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Posts from the ‘Photography’ Category

Medicine in Second Life: virtual doctors, hospitals, and of course, sperm donation

This is the second post about Second Life, the virtual world where medicine has a special place. In the first post, I wanted to describe what kind of educational possibilities Second Life has on the field of genetics. Now I wanted to know more about how medical information and health itself are organized in this artificial world.


There are just a few hospitals, most of them are totally empty as there are just some places where you can get injured. And if you die, then you register again and get a new resident. But I’ve found a virtual doctor and his hospital, Lundquist Hospital whose note says:

This hospital is the base of Dr. Jude Lundquist, a real-life doctor based in the United Kingdom. He offers free and confidental advice in the following areas…

What do you think? The question of reliability is raised again. Would you trust a virtual doctor? Even if his real-life doctor statement is true. I asked him to answer some of my questions, I’m still waiting for his answers. Below, his profile:


But here is an extremely positive example: Ann Myers Medical Center. Dr. Ann Buchanan envisions a place where Docs/Interns/Nurses/etc can train with virtual patients in diagnostics and bedside manners. One of the builders told me about that they’re still recruiting people who would be interested to take part in this work. It’s incredible! I join them to see how I can help.

It’s a real dream medical center with plenty of rooms and equipments.


The main goal is not to teach medical students how to become a surgeon, but to help them learn how to organize patients even in a complicated situation.


What I loved the most was the opportunity to hold meetings. In an international collaboration, it’s always hard to gather everybody in one place (and it’s expensive as well), but in Second Life, you can make great meetings. Look at the image below, you can sit down, upload a presentation and talk to your group. It could even be used in school classes.

According to the National Review of Medicine, the American Cancer Society and US Centers for Disease Control are early adopters. They consider Second Life as an educational opportunity they just couldn’t pass up.

Many resources, many chances to learn, libraries, databases, anything you can imagine (and anything you can create):


And yes of course, even if it’s a virtual world, it’s made by humans:


I’m going to follow medical things in Second Life and will let you know when something interesting happens. Until then, don’t misst these blogs:

Grand Rounds 3.25

It’s my honor to host this week’s Grand rounds, the weekly rotating carnival of the best of the medical blogosphere. Medical students think alike: in preparing for this edition I came across an earlier Monty Python theme, The Holy Grail of GR at The Rumors Were True. Now, I decided to use some medicine and health care related Monty Python videos to provide funny moments while reading all the nearly 60 submitted articles.

I hope you’re going to enjoy this edition. Let’s start with one of my favourite subjects: from prenatal care to childhood. Also don’t miss the Python’s hospital sketch about a childbirth below:

  • Hsien Hsien Lei at Genetics and Health writes about Dr. Rav Dhallan of Ravgen and shares her thoughts on prenatal testing.
  • Health Observances blog examines the economic impact of birth defects, or the folic acid awareness.
  • Tales from the Womb presents Baby Toby Saga, a collaborative mini-series created with Dream Mom. The idea was to pilot a new form of short story on the blogosphere between a physician and a patient. Don’t miss any of the chapters.
  • Healthy Children’s post, Enhance Your Kids with Drugs, Machines, and Perfect Genes asks parents: which group will they choose for their kids: the enhanced or the ordinary?
  • Dr. Wes talks about a headline story, the relationship between trans fat and milk (Milk Might Be Harmful to Children).

Let’s continue with many bloggers’ main subject, diet from several aspects:

Mr. Gumby, in the Python video below, can’t find a nurse, but we always find the best posts of our favourite nurse bloggers:

Posts on Diabetes care:

Before watching a video on a hospital in which the doctors relax and the patients do all of the work, let’s see the usual health care section:

  • Dr. David Erani at asks the big question: is death penalty disproportionately used against the poor?
  • Kevin, M.D. (1 doctor for 18,000 patients) and Universal Health (From Zero To Infinity And Beyond) both posted on military healthcare.
  • According to the Health Business Blog, Senators still seem to be missing the point on generic biologics.
  • Doc in the Machine describes new FDA programs which try to track drug safety and share data with the public.
  • MSSP Nexus Blog examines patient safety and mentions a book on how to build a safer health system.
  • Susan Palwick at Rickety contrivances of doing good is a volunteer ED chaplain and has written a post about the frustration of dealing with inappropriate parenting in the ED.
  • Transplant Headquarters tells us how to look up a transplant center.
  • A true story from The wait and the Wonder blog on miscommunication. For over 3 months, she thought her daughter was actively listed for a liver transplant, when she was, in fact, still listed as a status 7, inactive.
  • An other transplantation issue from A Chance to Cut is a Chance to Cure about the organ-transplant network.
  • Then The InsureBlog takes us into the far future where everyone will have access to free health care.

Our medical bloggers provided us with many interesting and instructive cases:

  • Val Jones, M.D. presents a story about a man who was bitten by a rabid bat. Did you know why rabies can cause “hydrophobia” in its victims?
  • Or did you know what is the correct way to remove a tick if it is embedded in a person or pet? Medicine for the Outdoors answers the question.
  • Odysseys of George’s first article is about an elderly lady with intestinal obstruction (fascinating images!); in the second one, he shows the sad part of medicine: death.
  • Parcho, MD knows well how to deliver a baby in medicine style.
  • Dr. Signout tells us a drug seeker’s story in the Gut reaction post.
  • And a terrible story in other things amanzi blog on sjambok syndrome.

