OVERVIEW OF BASIC MEDICAL COURSES
Human Anatomy is derived from an ancient Greek word, ANATEMNEIN. ANA means ‘separate’ and TEMNEIN means ‘to cut up’. Human anatomy deals with the structural make up of human being, ranging from the individual cells, tissues, organs and systems to the whole human body. This is expressed as muscles, nerves, blood vessels, skin, bones, cartilages etc. Anatomy considers the nature of all these structures and their variations in various individual tracing it from their developmental stages to their maturity stage. It also considers possible complications that ca n affect these structures and the remedies. In a nutshell, Human Anatomy tries to describe every single structure in the human body.
Human anatomy and physiology is as important as the human life. Without it, man is doomed, as every slightest imbalance in body system may lead to death. Due to its importance, human anatomy is sup posed to be a must know to all humans, but due to other sectors of life that require attention, only students in the medical school study biochemistry and human anatomy.
Although, life is empty without human body, a proper knowledge of the human body (Human Anatomy) sustains the subject and gives him the confidence to live on. It offers some level of security and awareness such that the subject is aware of any body phenomenon before it occurs. Human Anatomy is divided into three major facets in the medical school. These includes;
- Gross anatomy
Other parts may include
- Comparative anatomy
- Functional anatomy
- Clinical anatomy
- Radiological anatomy etc.
The last four factors are usually studied in advanced profession of medicine, anatomy, nursing pharmacy etc. But the first three forms the core of the anatomical study. Each of these courses is further splited into different parts designated by numerical codes or alphabets.
Gross anatomy considers the observable structures in the developed human body. Most commonly, the study is done regionally, in which the head and neck, upper and lower limbs, pelvis and perineum, thorax and abdomen are treated separately. All the body structures found within the mentioned regions are studied.
For examples, in studying the thorax, the lungs, heart, ribs, sternum, blood vessels, nerves etc, at the region of the thorax will be considered. Gross anatomy without applied anatomy is an incomplete anatomy, so the defects, variations or prevalence of these structures are also considered. Much emphasis is made on the defects or abnormalities affecting these structures.
Due to the challenges of securing life-specimens for this study, anatomists use models of dead structures found in dead human being called cadavers. Through dissections, these structures are appreciated. Gross anatomy is considered by many as the simplest course ever, this is because every fact of the course is visible.
The only challenge students encounter is in remembering the names, courses, extent, relations, boundaries and contents of the structures. This problem will be tackled shortly. Although the ultimate rule for attaining excellence in gross anatomy is having a positive attitude towards the course. Developing an uncommon passion for the course guarantees about 30% success in the course. This also goes for any other course.
Embryology studies the two gametes or germ cells of human reproduction (spermatozoon and ovum) right from the time they are produced to the time they fuse to from a zygote. Tracing the development of the zygote to when it forms an embryo, to when it becomes a fetus down to when it is given birth to as a Neonate.
During the study, embryology details more on day to day changes of the fetus, how and when each of the human body part develop. Also considering the possible abnormalities that may result from genetic or environmental factors. It also studies each of the abnormality and views its prevalence, causes, effects, time of manifestation etc.
So, Embryology, as a course, just studies each of the human structures and traces it embryonic origin and the stages it undertook before birth. For example, the eye develops from the optic vesicle, so the time which the eye appears in the fetus will be also be considered.
Also when the eye develops abnormally, the effect it can have on the baby. The effects of certain drugs on the fetus during the formation of organs (Organogenesis) and its likelihood of causing abnormalities. These abnormalities are considered as clinical correlates or abnormalities which are the same with the applied anatomy of gross anatomy.
Histology is also known as the microscopic anatomy. Its own perspective is from the microscopic view; it considers the microscopy of different structures of the body. It studies the morphology of these structure employing different dyes for staining to help differentiate their cells from other cells.
Histology looks at the organelles of each cell and considers its characteristics to the level of the tissue. These are done so that one can know when the cell is abnormal. When a normal cell has been studied, it serves as a control to the detection of abnormal cells.
Histology also employ other technical mechanics other than the microscope, like the microtome, water bath, dispenser etc, to help extract the tissue and reduce it to a slide form so that each of the components can be studied microscopically.
In attaining this goal, many chemicals come into play. The clinical importance of histology is that it can be used to explain different type of diseases and abnormalities and suggest possible cure as the abnormal cell organelle has been detected. In the basic level of the medical school, histology just comprises only the study of the microscopic view of normal and abnormal tissues of the body. In case of tissue fluids, smears are taken and are studied microscopically.
This branch of anatomy relates to anatomy of different animals, considering their similarities and differences and comparing them to the human anatomy. It is thus used as basis for the classification of different animals into different groups as it concerns evaluation.
Comparative anatomy also considers the structures different animals possess that enable them to perform. It also determines which animals can serve best as models for different human experiment especially when the anatomy of the animals is similar to that of humans.
Functional anatomy deals on the functions of all the structures studied in gross anatomy. How the defect in the structure can affect the region it is found and the whole body in general. The anatomical importance of every structure in human body, in normal and abnormal state.
For example, the brachial plexus is a collection of nerves supplying the muscles and skin of the upper limb. When there is an abnormality or defect affecting any of the nerves, the muscles and regions of the skin it supplies becomes affected and this can affect the movement of the hand; there may be some restricted movement due to that effect.
Radiological Human Anatomy
This branch of Anatomy employs radiations in the studying of the human body, living or dead. These radiations are used in producing films or plates which can be studied and interpreted.
Through this method, many abnormalities affecting different structures of the body can be detected. Internally placed abnormalities can be detected, even corrected without surgery, using radiations such as X-rays, gamma, beta or delta rays. Other types of rays are also employed.
Clinical anatomy deals more on the clinical implications of the structure studied in gross anatomy. It ranges from the disease affect ting different parts of the body to its prevalence in different populations. Clinical an anatomy tries to produce remedies to the different diseases and also produce tips used in preventing its reoccurrence.
Here, different drugs are administered in curing different diseases after diagnosis. Also signs and symptoms evident in disease manifestations are noted so that when such diseases arise it can be diagnosed at an early stage. Clinical anatomy is studied in the advanced level of the medical school.
Meaning of Some Anatomical Features
- Foramen (L.) – A hole in a bone (or any other structure) with a thin edge (eg. Oval foramen).
- Canal (L. canalis – a water pipe) – A tubular passage with two ends (eg. Inguinal canal).
- Fossa (L. A ditch) – A depression on a structure (eg. Radial fossa of the Humerus).
- Tubercle (L. Tuber – swelling) – A small swelling or eminence (eg gracile tubercle of the medulla).
- Crest (L. Crista) – An Arched elevation or ridge (eg. Terminal crest of the heart)
- Trochanter (Gr. Terochanta – a runner) – A large prominent elevation (eg Lesser Trochanter of the femur).
- Trochlea (Gr. Trochilia – Pulley) – A pulley shaped structure (eg Trochlea of the orbit).
- Tuberosity (L. Tuber – Selling) – A large swelling or eminence (eg. Radial tuberosity).
- Protuberance (L. protubero – bulge out) – A prominent projection of bone (eg mental protuberance).
- Plexus (L. Net work) – Network of vessels or Nerves (eg Brachial plexus).
- Ventricle (L.) – E. A small belly or cavity. Lateral ventricle of the Brain.
- Adopted from; over 1000 Greek and Latin terms used in Medicine and Anatomy. Their meaning and Applications (by the same Author).