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Spanning The Globe January 2023

Astute followers of the Anatomy in Clay® Learning System blog will note that we have done a terrible job of keeping track of the Roman Numerals for the entries in our “Spanning The Globe” news round-up series.


So, henceforth, we will date these columns by the month in question.


(We are sure you were very, very concerned about this lack of discipline on our part.)


Nonetheless, onward with anatomy news and notes from, well, everywhere:


Three-Dimensional Printing

We are watching with interest the development of 3D printing when it comes to anatomical study. The “parts” being produced are amazing in their photorealistic detail, for sure. Some are making claims that the 3D printers will “revolutionize” medical education and training. This article suggests that such artificial products will render cadaveric dissection “obsolete.”


We don’t quite see the need to make such claims. Learning is learning. It’s great to embrace new technologies and mix those techniques with new learning methods as they come along. Oh, and put us down for “skeptical” when the company behind the “study” is a printing company itself.


The 16th century anatomist Andreas Vesalius. (Photo from Boston Public Library

My Dead Body

Speaking of dissection, we noted this article about the televised dissection, on Britain, of a 30-year-old female who died of a rare form of cancer. The show was called “My Dead Body.” The dissection of Toni Crews became the first public display cadaver in the UK since records began (180 years ago). Crews wanted to raise awareness of her disease and, by all accounts, the documentary tracks the spread of the insidious cancer that took the life of this young mother.


“We have been so privileged to explore the journey of cancer through the incredible donation made by Toni,” said Professor Claire Smith, Head of Anatomy at Brighton and Sussex Medical School. “As part of this documentary, we were able to invite more than 1,000 students, including nurses, paramedics and neuroscientists, who wouldn’t normally get to learn about this one in a million cancer.”


What an incredible contribution to science. The Telegraph called the documentary “the most moving television of the year.”


Paying Tribute

Keeping up with the dissection theme, we loved this story about first-year medical students at the University of Arkansas, who held a ceremony to pay tribute and honor those who donated their bodies to medical science. Thanks to the anatomical donations, the Class of 2026 studied 37 bodies in small groups in the Human Structure class that marks the beginning of their medical education.


The Anatomical Donation Ceremony of Remembrance included brief remarks from students. A choir sang “Over The Rainbow.” One student read a poem called “Knowing You” by JooRi Jun, written when she was a medical student at Bastyr University in Seattle.

“I do not know all the paths you chose to walk down in life, but I have felt the fibers of all the muscles that carried you there,” the poem begins. “I do not know what made your heart burst with love, but I have pictured how the blood flowed through the four chambers of your heart.”


Yes, we join the students at the University of Arkansas in extending our deep gratitude to all who donate their bodies to medical science.


Donors are awesome teachers, too.

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