Rare drawings of human anatomy from centuries past

A fascinating piece of curation from Brain Pickings. Ten centuries of anatomy drawings covering everything from Civil War wounds to anti-tuberculosis flyers from China.

For the past 175 years, the The National Library of Medicine in Bethesda has been building the world’s largest collection of biomedical images, artifacts, and ephemera. With more than 17 million items spanning ten centuries, it’s a treasure trove of rare, obscure, extravagant wonders, most of which remain unseen by the public and unknown even to historians, librarians, and curators. Until now.

 

In the new book called Hidden Treasure. Several images from it were reproduced in the blog post, 10 Centuries of Visualizing the Body in Rare Archival Images.

I chose two to give you a taste: the first is an early sketch of our skeleton and muscles, the second is a Civil War-era surgical card.

The snapshots:

 

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Hybrid surgery, a major new medical trend, reduces need for cutting open

This reminds me of Star Trek as we discover new ways to heal patients without cutting them open. This method involves half-surgery and half-minimally-invasive techniques that also take much less time:

They performed a unique, high-risk hybrid procedure that combined minimally-invasive method with traditional surgical techniques. They stopped the massive balloon-like aneurysm, replaced a failed heart valve, repaired another valve and also closed a hole in Patricia Crawford’s heart.

Now, just a few weeks since the successful Feb. 7 procedure, Crawford is much more active and energetic, and only taking medications for her heart. Most importantly, she no longer needs a heart-lung transplant.

Such hybrid surgeries are the start of a major medical trend, said Dr. Jamil Aboulhosn, director of the Ahmanson-UCLA Adult Congenital Heart Disease Center.

“We’re able to do more for high-risk patients like Patti than ever before. We’re performing more creative procedures that blend traditional surgery and minimally-invasive techniques to help patients who previously had few or no options.”

Dr. Hillel Laks and the operating room team started with traditional surgical methods, placing her on the heart-lung machine and opening the aneurysm by her heart.

Aboulhosn then employed the hybrid intervention by using a new balloon-mounted “melody valve” to replace her failing pulmonary valve and to close the hole in her heart. These two procedures, which normally would take more than an hour to complete surgically, only took 10 minutes thanks to the less-invasive valve-replacement technique.

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