Think you know a lot about anatomy? Want to put your knowledge to the test and help medical school researchers at the same time?
A team from Lancaster University have created an online quiz that challenges users to identify where on the body 25 key muscles, organs, and tissue structures are located.
Once you’ve completed placing x-marks-the-spot tags on a blank body template image, the test collects simple demographic information – safely anonymized, they emphasize – in order to tease out how understanding of the human body varies among different segments of the public. The resulting dataset will be used to inform how anatomy is taught to people who are beginning their education in medicine and to improve how practicing healthcare providers interact with their patients.
“We are working to try and improve how we teach doctors and other healthcare professionals about the human body,” the quiz team states. “One of the ways we are doing this is by engaging with members of the public to learn about what they know about the body, does the amount you know change with age? Does your gender mean you are better at answering some structures than others?”
“In reality, everyone knows something, but knowing what the public knows will help us make our healthcare professionals better at understanding the body, what the public knows and how we treat them.”
The researchers were motivated to assess anatomical literacy on a large scale after a small study they conducted last year suggested that people in non-medical career fields have very limited knowledge. When asked to locate 21 structures, the 63 volunteers had a breeze with the two easiest ones: the brain (thankfully, 100 percent could locate this) and the cornea, and the majority could identify the biceps and thyroid gland.
Yet less than 15 percent of the 63 volunteers could locate the adrenal glands (they sit on top of the kidneys and would appear in the mid-back on a body map), about 20 percent correctly placed the spleen, and only 25 percent knew the approximate location of the gallbladder.
Following the same trend, two recent studies by a cancer research charity implied that both women and men are woefully uninformed about the anatomy of the female reproductive tract – the part of the body that every human comes out of. Out of 1,000 UK women, 44 percent could not correctly locate the vagina on an anatomical diagram and nearly 50 percent didn’t know the positioning of the cervix. Of 1,000 UK men, 50 and 61 percent struggled to pick out the vagina and vulva, respectively.
To take Lancaster University's "Where are my body organs?" quiz, click here – and try to resist the urge to Google all the answers. Take note that the test will not provide you with a score, you will have to check yourself afterward.