Ahmet Sinav, M.D.
Associate Research Scientist
Dissection is the primary means to attain knowledge of the macroscopic organization of the human body because it maximizes the use of our senses. Thus, the process of probing, revealing and touching structures magnifies and reinforces information that is gained visually. The combination of manual manipulation and visualization results in a spatially correct image of the body in our minds. The more detailed this image, the greater the knowledge of the body. Unfortunately, dissection is also a destructive process that often makes it difficult to recall how structures that have been removed relate to those at deeper levels. Partly for this reason, a wide variety of atlases are available as adjuncts to dissection. The value of these secondary sources of information depends on how well they depict the structures that are revealed during dissection and how easy they are to use. Unfortunately, even high quality illustrations are static and often do not impart a sense of spatial relationships. Atlas drawings also tend to be inefficient for study in that the methods of labeling are cumbersome to use. Moreover, anatomy should be learned within a clinical context, and this connection is often overlooked in atlases.
We are developing interactive web-based programs that reveal 3-D spatial relationships by allowing the user to both deconstruct (dissect) and reconstruct discrete regions of the body and which use labeling paradigms that are both efficient and informative. We have also incorporated principles from cognitive psychology showing that learning is most efficient when the process is interactive and the student is thoroughly engaged in the subject matter. To create such programs of a given topographic area on human body, each nerve, muscle, blood vessel, etc. is drawn separately and in its correct relationship to all the other structures. Each structure is then incorporated into a file such that any structure can be selected independently, or in conjunction with any other structure. Students can perform virtual dissections of the body parts from canonical views, removing each component at will, or can start with the bones and add each structure to reconstruct the contents of the topographic area.
We hypothesize that this level of interaction will promote learning of anatomic concepts, much in the way assembling blocks can teach basic principles of construction. The programs are also linked to animations depicting normal and abnormal functions.
Ahmet Sinav's Medline citations