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Doody's Review ServiceReviewer: Edgar F. Allin, MD (Midwestern University)
Description: This atlas contains 80 transverse sections of the human body, from the Visible Human Project of the NIH (www.nlm.nih.gov/research/visible} with corresponding CT and MR images from living subjects and related diagnostic radiographs.
Purpose: The purpose is to provide first-year medical students with exposure to sectional anatomy, increasingly important in clinical practice thanks to improved imaging technology, while they are taking coursework in gross anatomy.
Audience: Although medical students are the primary intended audience, it is likely that many anatomists and physicians, especially radiologists, will also find the book useful.
Features: All regions of the adult male and female body are presented. Most of the sectional views are in the axial plane of current radiologic lingo (better termed transaxial, transverse, or horizontal) but a few are coronal replanarizations. Corresponding CT and MR views from the two cadavers that were cryosectioned to obtain the color photographic plates exist, but the authors chose to use similar images from patients. The main plates and their companion line drawings are labeled by rather chaotic superimposed numbers. On the same page are a key and a diagram showing the approximate section level. Magnifications are not uniform and are mostly far smaller than life-size. There is no bibliography other than a listing of the most useful web sites on the two "Visible Humans," but the index is quite complete.
Assessment: Larger pages and more judicious use of space would have allowed larger pictures showing more detail and more user-friendly labeling (words with lines to structures). Number labels are nice for self-testing but are laborious, especially for novices. There are occasional misidentifications, false statements, misspellings, and typographic defects. The abhorrent terms "ventroflexor" and "dorsiflexor" are used for the anterior and posterior compartments of the thigh. The second identification key (p. 6) is bollixed, which sets an early mood of mistrust. Some figures are repeated unnecessarily. The basic concept of the book is excellent, and it provides valuable access to the ever-multiplying Internet and CD-ROM progeny of the two cryosectioned subjects.