36. Anatomy is a living subject.


Some of the instructors of fundamental subjects (physiology, biochemistry, microbiology, pharmacology) who know well about anatomy are disrespectful towards anatomy. They say "anatomy is a dead field of study." They would even explain to me why it is so. "Anatomy studies the dead body. A body that is alive and a body that is dead are clearly different, and that is the limitation of anatomy."

I reply as follows. It is true that anatomy has its limitations, but it is not a dead subject. A mechanic who fixes cars learns about the structure of cars first. Here is an explanation. You take off the lid of the tubes in a car and start disintegrating the tubes one by one. At this moment, you can't start the car. However, the knowledge from disintegrating the car becomes useful. Now you are able to assume what happens inside the car when it starts. In the same way, knowledge from dissecting a dead body is helpful. You can assume what goes on in a living human body.


Dr. Scifun 63Dr. Scifun 063


There is another reason why they say anatomy is a dead subject. "Anatomy taught today is no different from anatomy taught hundreds of years ago. Skull bones have not changed for hundreds of years. Do we really need to teach old-fashioned anatomy when advanced medical knowledge comes out every day?"

It is true that anatomy is an old subject, but it is not a dead subject. In the case of math, equations that were established hundreds of years ago are taught in elementary, middle, and high schools. This is because old math is well organized and has solid logics. The old anatomy is well organized and has solid logics too. It must be taught to students who enter the medical field of study. Furthermore, knowledge that was taught in an anatomy class can be verified in anatomy labs. There is no other subject in med school that has as good of a correlation between classes and labs as anatomy. Through anatomy classes and labs, students can learn about the scientific approach.


Dr. Scifun 63Dr. Scifun 063


If people still claim that there is no need to teach anatomy, here is what I say to them. Advancing medical knowledge which fluctuates so much should not be taught. Why give information when you don't know if it is going to change again? It is never too late to teach advanced medical knowledge to residents or graduate students who graduated from med school.

Lastly, some may say, "anatomy was all figured out hundreds of years ago. Is there anything else to study?"

It is true anatomy was all understood long time ago, but it is not a dead subject. Anatomy instructors find out new facts even today. Every time new diagnosis or treatment arises from the hospital, human body must be examined from different point of view. Then, associated anatomical studies are released. For example, after Computerized Tomography and Magnetic Resonance Imaging were developed, cross-sectional anatomy made progress. Anatomical study doesn't get you a Nobel Prize, but it can help the doctors make diagnosis and treat patients. The difference between a study with human body and a study with lab animals is that the study with human body can provide direct assistance to making accurate diagnosis and providing proper treatment. Anatomy should not be disrespected just because it is not an advancing knowledge.


43Dr. Anatophil 043


Some instructors of fundamental subjects ruthlessly say to me, "How can a living person deal with dead people?" Then, I ruthlessly reply, "You people say you are ethical towards the lab animals but still, how can a living person kill live animals?" You might think of a cadaver as being sickening, but lab animals are much more disgusting to me. This is because, as in most cases, things that you are not used to are bound to be uncomfortable. We think that the bugs are disgusting, but the bugs would think that we are disgusting as well. Anyhow, anatomy is not a dead subject.