potential

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potential

 [po-ten´shal]
existing and ready for action, but not active.
electric tension or pressure.
action potential see action potential.
after-potential the period following termination of the spike potential.
auditory evoked potential in electroencephalography, changes in waves in response to sound; see also brainstem auditory evoked potential.
brainstem auditory evoked potential that portion of the auditory evoked potential that comes from the brainstem; abnormalities can be analyzed to evaluate comas, to support diagnosis of multiple sclerosis, and to detect early posterior fossa tumors.
cognitive event--related p's a diagnostic study that uses electroencephalographic equipment and a computer dedicated to analyze brain wave P300; this wave is a measure of the brain's active cognitive processing of information. The patient is instructed to complete a task that requires attention and information processing. A recording of brain wave activity as well as information related to cognitive function is produced.
diastolic potential the transmembrane potential of the cell during electrical diastole.
maximal diastolic potential the most negative level attained during the cardiac cycle by the cell membrane of a fiber that does not have a constant resting potential, occurring at the end of phase 3 of the action potential. In pacemaker cells this is a point of hyperpolarization.
membrane potential the electric potential that exists on the two sides of a membrane or across the wall of a cell.
resting potential (resting membrane potential) the difference in potential across the membrane of a cell when it is at rest, i.e., fully repolarized. In cardiac physiology this occurs during electrical diastole in pacemaker cells and continuously in nonpacemaker cells.
spike potential the initial, very large change in potential of the membrane of an excitable cell during excitation.
threshold potential the transmembrane potential that must be achieved before a membrane channel can open; it differs among the various cardiac membrane channels.
potential (omaha) in the omaha system, a problem modifier on the third level of the problem classification scheme, defined as the presence of health patterns, behaviors, or risk factors that may preclude optimal health even though specific signs and symptoms are absent.

po·ten·tial

(pō-tent'shăl), Avoid the redundant use of this adjective with a noun whose sense includes the notion of possibility, as potential danger and potential hazard.
1. Capable of doing or being, although not yet in course of doing or being; possible, but not actual.
2. A state of tension in an electric source enabling it to do work under suitable conditions; in relation to electricity, potential is analogous to the temperature in relation to heat.
[L. potentia, power, potency]

potential

Vox populi
1. The difference in electric charge between 2 points in a circuit, expressed in volts or mV. See Action potential, Evoked potential, Inhibitory post-synaptic potential, Late potential, Membrane potential, Spike potential, Ventricular late potential, Zeta potential.
2. The inherent capacity to occur. See Biological hazard potential, Biopotential, Biotic potential, Chemical potential, Health potential, Maximum life-span potential.

po·ten·tial

(pŏ-ten'shăl)
1. Capable of doing or being, although not yet doing or being; possible, but not actual.
2. A state of tension in an electric source enabling it to do work under suitable conditions; in relation to electricity, potential is analogous to the temperature in relation to heat.
[L. potentia, power, potency]

