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Review: Rohen's Photographic Anatomy for iPhone

2/4/2010 by Dr. Jessica Otte, Dr. Ottematic

You can almost smell the formaldehyde! Lippincott Williams & Wilkins and Modality Inc. have put together, exclusively for iPhone, a collection of cadaver dissection anatomy flash cards. Included in the app are 211 full-colour photos, based on the printed atlas by Joel Vilensky, Rohen’s Color Atlas of Anatomy: A Photographic Study of the Human Body, Sixth Edition.

Just like in a real anatomy lab, you can add pins and labels to demarcate key structures; this feature is best used in conjunction with another atlas for reference. On each flash card, if you click on a labeled structure, you can view the “Structure Detail” information, which lists some pertinent features (eg. function or a nerve or attachments of a muscle). There are also direct links to Wikipedia and Google should you seek more detail. Finally, the app indicates other Flash Cards in which the same structure appears so that you can see all views possible.

As other reviewers have noted, it would be really swell if a user could add their own notes to the “Structure Detail” section, but perhaps this tool is better suited to quick review than to in-depth studying. Speaking of in-depth, with the zoom-feature, I could see the renal pelvis in far more detail than I ever have in real life - the only thing that would make it better would be rotatable 3D images, like those in 3D brain.

Done looking at pretty pictures? If you need a challenge, switch from Study mode to Quiz mode, where you have to locate a structure on the provided prosection. Though handy, it’s a little easier than real life, and the danger is that you’ll start memorizing ‘where the labels go’ without intimately familiarizing yourself with the physical structure.

Consider replacing your paper flash cards today – this app will give you all the functionality of cue-cards but won’t degrade with time, and won’t add another 2lbs your backpack. Overall, the software experience is not the same as being elbow deep in bowel, but it makes a great study aid whether on the bus on the way to a bell-ringer gross anatomy exam, or cramming before you scrub in with a pimptastic general surgeon.