What is Anatomy?

The word “Anatomy” is derived from Greek anatomē meaning “dissection”. From the medical aspect, the term human anatomy is more appropriate to define the study of the macroscopic and microscopic structure and studies of other organisms like zootomy, or animal anatomy, and phytotomy, which is plant anatomy and our human body. 

The various body parts are studied with detailed under various sub-disciplines. Also, gross/general anatomy studies the macroscopic structures, osteology studies the bones, histology studies the tissues, embryology studies the initial embryonic development of the fetus, etc.

Furthermore, historically the study of anatomy carried out by structural dissection and examine a complex arrangement of various tissues and structures within the body. 

For the most part, this study is said to be pioneered by renaissance artists and sculptors like Leonardo Da Vinci, who excavated dead bodies and dissected it to find fundamental anatomical theories of the body system, during the time when it was thought of sin or taboo to cut open the dead.

What is the best way to learn Human Anatomy?

Human anatomy is taught from two viewpoints: systemic and regional. Undergraduate courses and textbooks in human anatomy are almost taught as systemic anatomy, meaning they focus on one organ system at a time. 

For example, you would study all of the digestive system, all of the respiratory system, all of the urinary system, and so forth, each one from end to end. Similar to understanding medicine you need to dig your own Compassion Medicine to increase your interest in learning the subjects to become a good doctor.

Not only it makes good sense because it enables one to see how all the organs of a given system interact to perform the overall function of that system—such as nose, pharynx, larynx, trachea, bronchi, and lungs. 

Likewise, it would be hard to get a logical view of any organ system function if you studied the heart, then the lungs, then the thoracic lymphatic organs, then the thyroid—and later you went back studied carotid and cerebral arteries or arm-leg arteries to continue your study of the cardiovascular system. 

If you want to know how the cardiovascular system works, you need to study the whole thing at one go.

Human Body Systems

There are 11 organ systems in the human body: Innerbody Research

  • The integumentary system, meaning skin, hair, nails, and so on
  • Skeletal system, meaning your bones of the body
  • Muscular system, meaning all your muscles, tendons, and ligaments
  • Lymphatic system, tissues, and organs that help rid the body of toxins, waste and other unwanted materials
  • Respiratory system, organs responsible for taking in oxygen and expelling carbon dioxide
  • Digestive system, gastrointestinal tract plus the accessory organs of digestion
  • Nervous system, nerves, and neurons that transmit signals between different parts of the body
  • Endocrine system, which regulates hormone production
  • Cardiovascular system, the heart, blood vessels, and the blood
  • Urinary system, renal system or urinary tract
  • Reproductive systems, organs involved in sexual reproduction

Tips to learn Human Anatomy

To start with, you will be confused about the Terminology with words like lateral, posterior, etc. A first-year medical student using, a book such as Grant’s Dissector (the book is given below), need to dissect cadavers from a regional approach; you can’t go in and dissect the whole cardiovascular system, then go back to do the respiratory or digestive or some other system, because the first dissection would destroy much of the other systems. 

So you dissect regionally—back, thorax, abdomen, head-neck, limbs, etc.—and you have to simultaneously consider all the organ systems that have representation in that region. Therefore doctors and surgeons commonly specialize in one area of the body—consider an ENT, cardiologist, or nephrologist, for example. 

Differing from going into the head, you have to know the oral and nasal cavities, sinuses, skull, muscles, tongue and palate, thyroid, tonsils, brain, nerves, arteries, veins, eyes, lymphatics, and so on. 

By the same token, in a regional anatomy approach, you’re studying parts of the digestive, respiratory, skeletal, muscular, lymphatic, cardiovascular, endocrine, nervous, and sensory systems—but only a limited part of any one of these. A surgeon operating in the region has to know thoroughly and intimately everything that’s in the region of concern, and their spatial relationships.

Top Human Anatomy Books & Content 

Since you’re probably just starting medical school, anatomy will take up most of your time as it is overwhelming! Even if you’re a final year medical student and want to brush up your basics. These are the books that you need to prepare your learning anatomy skills.

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Las Updated: Tuesday, 11th August 2020

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