potential 

The amount of energy required to transfer a unit of positive charge from one point in an electrical field to another (potential difference). It is typically measured in volts.
action potential The electric current generated in an axon of a nerve cell in response to a stimulus. The stimulus must be above a certain threshold value to have an effect. The sodium pump (or sodium/potassium pump) which transports most sodium ions outside the cell and potassium ions inside the cell ceases to function and the sodium ions rush in making the interior of the axon a positive voltage with respect to the outside. The voltage changes from about −70 mV to +40 mV and then falls rapidly back to the resting membrane potential as the sodium pump regains its effect. The whole process takes less than one millisecond and its amplitude is always the same (all or none law) for a given axon, whatever the magnitude of the stimulus. The action potential is followed by an inexcitable period called the refractory period, which usually lasts one or two milliseconds. The action potential travels as a wave in both directions from the point of stimulation and the speed is faster in myelinated than in unmyelinated nerve fibres. Syn. nerve impulse. See adaptation; Schwann cell; neuron; receptor potential; resting membrane potential; synapse.
dark potential of the eye See resting potential of the eye.
early receptor potential (ERP) This is an early rapid response that can be detected when the retina is stimulated with an intense flash of light, approximately 106 times brighter than that required to elicit the ERG. It is completed within 1.5 ms and is followed by the a-wave of the ERG. It is primarily, in man, a cone-generated potential. See electroretinogram.
graded potential A depolarization or a hyperpolarization (e.g. in the photoreceptors) generated by a neuron in response to a stimulus. The amplitude of the response varies with the intensity of the stimulus. If the neuron becomes depolarized to threshold an action potential is triggered in its axon.
membrane potential See resting membrane potential.
oscillatory p's . (OP) Subwaves of low amplitude but high frequency (70-140 Hz) superimposed on the b-wave of the electroretinogram. The amplitude of these oscillatory responses is usually enhanced by a filtering technique. These potentials are presumed to originate from the vicinity of the inner plexiform layer of the retina (probably the amacrine cells) and may reflect disturbances of that part of the retina.
receptor potential Difference in potential occurring in a receptor in response to a stimulus. This is a graded type of response with an amplitude proportional to the intensity of the stimulus (graded potential). The photoreceptors and the bipolar cells produce a receptor potential but, surprisingly, it is a hyperpolarization, i.e. the inside of the membrane becomes more negative with respect to the outside. The ganglion cells respond with action potentials. See action potential; rhodopsin.
resting membrane potential Difference in direct current potential between the inside and outside of a living cell. The inside of the cell is usually about −70 mV compared to the outside, but this value depends on the quantity of potassium (mainly), sodium and chloride ions on both sides of the membrane, and the permeability to these ions of the membrane itself. Syn. membrane potential; transmembrane potential. See depolarization; hyperpolarization; action potential; tonus.
resting potential of the eye A direct current potential which exists between the anterior and posterior poles of the eye, the cornea being positive relative to the back of the eye. It is of the order of several mV in humans. This potential is used in recording the electrooculogram. Syn. dark potential of the eye; standing potential of the eye. See electrooculogram.
standing potential of the eye See resting potential of the eye.
standing potential See electrooculogram.
transmembrane potential See resting membrane potential.
visual evoked cortical potential (VECP) An electrical potential measured at the level of the occipital cortex in response to a light stimulation. Recording requires repetition of the stimulus and a computer synchronized with the onset of that stimulus, to average out the background noise produced by the spontaneous brain potentials (e.g. alpha, beta, delta, theta waves). This potential has clinical application and is used to objectively measure refraction, visual acuity, amblyopia, binocular anomalies and help in the diagnosis of some demyelinating diseases (e.g. multiple sclerosis), etc. Many abbreviations are also used, although they are not strictly correct. They are EP (evoked potential), VEP (visually evoked potential), VER (visual evoked response), and pVER (indicating that this potential is pattern-elicited). See objective accommodation; artifact; electrodiagnostic procedures.

po·ten·tial

(pŏ-ten'shăl)
Capable of doing or being, although not yet in course of doing or being; possible, but not actual.
[L. potentia, power, potency]
References in periodicals archive ?
I think that Popper's account on propensities arrives at a similar solution which allows an understanding of how indetermination fits in a real world of potentialities:
This distinction of active and passive powers he generally delineated in terms of poietikon (capable of acting) and pathetikon (capable of undergoing action), treating as relatives potential agents and potential patients, "and generally, what can be moved and what can set in motion (kai holos kinetikon te kai kinetori)." (21) In On the Soul, this active/passive distinction of potentialities is presented in more specific dress.
Each time we collapse our spirit/wave function of potentiality into act, we die to all the potentialities that we do not enact.
Through this act of "(w)righting history," Elam argues, one can change the power and potentialities of the present.
Its only aim is to impart the sensation of living--to energize the spectator into keener awareness of the vigor, of the mystery, the humor, the variety, and the wonder of life--to send the spectator away with a fuller sense of his own potentialities and the power of realizing them, whatever the medium of his activity."--Martha Graham, 1935 [Quote from Goddess: Martha Graham's Dancers Remember by Robert Tracy, Limelight Editions, New York, 1996]
I will argue that the archive's artefacts and explanatory texts produce historical paradoxes in such a way that these are capable of documenting the historical potentialities of events.
This volume joins a growing chorus of religious theorists who argue that awareness of religion, in both its positive and negative potentialities, is a missing element in international diplomacy and statecraft.
Moving beyond art, the transmission and survival of the past through the "history of the word" points at once to a culture's history and to the articulation of its "specific vital problem" (see Giorgio Agamben, "Aby Warburg and the Nameless Science," in Potentialities [Stanford, 1999]).
Moreover, as Corliss Lamont argues in The Illusion of Immortality, knowledge of the finality of death "liberates all our energy and time for the realization and extension of the happy potentialities of this good earth." This idea is central to Humanist thought.
Lovett has researched well the devastating effects of neurotoxins and has built this novel on the frightening realities and potentialities of the chemical weapons that are a threat in today's world.
(8) At this point, an existing body capable of motion must bear some potentialities and some actualities.
One of the potentialities of architecture, with its capability to operate both technologically and culturally, and with its historical sensibility, is to be a tool for appropriate resistance.