Bloodless dissection via CD-ROM

Digital cadaver: using An@tomedia, the University of Melbourne's new multimedia
simulation, students get a new perspective on anatomy


Medical students will soon be able to dissect a body any time they wish - and then put it back together to dissect again.

An@tomedia, a new multimedia teaching tool developed at the University of Melbourne, is the key to allowing students to interactively explore anatomy form differently perspectives.

Chief dissector in the department of anatomy and cell biology at the university, Priscilla Barker, said the CD-ROM was not intended as a replacement for real-time it more meaningful.

"Any person who teaches anatomy would say the experiential learning someone gets from dissection is really important." Ms Barker said.

"You would never want a surgeon to operate on you without having had the experience of doing it before on a cadaver... This way students know what they have to look for in their practical classes."

Funded by grants from the Department of Education, Training and Youth Affairs and the university, the CD-ROM will be launched on Friday. It will be available in eight modules - the back, abdomen, thorax, upper limb, lower limb, pelvis, neck and head. Two modules are completed, with the remaining expected to be completed by 2001.

Ms Barker said the CD-ROM would be a valuable resource for any tertiary students studying anatomy - including students of medicine, science, physiotherapy, dentistry, nursing, chiropractic, osteopathy and massage.

She said An@tomedia would also be useful doctors to explain problems to patients and would be an important aid for anatomy students in countries where dissection is not performed for culturnal reasons.

Associate Professor Christopher Briggs said An@tomedia took up the challenge facing medical educators worldwide - the need to reduce dissection and tutorial time in an increaslingly croweded medical curriculum.

He said the resource didn't presume prior knowledge of anatomy and an optional text enabled exploration at all levels of difficulty.

The project was a joint team effort by the Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology and the Multimedia Education Unit.


The Australian
Wednesday July 21 1999