What's Up UA? - New App Lets Med Students Study Real Human Heart on iPad - The Explorer: University Of Arizona

What's Up UA? - New App Lets Med Students Study Real Human Heart on iPad

Print
Font Size:
Default font size
Larger font size

Posted: Thursday, March 7, 2013 9:52 am

Medical students at the University of Arizona are using a new study tool this semester that lets them interact with a real human heart at home – courtesy of their iPads.

The UA-developed Heart Anatomy Explorer I application, available for iPad, Windows and Mac, lets students view, rotate and zoom in on a series of images of an actual human heart as they learn about the organ's structures.

Providing views of the heart from all angles, both in and outside the chest cavity, it's an alternative to color-coded textbook drawings or illustrated digital applications students often use in their studies.

"A lot of times, in anatomy books, the colored images are really defined, but when you go back to the lab, it's totally different," said Nancy Phan, first-year medical student.

The ability to view and rotate images of a real heart makes it easier to understand how things fit together, said first-year medical student Katherine Nielsen.

Blue "pins" on many of the photos identify the different parts of the heart, while other images include text explaining what different structures do and how they work.

"This is a treasure," said first-year medical student Elise Vo. "The pictures are the best you could find, and the ability to be able to move them makes a big difference."

While medical students have the opportunity to interact hands-on with human cadavers in anatomy labs, the Heart Anatomy app lets them continue studying a real heart after they've left the hospital.

Most students access the app on iPads, which are issued to all medical students at the beginning of their careers in the UA College of Medicine.

The idea for the Heart Anatomy app was born from a chance run-in on an elevator between Maria Helen Czuzak, associate specialist and anatomical instructor in the department of cellular and molecular medicine, and Mark Nelson, professor of pathology.

The two, who had not previously met, got to talking and soon realized they were facing similar teaching challenges.

Czuzak was trying to come up with a way to create a digital catalog of human organs to give students in her anatomy classes a more comprehensive view of organs than they get from medical atlases of two-dimensional photos.

"When you just snap a photograph of a heart, you lose the depth and things are flat, and you can't see how things once upon a time related to each other," Czuzak said. "With the rotational, three-dimensional heart, you can rotate it, and you don't lose that depth and dimension."

At the same time, Nelson was exploring how he might use technology to give his pathology graduate students greater experience with real human organs, after funding cuts eliminated the pathology department's wet lab, where students once interacted directly with human specimens. 

Czuzak and Nelson decided to team up to create something that could serve them both.

"The ultimate goal is to be able to bring in current technology that students are adept at using and able to help them facilitate their learning," Nelson said.

They worked with the University's Office of Instruction and Assessment to develop the heart app, which, fittingly, became available for download on Valentine's Day for first-year medical students to beta test. Once the students provide feedback to Czuzak and Nelson, the app will be further improved and made available for pathology graduate students and for general release. 

Charlie Hill, principal applications systems analyst/developer in the Office of Instruction and Assessment, led the technical development of the app, while Gary Mackender, senior information technology support analyst, helped photograph the cadaver heart.

While the app only covers the heart at this time, the hope to include more organs in the future and to add functionality such as interactive quizzes for students to use in their studies, Czuzak said.

"These students are not only going to be tested on cadaver material in my class, they're going to be practicing medicine on real people," Czuzak said. "This is the advantage of using real specimens in the app – this is what they’re going to see when they open up a chest."

© 2014 The Explorer. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

More about

Welcome to the discussion.

Country Thunder Day 4

Country Thunder Day 4

Thursday 04/10/2014

What's Up UA? - Spring Fling Celebrates 40th Anniversary With Return to UA Mall

Monday 04/07/2014

Mauga’s Walkoff Sweeps Stanford

Thursday 04/03/2014

What's Up UA? - 4-H Programs Bring Enrichment and Learning to Thousands in Arizona

Monday 03/31/2014

What's Up UA? - The Viruses You Don't Know About (Yet)

Tuesday 03/25/2014

What's Up UA? - Twice Torn Apart: A UA Alumna's Road to the Paralympic Games

Tuesday 03/18/2014

What's Up UA? - Tucson Village Farm Honored as Model Program for the Nation

Friday 03/14/2014

What's Up UA? - Several UA Graduate Programs Reach New Heights

Tuesday 03/11/2014

What's Up UA? - Olympics Interns Share Sochi Experiences

Friday 03/07/2014

What's Up UA? - Seeing Cancer Differently

Wednesday 03/05/2014

What's Up UA? - UA Offers Accelerated Bachelor's to Master’s Program in Environmental Health Sciences

