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originally a foretelling of the course of an illness. Subsequently it came to be used in general for any specific forecast or judgment about the state of some phenomenon in the future, such as a weather forecast or prediction of the outcome of an election. Today the word is usually used to signify a probabilistic judgment about the future based on special scientific research.
of a disease, a medical judgment of the presumed subsequent course and outcome of a disease.
Prognosis is concerned with survival (that is, whether the patient will live), the rate and degree of restoration of health and ability to work, and the character of complications. It is based on knowledge of the etiology and pathogenesis, statistical data, and analysis of individual characteristics of the course of the disease in the particular patient. Many principles for arriving at a prognosis were set forth by Hippocrates. In Russian medicine they were further developed by G. A. Zakhar’in, among others. In some cases the prognosis is quite definite—for example, the prognosis of the severity of radiation sickness according to the leukocyte content in the blood. In other cases it is indefinite, such as in schizophrenia. The prognosis of diseases is changing with the appearance of new methods of treatment and drugs—for example, the prognosis for tubercular meningitis, or what is called pernicious anemia, has become more favorable.