About Human Anatomy
Anatomy is the science of the structure of the body. When used without qualification, the term is applied usually to human anatomy. The word is derived indirectly from the Greek anatome, a term built from ana, meaning up, and tome, meaning a cutting (compare the words tome, microtome, and epitome). From an etymological point of view, the term dissection (dis-, meaning asunder, and secare, meaning to cut) is the Latin equivalent of the Greek anatome. Anatomy, wrote Vesalius in the preface to his De Fabrica (1543), should rightly be regarded as the firm foundation of the whole art of medicine and its essential preliminary. Moreover, the study of anatomy introduces the student to the greater part of medical terminology. Anatomy is to physiology as geography is to history (Femel); that is, it provides the setting for the events. Although the primary concern of anatomy is with structure, structure and function should be considered together. Moreover, by means of surface and radiological anatomy, emphasis should be placed on the anatomy of the living body. As Whitnall expressed it, I cannot put before you too strongly the value and interest of this rather neglected [surface] aspect of anatomy. Many a student first realizes its importance only when brought to the bedside or the operating table of his patient, when the first thing he is faced with is the last and least he has considered. The classical methods of physical examination of the body and the use of some of the various -scopes, e.g., the stethoscope and the ophthalmoscope, should be included. Radiological studies facilitate achievement of an understanding of the fluid character of anatomy and physiology of the living (A.E. Barclay), and the importance of variation should be kept in mind. In relation to the size of the parts studied, anatomy is usually divided into (1) macroscopic or gross anatomy, and (2) microscopic anatomy or histology (now used synonymously). In addition, embryology is the study of the embryo and the fetus, that is, the study of prenatal development, whereas the study of congenital malformations is known as teratology. In general, works dealing with human anatomy are arranged either (1) systemically, that is, according to the various systems of the body (skeletal, muscular, digestive, etc.) or (2) regionally, that is, according to the natural, main subdivisions of the body (head and neck, upper limb, thorax, etc.). In this book, after the general features of certain systems have been discussed in introductory chapters, the remainder of the work will general follow a regional approach. The regional plan has been adopted chiefly because the vast majority of laboratory courses in human anatomy are based on regional dissection.
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