CHICAGO--The first long distance, computer-generated anatomy lesson
was conducted via satellite as biologists from the University
of Colorado Health Sciences Center, Denver, fed three-dimensional
digital images of the human male body to participants at the annual
scientific meeting of the Radiological Society of North America
The exercise served to introduce to the information superhighway
the "Visible Man," an image data set that includes more
than 1,800 24-bit, full-color axial, coronal, and sagittal slices
of an entire human male cadaver. Access will be through the Internet,
said project coordinator Michael Ackerman, PhD.
"The Visible Man represents an incredibly detailed atlas
of human anatomy, created from thousands of images of a human
body collected with state-of-the-art radiographic and photographic
techniques. This is the first time such detailed digital information
about an entire human body has been compiled," Donald A.
B. Lindberg, MD, said at a press conference. Dr. Lindberg is director
of the National Library of Medicine, which funded the project.
The images developed for the Visible Man project not only are
more exquisitely detailed than any other currently available anatomic
views of the human male body but also are capable of manipulation
by the viewer. Reconstructions of the data can be rotated in space,
viewed in any plane, dissected, and reassembled.
Use in Cancer Research
"In the future, any anatomical part can be extracted from
the body and viewed separately," said Victor M. Spitzer,
PhD, assistant professor of radiology and cellular and structural
biology, University of Colorado Health Science Center. (Dr. Spitzer
and colleague David G. Whitlock, MD, PhD, provided the Visible
Man images )
Structures such as blood vessels can be followed throughout the
body and their relationship to other structures, such as organs
and bones, can be seen, Dr. Spitzer noted.