Tuesday 03/04/2014

What's Up UA? - Third-Ranked Men's Basketball Heads to Corvallis to Face OSU

Friday 02/28/2014

What's Up UA? - UA College of Optical Sciences to Celebrate 50th Anniversary With Laser Fun Day

Thursday 02/27/2014

What's Up UA? - Obesity-Related Gut Bacteria Higher in People in Northern Climes

Monday 02/24/2014

Wildcats Sweep Sunday Doubleheader, Series From Alcorn State

Thursday 02/20/2014

What's Up UA? - First-Year UA Minority Student Retention Rate Highest Ever

Monday 02/17/2014

What's Up UA? - The Flu and You

Friday 02/14/2014

What's Up UA? - Miller to Add to Arizona’s USA Basketball Legacy

Wednesday 02/12/2014

What's Up UA? - $10M Gift to Optical Sciences is Largest Gift for Scholarships in UA History

Monday 02/10/2014

What's Up UA? - UA Study Shows Aggressive Management of Gunshot Wounds to Brain Significantly Increases Survival

Thursday 02/06/2014

Arizona Football Announces 2014 NLI Class

Tuesday 02/04/2014

What's Up UA? - UA Wind Quintet is Finalist in National Competition

Thursday 01/30/2014

What's Up UA? - UA Undergraduate Researcher Earns Prestigious National Award

Tuesday 01/28/2014

What's Up UA? - UA Renewed as a Tillman Foundation Partner

Thursday 01/23/2014

What's Up UA? - Thousands to Celebrate Chinese New Year at UA

Tuesday 01/21/2014

What's Up UA? - UA Mathematician Earns Presidential Early Career Award

Friday 01/17/2014

What's Up UA? - Prefer dry heat to arctic chill? Genetics might be the reason

Thursday 01/16/2014

Four Players Added to January Enrollee Group

Wednesday 01/15/2014

What's Up UA? - UA Study Shows Intensive Exercise Training Program for Dementia Patients Improves Care in Clinical Setting

Monday 01/13/2014

What's Up UA? - UA-Developed Avatar is Helping to Screen New Arrivals at Bucharest Airport

Friday 01/10/2014

What's Up UA? - The First and the Best in More Than Basketball

Wednesday 01/08/2014

UA Approved for Funding Award by the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute What's Up UA? - The Virus That Makes a Disposable Syringe

Tuesday 01/07/2014

What's Up UA? - UA Medical Center’s Dr. Andreas Theodorou Elected Chair-Elect of ‘AAMC Chief Medical Officer Group’s’ Steering Committee

Friday 01/03/2014

What's Up UA? - How to Find the Rarest of the Rare in Southern Skies

Monday 12/30/2013

What's Up UA? - Hagens Takes Leap of Faith

Thursday 12/26/2013

What's Up UA? - No Matter the Continent, the World's Frogs Have a Lot in Common, UA Biologist Finds

Monday 12/23/2013

What's Up UA? - The Sound of Destruction

Friday 12/20/2013

What's Up UA? - Davis Family Commits Leadership Gift for McKale Renovation

Wednesday 12/18/2013

What's Up UA? - UA to Celebrate 149th Commencement on Saturday

Monday 12/16/2013

What's Up UA? - UA Astronomers Discover Planet That Shouldn't Be There

Wednesday 12/11/2013

What's Up UA? - Growing Hydroponic Strawberries in the Desert

Monday 12/09/2013

What's Up UA? - Carey Earns Pac-12 Player of the Year Award

Friday 12/06/2013

UA Named a Top University for Student Veterans

Monday 12/02/2013

Cats Close Regular Season with 3-1 Thriller Over ASU

Tuesday 11/26/2013

What's Up UA? - Three UA Faculty Members Inducted as Regents' Professors, Two as Distinguished Professors

Monday 11/25/2013

What's Up UA? - Cats Shock Fifth-Ranked Ducks, 42-16

Wednesday 11/20/2013

What's Up UA? - UA McGuire Center Named Innovator of the Year

Monday 11/18/2013

What's Up UA? - UA Theater Alumni, Tucson Filmmakers Unite for Sony Challenge

Wednesday 11/13/2013

What's Up UA? - Breakthrough in Retinal Implants Expected to Restore Sight to the Blind

Monday 11/11/2013

What's Up UA? - Restoring Old Main, the Project of a Lifetime
Spacer4px

Follow us on Facebook

Online poll

Loading…