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Virtual cadavers.

Dissecting a human cadaver has been a rite of passage for medical students for centuries. But corpses can be less-than-ideal teaching tools in anatomy class, with organs missing after surgery or deteriorated because of death or disease. Now, in addition to doing traditional dissections, medical students at New York University are swapping their scrubs and surgical gloves for 3-D glasses and a mouse for a class in virtual anatomy. On screen, the body looks more vivid than the real thing, and with a click of the mouse, students can see up close how deep-blue veins and bright-red arteries make the heart pump. But whether the high-definition version of anatomy is more useful than a blood-and-gore dissection is a matter of debate. "In a cadaver, if you remove an organ, you cannot add it back in as if it were never removed," says Chana Rich, a first-year NYU med student from Connecticut. Others aren't sure the technology can ever replace cadavers. When it comes to a human organ, says one of Rich's classmates, "There's something about being able to hold it and turn it in your hand."


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Title Annotation:Biology; 3d anatomy classes at New York University
Publication:New York Times Upfront
Article Type:Brief article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Feb 20, 2012
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