, Volume 15, Issue 2, pp 149-151

Anatomical mysteries

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Learning anatomy has been a major and fundamental part of medical education ever since there were doctors. Unlike many other areas of medical science, anatomy knowledge has not become obsolete every 5 years; the individual bits of the human body are pretty well where they were back in Grecian times. But while the subject matter may not have changed all that much, the ways of teaching anatomy have undergone dramatic changes over the past few decades. While many schools still retain the cadaver dissection as a central component of anatomy learning and perhaps as a “right of passage” toward a professional role, dissection has been supplemented and often replaced by other technologies, ranging from prosected specimen in plastic to virtual reality simulations.

Regrettably, there is little evidence about the relative merits of one form of instruction or another. Certainly, some evidence suggests that, counter to our intuitions, the ability of computer-based instruction to permit rotation and