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The Complete Human Body: The Definitive Visual Guide available in Hardcover
We inhabit it, we are it, and we are surrounded by 6.8 billion examples of it on the planet – the human body. Some parts of it are still mysteries to science and much is a mystery to the average person on the street. But we've come a long way from the sketches and diagrams drawn by the first anatomists in Ancient Greece.
Making full use of new medical procedures and imaging techniques, The Complete Human Body is the definitive guide to the development, form, function, and disorders of the human body, illustrated with unprecedented clarity by new computer-generated artworks and the latest medical and microscopic imaging. Exploring the body's form and function in greater depth than any other popular reference, from muscle structure and activity to motor pathways within the brain, The Complete Human Body will have great appeal to students and a broad range of healthcare professionals, as well as families. Includes an interactive DVD and website!
|Edition description:||+ DVD|
|Product dimensions:||10.20(w) x 12.10(h) x 1.70(d)|
|Age Range:||14 - 18 Years|
As an anatomist, this was a dream of a book to work on. I was keen to show the structure of the living body in all its amazing intricacy and beauty, and then build on this foundation to explore the function and dysfunction of the body. I’m very pleased that we have been able to include all this – structure, function and problems – within one book. You might learn these things while studying human biology or medicine but what I really wanted to do was to make the subject of the human body accessible to a much wider readership.
In the foreword to the book, you mention the importance of breaking apart the human body to understand it. Can you elaborate on this?
Anatomy means ‘to cut up’. That’s not surprising, as the way that doctors and scientists have historically been able to learn the structure of the human body was by doing exactly that – cutting it up. Dissection is also a great way to learn anatomy – so I think that it still has an important role to play in the medical school of the 21st century. However, and just for the last hundred years or so, we have also been able to look inside the body without cutting it up – virtually dissecting it using X-rays, CT and MRI scans, and ultrasound. We now have the amazing ability to see living anatomy. And that’s how we have depicted the anatomy in this book, so what we’re seeing is not the anatomy of a cadaver, but the structure of a living (though virtual) man and woman.
Your PhD is in palaeopathology. Can you explain what this is and how it relates to the study of the human body?
Palaeopathology is the study of disease in ancient human remains. My PhD took me away from the application of pathology to living patients, to study disease in long-dead subjects, as I looked at skeletons excavated from cemeteries by archaeologists. I was interested to find that a very common shoulder problem – ‘rotator cuff disease’ - also afflicted people in past centuries. When I looked at other apes (I say ‘other’ because I very much see humans as a species of ape!), I found they also suffered from the problem, but to a lesser extent. I think the preponderance of the condition in our shoulders may – like osteoarthritis elsewhere - be linked to a chronic under-use of these joints through their full range of movement. I think it’s just another example of the old ‘use it or lose it’ principle. Particularly in privileged societies in developed countries, we really need to make sure we are keeping physically active if we want to protect our bodies from disease and keep them performing at their best.
What was the most challenging aspect of putting together this book?
Working on a book while pregnant with my first baby was both a challenge and a joy! I did have about a month off around the time of birth. At that point, the book was really coming together. I had finished writing the anatomy section, and most of the other authors had finished their sections. As consultant editor, I had to review all the pages I had helped to plan the previous year. It was lovely – very exciting - to see it all coming together. After I had my baby, it was time for the final checks before the book went off to be printed… and it’s just amazing to see it out in print and in the book shops now.
How does being an artist influence your outlook on human anatomy?
Art and anatomy have a long and intimate combined history. Anatomy helps artists to depict the body, while art helps anatomists understand, depict and teach the structure of the body. I’ve always enjoyed drawing, and I illustrated many a student handbook while teaching medical undergraduates. I think having a visual memory, and being able to conjure up the anatomy of the human body in my mind’s eye, is essential as an anatomist. I see the body as a complicated 3-D map – and what I wanted to do in this book was to show the layers of the map and make it accessible. I suppose it’s like Google Earth – you can turn different layers on and off – looking at roads, buildings, and places of interest. In The Complete Human Body you can see those different layers of the topography of the body – bones and muscles, nerves, vessels, organs – and get a real understanding of the layout.
It was great to work with such an accomplished team of artists. I would produce pencil sketches of what I wanted each double-page spread to look like – send it off to them, and within just a few days or weeks, the finished artwork would arrive in my email inbox. I think that, together, we have managed to produce something which is informative, accurate and beautiful – just what anatomical illustration should be.
The Complete Human Body is filled with unique photographs, images, scans and diagrams. Did you have a hand in selecting the artwork?
Absolutely! I had an idea of what I wanted for most of the anatomy section in particular, and I also wanted to see particular images in the book that I knew – from my teaching experience – would have particular explanatory power.
Will you share with us a fun or interesting fact about our bodies that few people know?
The outer ear used to be a gill slit in a fish (evolutionarily speaking).
What other projects are you currently working on?
Another - top secret - book for DK. I’ve just finished filming for another series of the popular BBC2 series Coast. And I’m about to start work on another - top secret - series for BBC2 (but I can at least tell you it has something to do with the human body). Oh – and the most important project of all – my 7 month old baby daughter!