WebMD videocast. “There’s a place I want to drop my bombs, and a place where I don’t want to drop my bombs.”
The Body Worlds exhibition may or may not have educational value, artistic merit or a completely sound ethical foundation. As a subject of discussion, however, it definitely does have a way bringing out impassioned points of view (the Thanksgiving dinner table might not have been the best time to have introduced it as a topic of discussion). The College of Physicians of Philadelphia will be joining as well as contributing to the conversation with a town hall discussion. Their Bodies: Ourselves takes place Thursday, December 1, 2005 starting at 6:00 p.m.
“Osman Ratib, professor and chief of nuclear medicine at the University Hospital of Geneva, has co-created a computer software program called Osirix. It enables medical professionals to view medical images on their iPods, saving them and the hospitals they work for thousands of dollars in expensive equipment.
“Medical imaging these days is much more than just looking at slices through the body — it’s about looking at the body in motion, in function. We’re dealing with images that are more than just 2D, black and white images.
“It’s not rocket science but it’s taking something that’s been designed for the consumer market and using it for something that’s medically driven.”
The FDA Center for Drug Evaluation and Research (CDER) website offers this collection of marketing ephemeria related to the patent medicine industry at the end of the 19th century. These are the kinds of products that gave us the phrase “snake oil salesmen”. It’s a little sad to see that many of our culture’s obsessions (and the rhetoric used by the unscrupulous to cater to them) have changed so little over the hundred years. [via medpundit]
Maintained by the Society for Developmental Biology, the Developmental Biology Cinema “…grew out of a breakfast meeting at the 13th International Congress of Developmental Biology held in Snowbird, Utah, July, 1997. The aim of this project is to get video sequences of developing embryos (organisms), and experimental techniques, from the developmental biologist’s lab to the eyeballs of interested individuals in a user-friendly and inexpensive form.”
A collection of collages that appear to made of cut up anatomy textbooks. His choice of source material seems pretty ironic given the fact that anatomical illustration is all about putting the pieces exactly where they need to be in relation to the other pieces. Although visually interesting, decontextualized anatomy is basically information free. It’s also interesting to think about what he had to do to the original prints as being akin to surgery or autopsy. Sommer’s obituary. [via Consumptive]
This site asks “Was God superimposed on a mid-sagittal outline of the human brain in Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel painting of ‘The Creation of Adam’?” But it doesn’t even attempt to answer the really interesting questions: why did Michelangelo do it and what was he trying to say? [via Incoming Signals]
Good example of a well-executed Flash application found on the site supporting the PBS series The Secret Life of the Brain. Might be considered somewhat simplistic, but its level of complexity is probably appropriate for its intended audience/purpose. My only problem with the interface is that you can’t reach the limbic system by clicking on the brain, you can only reach it by using the buttons in the lower right. If you don’t explore those controls, you’ll only get part of the experience.
“Skulls do more than just protect the brain ? they also stimulate the mind. Often symbols of mortality and power, they have been employed in human ceremony, ritual, and art for tens of thousands of years. From the ancient animal skulls in Paleolithic burial sites to the curlicued cattle skulls that float like spirits over Georgia O’Keefe?s canvas mountains, cultures around the world have turned to skulls to express ideas about both life and death.“
Archive of an exhibit that took place at Homerton Hospital in 2001.
“… looks at how artists in many different cultures and times have portrayed our health and the people who keep us in good health ? the healing professions.
Drawing on the wide range of books from around the world in the British Library, the exhibition includes both serious and humorous pictures of diagnosis and treatment, prevention and cure, and doctors and nurses themselves.“
“The Image Bank contains hundreds of images of fungi that range from images of microscopic fungi in tissue to macroscopic images of people, animals, and plants that have fungal infections. Many of the images are also available as pre-packaged PowerPoint slides.“
The image bank seems fairly extensive and each image is annotated. The PowerPoint slides are more than just an image slapped into a blank presentation. Each slide conveniently contains the same annotations that are in the image bank and is pre-formatted. The formatting is simple and unobtrusive and should be pretty easy to tweak if you would like it to more closely resemble the rest of your presentation. The only thing I didn’t like is that each slide seems to have the The Dr. Fungus URL in large purple letters running up the left side. This can easily be deleted.
From the HeSCA Listserve:
“Do you know of any remarkable health education materials that make a significant impact on the way health-related information is communicated?
