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Posted 02.24.06

MU Professor Creates 'Sectional Anatomy' Software

COLUMBIA, Mo. -- Most people are familiar with the lyrics - "the toe bone connected to the foot bone, the foot bone connected to the leg bone..." - from the traditional song "Dem Bones." But, students who plan to work in a health care setting need a more thorough knowledge of human anatomy than what can be learned from a children's song. Until now, it has been difficult to find a comprehensive source of detailed information on this subject. After years of effort, a University of Missouri-Columbia professor has created sectional anatomy software to address this problem.

Patricia Tew.The interactive software features images of the human body from computed tomography (CAT-scan) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). The user can quickly move through the images and choose the manner to view the "slices" - axial (head-to-foot), sagittal (side-to-side) or coronal (front-to-back).

"This is analogous to slicing a loaf of cinnamon swirl raisin bread," said Patricia Tew, software creator and radiography program director at MU's School of Health Professions. "You could slice it in the normal direction to determine the amount of swirl and the raisin location throughout the loaf; slicing it in a different direction would give you additional information."

Tew said when she developed her sectional anatomy course only a few Web sites contained CT and MRI images and no software programs were available. Tew said she needed to create an environment similar to the actual imaging equipment students would use in a true health care setting.

"The information obtained from human images is pivotal in determining a treatment plan for patients," Tew said. "A technologist must have an excellent understanding of normal human anatomy."

The software allows the user to navigate forward or backward within the image set, giving students a three dimensional model of the body in their mind. The program is easy-to-use and has a setting that allows terminology labels to be turned on or off. Tew created the program with assistance from Educational Technologies at Missouri, a University service that helps faculty incorporate technology into learning.



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