Fun, musings, robotics and a strange video which proves that sometimes we can’t hear or see the patient even if it’s our fault. Consider this section as the editor’s choice:

I don’t know whether there have ever been an images’ section, but here it is:

At last, I hope I create a new section in the history of Grand rounds with medicine and web 2.0:

I hope you enjoyed this Grand rounds edition as I’ve had so much fun while doing it. Thank you, Nick Genes for the opportunity and all the help. Please prepare for the next edition at Blog, MD. Sorry for the irking medical Monty Python videos, but I must say that thank you for watching and good night a dingdingdingdingding

Amazing medical images at Street Anatomy

Here is a new addition to my feed reader and blogroll: Street Anatomy. The editor is Vanessa Ruiz, a graduate student in Biomedical Visualization at the University of Illinois at Chicago. She tries to share what she’s learning about her profession. And she had a perfect start, so don’t miss it.

You know well, I love writing about medical illustrations and imaging (some examples: Nikon’s Small World Gallery, The Visible Human Project, The best medical image collections, A crowded womb: 4D Ultrasound or 3D sculptures of molecules). Take a look at some of the best pregnancy related images from her site:

Image source

It looks as if the baby was just placed in the cross section.

3D sculptures of molecules

Bathsheba Grossman is an artist and her work is about life in three dimensions: working with symmetry and balance, getting from a zero point to infinity, and always finding beauty in geometry. She uses computer-aided design and three-dimensional modeling, with metal printing technology.

I loved her biology-related sculptures, so I show you two of them. You can even download some on her site.

Hemoglobin is a star of scientific history (Courtesy of Bathsheba Grossman)

The DNA Polymerase Crystal (Courtesy of Bathsheba Grossman)

A good catch from  Curious Cat Blog.

A crowded womb: 4D Ultrasound

The future of prenatal screening belongs to the 4D scan. It uses the same frequency of sound waves as a normal ultrasound, but the sound waves are directed from many more angles, producing a ‘real-time’ video of the foetus.

London-based obstetrician Professor Stuart Campbell, who is the pioneer of 4D scans in Britain, performed the scans for a National Geographic documentary.

He says: ‘It was fascinating to see the babies in more detail than ever before. I was amazed at the detail in the faces – smiles, blinking – and the interaction between multiple foetuses.’

See many more images and video clips here, or the timeline of fetal growth on the GE Healthcare page.

A new blogterview on the subject is coming soon…

Fantastic four: A silicone model of a quadruplet pregnancy (Courtesy of

Their own placenta and amniotic sac prevent them from touching each other. (Courtesy of


The best medical image collections

Sometimes when I want to illustrate my posts, I have to search so much to find proper and possibly free images. That’s why I’ve decided to create a collection of great medical image databases. Here is my list:

  1. Every time, my first destination is Wikimedia Commons that is a media repository created and maintained not by paid-for artists, but by volunteers. They have a well structured category-tree, so it’s easy to search.
  2. Then I go to the site of the Karolinska Institutet, one of the best database collections on the Internet. They say : Occasionally, the material may be downloaded and used free of charge. Normally, however, the material is strictly copyrighted, and may be used only after first having obtained explicit permission by the rightful owner.
  3. Clinical images at the University of California, San Diego is a visual educational resource dedicated to providing pictures that are representative of common and uncommon physical exam findings.
  4. A great graphics gallery of genetics.
  5. And my favourite one, the Embryo Images Online.

I’m one of the maintainers at Wikipedia’s selected images for Medicine Portal. I’ve met these wonderful ones during that work:

Animation created from a functional magnetic resonance imaging scan (fMRI) of the brain.

A dorsal root ganglion (DRG) from a chicken embryo

Top Ten Photos of 2006 From National Geographic News

It’s not absolutely about medicine, but I couldn’t resist publishing these images. I’ve just selected two from the marvelous ten.

A good catch from Corpus Callosum.

An autopsy revealed grain in the duck’s belly and little else.

Housefly Gets Glasses Made With Lasers


The Visible Human Project

I’m astonished by the efficacy of this project. The Wikipedia article says:

The Visible Human Project is an effort to create a detailed data set of cross-sectional photographs of the human body, in order to facilitate anatomy visualization applications. A male and a female cadaver were cut into thin slices which were then photographed and digitized.

Here are two images (Color Cryosections). The first shows a thorax, including the heart (with muscular left ventricle), lungs, spinal column, major vessels and musculature. The second presents a knee, including the patella.

thorax thighs
Image Source

The main result of the project is that they’ve found several errors in anatomy textbooks, related to the shape of a muscle in the pelvic region and the location of urinary bladder and prostate.

Further links:


In the womb of animals

National Geographic Channel will present a great documentary on the 10th of December.

In the Womb: Animals” is an unprecedented two-hour world premiere special that takes you inside the hidden world of animal pregnancy. Using state-of-the-art visual effects, computer graphics and real-time, moving 4-D ultrasound imagery, we can see inside the unique world of animal fetal development in a way never before possible. For the first time, these pictures shed light on how an elephant, a dolphin and a dog develop in the womb.

You can watch the preview, galleries or timelines of pregnancies with interactive learning possibilities. Behind the Scenes Facts help to understand the techniques used during the making of the film.

© 1996-2006 National Geographic Society. All rights reserved.

Thank you, Petra, for the link.

Microscope Imaging Station

One of the best microscope sites I’ve ever seen. In the mission statement, they say:

The Exploratorium launched the most ambitious microscope facility ever created for use by the general public, the Microscope Imaging Station. The initial phase of the project gives visitors the ability to image living specimens, as well as control the microscopes themselves.

You have several possibilities in their site. You can

I show an image just to represent their fantastic work. Have a good journey!

© The Exploratorium,


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