The Vesalius Trust for Visual Communication in the Health Sciences is accepting applications for the 2004 Frank Netter Award for Special Contributions to Medical Education. This award is given annually to an individual, institution or company in recognition of the development of visually oriented educational materials that have made a significant contribution to the advancement of education and research in visual communication for the health sciences. There is no application fee. The award includes a plaque, monetary award of $1,000 and travel expenses to receive the award at the annual meeting of the Association of Medical Illustrators. Past winners have made innovative contributions in healthcare education including anatomical models, books, simulators, videotapes, and interactive learning materials.
Anyone interested in applying for this prestigious award can get an application and additional information on the Vesalius Trust Web site.
Application deadline for the 2004 award is December 12, 2003.“
Thanks to Karen Adsit, Walker Teaching Resource Center, Univ. of Tenn. at Chattanooga
This issue gets raised whenever we’re preparing a poster for a researcher who is presenting at a conference just about anywhere outside North America: Why do domestic conferences usually specify a horizontal aspect ratio for scientific posters when conferences elsewhere (especially in Europe) usually require posters to be vertical?
This came up again recently and the discussion ended with the usual unsatisfactory conclusions (tradition and the American preference for more personal space). I’ve tried finding an answer online and although there are many, many sites devoted to creating good posters, none of them dealt with this question.
Personally, I prefer working with the horizontal format because it seems to lend itself to creating a good poster; the flow of the content is just more fluid and there are more options available for making it all fit together.
If you have any insight into this apparent cultural divide in the conference world, I’d appreciate it if you would drop me a line or share it in a comment attached to this entry. Thanks.
The Glasgow University Library Special Collections Department’s October Book of the Month was Pathological Anatomy: Illustrations of the Elementary Forms of Disease by Robert Carswell.
“This beautifully illustrated folio volume consists of forty four coloured lithograph plates with accompanying descriptions of various pathological conditions. The text and the drawings were undertaken by Sir Robert Carswell, who was both a distinguished practitioner of pathology and a skilled artist. Perhaps overshadowed by more well known anatomical atlases, this is a monumental work that deserves further study.“
Carswell’s motivation for creating this landmark work echoes a one of the central theme’s of TEHI: the importance of being visual. He “undertook its publication because of ‘the great difficulty, and frequently the impossibility, of comprehending even the best descriptions of the physical or anatomical characters of diseases, without the aid of coloured delineations.’“
Corey Nahman, the man behind the ultimate pharmaceutical news and information site coreynahman.com, has always been extremely generous in his support of The Eyes Have It. I’d like to return the favor in some small way by mentioning a contest he’s running that will test the depth of your biochemical knowledge and your visual acuity. Name That Molecule is also meant to “take a scholarly topic and make it fun.” Scroll down the left-hand column of coreynahman.com, check out the spinning molecules and give it your best shot. Cash prizes will be awarded. Good luck.
Pharma/medical/scientific art by San Francisco-based Laura Splan.
From the artist’s statement:
“My mixed media work explores perceptions of beauty and horror, comfort and discomfort. I use science and medicine a point of departure to explore our ambivalence towards the human body and its functions. I often combine anatomical and scientific imagery with domestic objects and materials. This juxtaposition creates a response that fluctuates between seduction and repulsion, comfort and alienation. This dichotomous experience is evoked by enticing and playful imagery that upon closer inspection reveals some uncomfortable truth about our cultural and biological conditions.“
A few years ago, I was a designer at a small company that produced sales training materials for pharmaceutical companies. One project I worked on was a deck of flash cards that sales reps would use to familiarize themselves with all of the different brands and versions of oral contraceptive currently on the market. There was a photo of the product and its packaging on one side and all of the details and dosages on the other. I was often struck by how the visual aspects of most of the products seemed to fall into either a nostalgically feminized or a coldly clinical aesthetic. Being male, I was kind of curious about this. Did the flowers, the butterflies, the pinks and purples on the dispenser make the experience of using the pill different? Did these “pretty” packages have a marketing impact?
I was also fascinated by all of the different schemes, both graphical and mechanical, designed to make sure the pills are taken correctly. In most cases, all the pills in a prescription are identical and anonymous. Each pill does the same job as all the others. Each pill in a course of contraceptives, on the other hand, has its own meaning and identity.
The PBS series American Experience did an episode about the Pill. As far as I could tell from a quick reading of the transcript (I didn’t get to see the broadcast), it doesn’t touch on any of these issues. However, there is an image gallery on the website devoted to the episode and it contains a fair amount of material about various designs of the Pill’s packaging. For instance, before the first version of the Pill (Enovid) was used as a contraceptive, it was used to treat menstrual irregularities and was delivered in a simple, small brown bottle.
