Much of our understanding of the human body comes from an incomplete picture of anatomy. In the past, males – often executed criminals, white, and European – were dissected to create a body plan for Homo sapiens, and while most would be happy to sit out that particular chapter in medical history, the enduring effect is that much of even modern-day anatomy teaching is based on male bodies.
Now, a new 3D model hopes to level the field of anatomy in delivering more representation in the way that humans naturally differ from one another. The Complete Anatomy by Elsevier model of female anatomy, built by Elsevier’s 3D4 Medical team, is the most advanced of its kind and could improve the management of female patients by delivering teaching materials for medical schools that were informed by scientists.
We spoke with Professor Claire Smith, Head of Anatomy for Brighton and Sussex Medical School in the UK, about the formulation of the model, which she helped to build, and how it will have a positive change on both the way doctors are taught anatomy and, later, how they treat patients.
"I think it's a massive step forward and it means that as an educator we can work with medical students and healthcare students, right from their first day of training," Prof. Smith told IFLScience.
"Having a completely fully female version is an amazing step and I'd really like to challenge the creators of this Complete Anatomy to then be working on racial differences within the bodies that exist. We all have normal natural variations in our bodies. Some of us have certain muscles that others don't have, so I'd like some of those natural variations to be there because actually, we're all patients... and to represent different body types... so that it's not always the white male image that's shown to students."
You can watch the full interview here.
The Complete Anatomy female model includes a full skeletal system with accurate portrayals of muscle groups and more detailed depictions of female-specific regions such as breast tissue and genitalia. Furthermore, it can be studied in direct comparison to existing models of male anatomy to demonstrate how functionality can naturally differ between the male and female sexes.
“The innovative 3D solution marks a major milestone in education equality with the representation of the full female anatomy in the study of the human body,” Elsevier said about the new model. “The launch is coming at a time when females are more likely to be misdiagnosed for health conditions compared to male counterparts.”
“As an advocate for content that is diverse and inclusive, we are thrilled to offer this groundbreaking full female model to allow educators to teach anatomy in an equal and comprehensive way,” said Elizabeth Munn, Managing Director, Global Medical Education, Elsevier.
“We are proud to take this step forward in addressing gender bias and believe Complete Anatomy’s female model will have a tremendous impact on the educational experience of medical students worldwide as well as on the outcomes of patients they treat in the future.”
Visit the 3D4 website to find out more about Complete Anatomy by Elsevier’s new model for 3D female anatomy.