Posted 7:16 AM 3/11/2013 : UA med students use new app to navigate way through human heart
TUCSON- Medical students used to just turn to their textbooks to study the human heart, but now that two-dimenstional image could be a study tool of the past.
Instead UA medical student Katherine Nielsen prefers to get a better grasp of the organ by studying a 3D image on the iPad. "When you're able to rotate it you can see the dimension of the heart, as well as where everything is connecting," Nielsen says. "It's hard to see depth and dimension on a flat image."
Nielsen is one about 100 first year medical students at the University of Arizona who are currently beta testing a new app for the iPad called "Heart Anatomy Explorer". "We took photographs of the heart in the chest before we removed it, then we made a rotational three- dimensional model of it," says Maria Czuzak, an anatomist and forensic anthropologist with the Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine.
Professor Czuzak worked with Pathology Professor Mark Nelson to develop the app. "When you're looking at a flat image you don't have that three-dimensional view of the anatomy and their patients are going to be three-dimensional," Czuzak says.
Nelson was also trying to figure out a way to give his graduate students a better way to understand human organs.
Blue dots help identify different parts of the heart. Students can rotate the image in every direction. "It helps us see the structures we're looking for before we go into lab, as well as make the connections of where the vessels connect, when you turn it from the front view to the back view," Czuzak says.
Students say the app also gives them a chance to study a real heart outside of class, instead of just inside the lab. "It's like you can take the heart home with you," Elise Vo says.
The students will provide feedback to the faculty about the app. Czuzak and Nelson say the goal is to eventually develop an app for all the organs.
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