BMLwalker is a motion visualization demonstration from the Ruhr-University-Bochum BiomotionLab. The user can adjust the walking animation for gender, weight, dispostion and mood. If you move the slider all the way to the male side, for instance, you somehow see “maleness” in the cues provided by the way the 15 simple dots on a plain black background move in relation to each other. The animation can rotate 360 degrees and there is a setting that connects the dots with lines.
“This animation demonstrates a framework for retrieving and visualizing biologically and psychologically relevant information from biological motion patterns. It is based on walking data from 40 male and 40 female walkers. Using a motion capture system their movement were recorded while walking on a treadmill.
The data were subsequently transformed into a representation which allows for linear morphing. The resulting “walking space” was then transformed using principal component analysis. A space spanned by the first 10 eigenwalkers was used to compute linear disciminant functions for the respective attributes.
Sex and weight of each walker were directly available from our records. The other two attributes were derived from psychophysical experiments. A number of observers were presented with point-light displays of the 80 walkers. For each of them they had to rate the attributes nervous/relaxed and happy/sad on a scale of 7 steps.
Parts of the procedure are described in:Troje, N. F. (2002) Decomposing biological motion: A framework for the analysis and synthesis of human gait patterns. Journal of Vision 2:371-387.“
New York Times article: “Researchers Get Their First Close-Up Look at West Nile Virus.”
To obtain the images, Dr. Kuhn and his colleagues at Purdue chilled the fragile virus to about minus 300 degrees Fahrenheit in liquid ethane, a hydrocarbon, then bombarded it with high-energy electrons. The deflection of electrons off the virus’s atoms produced the images….Detailed information about the structure of West Nile could help scientists understand its unusual life cycle. That information should help researchers pinpoint West Nile’s vulnerabilities and develop drugs to disarm it.
“The Anatomical Mission to Burma“, is a thought provoking essay in November’s Science by Michael Sappol of the National Library of Medicine’s History of Medicine Division.
Sappol begins by outlining nineteenth century missionary efforts to alter the belief systems held by “the Heathen” by developing in them a thorough, visual knowledge of the body’s inner workings. He then deftly draws parallels between the rationale behind these efforts and a similar conceptual journey undertaken by their ancestors that was facilitated by the wide diffusion of illustrated anatomical texts. All of this is, of course, useful in examining our own relationships with images of the body.
Today, we are the inheritors of Victorian popularizers like Alcott and the Baptist missionaries. We believe that anatomical images–artists’ illustrations and photographs of dissections and body parts, microphotographs, x-rays, magnetic resonance images (MRIs), and computer modeling–show us a true picture of ourselves, our inner reality. Our conception of ourselves as anatomical beings is secure. The anatomical image is our mirror. And there is something reassuring about that. Our bodies are mapped, explained, controlled. Anatomy is us.
But if we see ourselves in the anatomical mirror, we also see double. The science of anatomy is founded on the dissection of corpses. The skeleton and the opened body are emblems of human mortality and monstrosity. Anatomical images represent something we fear and deny: the undomesticated body, the body of desire, disease, deformity, and death; the body that, despite all efforts, resists our control.
Well worth a read.
There is a passage from the Book of Psalms that seems particularly appropriate to a discussion of these issues:
Even the darkness is not dark to You,
And the night is as bright as the day.
Darkness and light are alike to You.
For You formed my inward parts;
You wove me in my mother’s womb.
I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
Wonderful are Your works,
And my soul knows it very well.
My frame was not hidden from You,
When I was made in secret,
And skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth;
Your eyes have seen my unformed substance;
And in Your book were all written
The days that were ordained for me,
When as yet there was not one of them.
Psalms 139: 12-16
“There are times when our perception of reality becomes “more real” to us than reality itself.
‘We found that a fetus at this gestation is very skinny and has translucent skin, so the veins are very prominent,” says Rob van den Bragt, lead 3D artist. “We wanted a baby that was aesthetically appealing; one that was more of an idealized version. We tried to copy reality as much as we could, but we kept an eye on the artistic side as well.’
The lighting, like the baby model, also appears plausible, even though it, too, is not based on reality. Medical images of real fetuses are usually acquired with a fiber-optic camera and are front-lit, making the overall image shiny and flat?”not very appealing,” van den Bragt points out. The Mill’s baby, on the other hand, was back-lit in Maya and bathed in warm yellows, oranges, and reds to lend a film-like quality to the imagery. ‘The shadows and lights contrast nicely for an artistic, rather than realistic look,’ van den Bragt comments.“
“Dr. Kelly was a surgery resident at Mayo from 1949 to 1953 before practicing in Sioux City, Iowa as a general surgeon. As an extension of his interest in surgery, he developed over the course of several decades a book collection which represents four centuries of the history of anatomical illustration.
