain is one of the largest and most complex organs in the human body. See a picture of the Brain and learn more about the...
Picture of Brain Layers
That part of the central nervous system that is located within the cranium (skull). See a picture of Brain Layers and learn more...
Related Disease Conditions
A bruise, or contusion, is caused when blood vessels are damaged or broken as the result of a blow to the skin. The raised area of a bump or bruise results from blood leaking from these injured blood vessels into the tissues as well as from the body's response to the injury. Treatments include applying an ice pack and pressure to the area by hand.
Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (CJD) is a rare, degenerative, invariably fatal brain disorder. CJD generally appears in the later years and runs a rapid course. Symptoms of CJD include failing memory, lack of coordination, visual disturbances, failing memory, blindness, weakness, and eventually coma. There are three major categories of CJD; 1) sporadic CJD, 2) hereditary CJD, and 3) acquired CJD. There is no cure for Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease.
Addison disease is a hormonal (endocrine) disorder involving destruction of the adrenal glands (small glands adjacent to the kidneys). Diseased glands can no longer produce sufficient adrenal hormones (specifically cortisol) necessary for normal daily body functions. Symptoms include weight loss, muscle weakness, fatigue, low blood pressure, and sometimes darkening of the skin. Treatment of Addison disease involves replacing, or substituting, the hormones that the adrenal glands are not making.
Prolactinoma (Pituitary Tumor)
Prolactinoma is an adenoma (benign tumor) of the pituitary gland. Causes of many prolactinomas are unknown. Symptoms in women include: changes in menstruation and infertility, decreased libido, or painful intercourse due to vaginal dryness. The most common symptom in men is impotence (erectile dysfunction). Treatments for prolactinomas include medication and surgery.
Disease Prevention for Teens
Teenagers recognize that they are developmentally between child and adult. Teen health prevention includes maintaining a healthy diet, exercising regularly, preventing injuries and screening annually for potential health conditions that could adversely affect teenage health.
Trichinosis Worm Infection
Trichinosis is a food-borne disease caused by ingesting parasites (roundworms) in undercooked pork or wild-game meat. Symptoms of trichinosis include diarrhea, nausea, muscle aches, itching, fever, chills, and joint pains.Trichinosis usually resolves without treatment, but more severe cases are treated with thiabendazole (Mintezol), albendazole (Abenza), or mebendazole (Vermox).
Brain aneurysm (cerebral aneurysm) is caused by microscopic damage to artery walls, infections of the artery walls, tumors, trauma, drug abuse. Symptoms include headache, numbness of the face, dilated pupils, changes in vision, the "worst headache of your life," or a painful stiff neck. Immediate treatment for a brain aneurysm is crucial for patient survival.
Dementia is defined as a significant loss of intellectual abilities such as memory capacity, severe enough to interfere with social or occupational functioning. There are several different types of dementia, including cortical, subcortical, progressive, primary, and secondary dementias. Other conditions and medication reactions can also cause dementia. Dementia is diagnosed based on a certain set of criteria. Treatment for dementia is generally focused on the symptoms of the disease.
Heart Attack Pathology: Photo Essay
A heart attack is a layperson's term for a sudden blockage of a coronary artery. This photo essay includes graphics, pictures, and illustrations of diseased heart tissue and the mechanisms that lead to coronary artery disease, and possible heart attack. A coronary artery occlusion may be fatal, but most patients survive it. Death can occur when the occlusion leads to an abnormal heartbeat (severe arrhythmia) or death of heart muscle (extensive myocardial infarction).
Smoker's Lung: Pathology Photo Essay
Smoker's lung photo essay is a collection of pictures and microscopic slides of lung disease caused by cigarette smoking. Smoker's lung refers to the diseases and structural abnormalities in the lung caused by cigarette smoking.
Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS)
The cause of sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) is unknown. The risk of SIDS peaks in infants 2-4 months of age. SIDS is more common among male infants, particularly African American and Native American infants, during the winter months. Putting the baby to sleep on his/her back, avoiding fluffy, loose bedding, using a firm mattress, and avoiding co-sleeping may help to prevent SIDS.
Suicide is the process of intentionally ending one's own life. Approximately 1 million people worldwide commit suicide each year, and 10 million to 20 million attempt suicide annually.
Variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease (vCJD)
Variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD) is a degenerative, fatal brain disorder in humans. Symptoms are initially psychiatric or sensory and include neurological abnormalities such as ataxia, dementia, and myoclonus. There is no known treatment for vCJD.
Carcinoid Syndrome (Carcinoid Tumor)
A carcinoid tumor is a tumor that develops from enterochromaffin cells. The important characteristic of carcinoid tumors that sets them apart from other gastrointestinal tract tumors, is their potential to cause the carcinoid syndrome. Local symptoms may include: Abdominal pain Intestinal bleeding Flushing Gastrointestinal bleeding Diarrhea However, often symptoms of the carcinoid syndrome can be more devastating than the local symptoms. There are many options for the treatment of carcinoid tumors and carcinoid syndrome.
Arteriovenous malformation (AVM) is a congenital disorder of blood vessels in the brain, brainstem, or spinal cord that is characterized by a complex, tangled web of abnormal arteries and veins connected by one or more fistulas (abnormal communications). Symptoms of arteriovenous malformations include seizures and headaches. Treatment of arteriovenous malformations include medication or surgery.
Lewy Body Dementia (Dementia with Lewy Bodies)
Lewy body dementia (LBD or dementia with Lewy bodies) is one the most common causes of dementia. There are two types of LBD: 1) dementia with Lewy bodies, and 2) Parkinson's disease dementia. Symptoms of LBD are changes in a person's ability to think, movement problems, and sleep disorders. Treatment of LBD includes lifestyle changes, management of symptoms, palliative care, and medications to manage symptoms.
Treatment & Diagnosis
Prevention & Wellness
- Cocaine, Other Drugs Detected in Carrie Fisher's System After Her Death
- NHL Veterans Pledge Their Brains to Research
- Repeat Head Hits May Not Put NFL Players at Risk of Motor Problems
- 30 Former NFL Players Pledge Their Brains for Research
- Researchers Explore Way to Detect Brain Injury in NFL Players
- Brain Scans May Improve Dementia Diagnosis, Treatment
- More Years Playing Football, Greater Risk of Brain Disease: Study
- Researchers Find Another Way Zika Can Harm Babies
- 2 in 10 Alzheimer's Cases May Be Misdiagnosed
- Prince Died From Potent Prescription Painkiller: Autopsy
- Alzheimer's Risk: Do You Want to Know?
- College Football Player's Autopsy May Offer Clues to Brain Trauma
- New Rules for Mammograms, Tanning Beds Top Health News of 2015
- U.S. Boy's Death Highlights Rare Mosquito-Borne Infection
- Reports of U.S. Cases of Flesh-Eating Drug Questioned
- Bacterial 'Autopsy' Could Speed Antibiotic Discovery: Study
- Quarterback's Death, NFL Study Split Over Brain Disorder
- Details Emerge on Rabies Transplant Death
- PET Scans Helpful, But Not Definitive for Alzheimer's Diagnosis
- Multiple Concussions Could Up Depression Risk in Former NFL Players
- Meningitis Outbreak Toll Now 23 Dead, 297 Sickened: CDC
- Meningitis Outbreak Toll Now 23 Dead, 284 Sickened: CDC
- U.S. Expands SIDS Prevention Effort
- Some Blood Pressure Drugs Might Help Slow Alzheimer's: Study
- Can Too Much Exercise Be Harmful?
- Fish, Flaxseed May Lower Alzheimer's Risk
- Tasers Can Trigger Fatal Heart Trouble: Study
- When Does Boxing-Related Head Trauma Become Too Much?
- Drug May Help Diagnose Alzheimer's Earlier
- Worrying Too Much Might Raise Your Risk for Stroke
- AHA: Sex Safe for Most Heart Patients
- Did Beethoven's Hearing Loss Shape His Compositions?
- Some Causes of Stillbirth May Be Avoidable: Studies
- MS May Take a Different Pathway Than Previously Thought
- New Guidelines on Frequent Cause of Sudden Death in Athletes
- Brain-Eating Amoeba FAQ
- Dementia Risk for Retired Football Players?
- Diabetes May Be Linked to Hearing Loss
- Beta-Amyloid May Identify Alzheimer's Disease
- Surfing Great Andy Irons -- Dengue Death?