Anatomy for beginners

The title in the TV Guide had me curious, what is this show Anatomy for Beginners? Clicking on the title opened another window with this description, This four-part series profiles Professor Gunther von Hagens’ work which is considered by many to be shocking and controversial. However, von Hagens believes that the dissections he performs on human bodies lay bare the intricacy of the human design. Shocking and controversial eh? I marked the show on my personal TV guide and watched the show.

The first episode tackled movement, with German anatomist Gunther von Hagen who invented plastination, dissecting a cadaver to show how the muscles, tendons and ligaments in our body work. I must admit that it was the first time I’ve watched a real dissection and let’s just say it left a lasting impression in my mind. It was indeed shocking, confronting and yet after the initial revulsion, was also quite riveting. While we’ve all seen drawings of the human body, they just don’t do justice to the real thing. It was also fascinating to see how the different small parts all work together to make various parts of our bodies function.

The succeeding episodes discussed circulation, digestion and finally, reproduction. Although not for the faint of heart, it is a must-see for all people interested in anatomy, maybe more so for people studying medicine. It’s also a great way to appreciate the different parts of our bodies. I’ve always been fascinated by the brain but now have a newly found appreciation for the lungs, who ever imagined that those pair of unassuming sacs could be so beautiful? A pair of healthy ones, at least. I remember one of the show’s presenters commenting that if we humans have transparent skins on our chests, we would take better care of our lungs.

I guess von Hagens’ enthusiasm for his work also shows that even the most difficult subjects could be made interesting by a great teacher. Credit must be given as well to Professor John A. Lee, whose explanations give the audience background information and depth to the topic at hand. The series is now available on DVD, Live and Uncut Anatomy for Beginners (an unintended pun on uncut?) According to the voice-over announcer at the end of the show, it is now available at Dymocks and JB Hi-fi for those who are interested.

Published in: on August 7, 2006 at 11:40 pm  Comments (3)