The books selected from his gift for display highlight the changes in both the formats and techniques employed in the dissemination of anatomical information. While there is evidence that the Greeks practiced human dissection as early as 300 B.C, scribes made errors in copying the illustrations done from these investigations. It was not until the invention of the printing press in the fifteenth century that anatomical findings were documented and shared on a widespread basis.“
There’s not much in the way of explanation, and the layout isn’t particularly sophisticated, but many of the images in this collection are pretty amazing. And many are (as is to be expected given the subject matter) pretty disturbing. This is only one of the many, many projects undertaken Dr. Silvia Helena Cardoso of the State University of Campinas, Brazil.
Meant to mention this NYT article a while ago:
“The AIDS-prevention campaign was started two years ago with hard-hitting images: one showed a coffin, another a sidewalk strewn with cadavers. The lighter-hearted effort by the mayor’s office this year, including the distribution of 500,000 free condoms, is called “Paris Plasirs, Paris Capotes” (“Paris Pleasures, Paris Rubbers”). The posters are illustrated by Jean-Louis Cornalba. “
They “combine a cartoonish imagination with the French proclivity for sexy, semiotic irony. The wedding of prophylactics and historical landmarks has delighted both Parisians and the capital’s millions of tourists so much that the mayor’s office has received many requests for copies of them. This summer when the banks of the Seine are turned into an extravagant beachfront, the government plans to pass out more than 100,000 postcards of the designs.“
Great image resource from Oxford University’s Nuffield Department of Anaesthetics.
“The departmental museum was collected by Richard “Dicky” Salt over many years, from a wide variety of sources in the UK and abroad. The collection had never been adequately listed, so in early 1997 it was professionally catalogued by Audrey Eccles. The whole collection was then photographed by Nick White of Oxford Medical Illustration. All the photographs (about 320 images on 35mm slides) were digitised, and stored as high resolution TIFF and low resolution JPEG files. Images can be browsed by category, or selected by searching for keyword(s). Items which match the search criteria are displayed as thumbnails. Clicking on the thumbnails in either mode results in a larger version of the image being displayed, with its full catalogue listing.“
26MB image files can be obtained by contacting the NDA. Licensing and usage information is available on the site.
Recently presented at SIGGRAPH 2003 — “Reanimating the Dead: Reconstruction of Expressive Faces from Skull Data” (K. K?hler, J. Haber, H.-P. Seidel: Reanimating the Dead: Reconstruction of Expressive Faces from Skull Data, ACM Transactions on Graphics (SIGGRAPH 2003 Conference Proceedings), 22(3), July 2003, pp. 554-561.).
“Facial reconstruction for postmortem identification of humans from their skeletal remains is a challenging and fascinating part of forensic art. The former look of a face can be approximated by predicting and modeling the layers of tissue on the skull. This work is as of today carried out solely by physical sculpting with clay, where experienced artists invest up to hundreds of hours to craft a reconstructed face model. Remarkably, one of the most popular tissue reconstruction methods bears many resemblances with surface fitting techniques used in computer graphics, thus suggesting the possibility of a transfer of the manual approach to the computer. In this paper, we present a facial reconstruction approach that fits an anatomy-based virtual head model, incorporating skin and muscles, to a scanned skull using statistical data on skull / tissue relationships. The approach has many advantages over the traditional process: a reconstruction can be completed in about an hour from acquired skull data; also, variations such as a slender or a more obese build of the modeled individual are easily created. Last not least, by matching not only skin geometry but also virtual muscle layers, an animatable head model is generated that can be used to form facial expressions beyond the neutral face typically used in physical reconstructions.“
New Scientist article: “Animation lets murder victims have final say”
A project of the Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, the Visible Human Server offers:
“a virtual anatomic construction kit on the web using the Visible Human dataset. The applets available on this site provide the following features:
Extract slices, curved surfaces, and slice animations from both datasets (male and female) Interactively navigate by slicing through the male dataset in real-time Construct 3D anatomical scenes using combinations of slices and 3D models of internal structures from the male dataset, and extract 3D animations Add voice comments to video sequences generated using the applets“
The site includes a discussion forum and one user shares how these tools allowed him to see anatomy in a way other methods couldn’t:
“I have been lying awake, trying to visualise an orbital fracture a patient has, but no success. I’ve checked Grant’s Atlas and a textbook of sectional anatomy, but no success – I still can’t get a feel for it. After having a midnight snack and thinking there must be something on the internet, I found this site. 1 hour later, having fiddled with the applet – HURRAH ! I now know exactly where it is and have a better appreciation for the anatomy of the area.“