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 (RSNA).
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.
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"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.