When I received my first smartphone, my dad only allowed me to download educational games on it. Due to this restriction, the first video games I became familiar with were Solitaire, Sudoku, and Anatomy Lite. Having Anatomy Lite as one of the only forms of entertainment in my life, I became familiar with the names of almost all the bones, muscles, and organs of the human body by the time I was in sixth grade. However, I never really stopped to consider where the anatomical diagrams that are so commonplace and useful to the medical field today, originated.
It was not until the Renaissance period that the human body was studied in depth and complex diagrams were recorded. At the beginning of the 12th century, animals were dissected in schools to study anatomy, but students quickly progressed into dissections on humans by the end of the 12th century (“Anatomy“). I found it fascinating, while reading the article titled “Anatomy” from Gale Virtual Reference Library, that many advances in the field of anatomy were not made by famous surgeons or scientists, but rather by students and professors in universities. For example, the first complete study on human anatomy was published by professor Mondino dei Luizzi from the University of Bologna (“Anatomy”).
These technological advances from the Renaissance are now being used to help universities teach students more about the workings of the human body, which could lead to discoveries about the causes and cures to different diseases. Phys.org, a news website on technology in science, recently published an article by the University of British Columbia about a new virtual scalpel that will be used in anatomy classrooms. This virtual scalpel is part of a new visualizing technology that will display in detail the human anatomy on a large table. Claudia Krebs, one of the professors at this university, stated that “this technology allows students to understand how the various parts fit together – and how a problem with one part can easily affect another” (“New Tool for Medical Students’ Anatomy Lessons“).
Even though this technology was developed in Britain, it could definitely be used here in Minnesota due to the high percentage of students majoring in the medical field. In fact, Minnesota has one of the top medical schools in the country, the University of Minnesota, which could benefit from virtual technology like this to enhance the learning experience of students in this field. I think it is important to remember, however, that without the breakthroughs of the Renaissance anatomists, we would never have reached such a level of accuracy and detail when studying the human body and how it works.