Cutting into a digital cadaver can be more educational than the real thing for certain medical students, a new study found.
The study, "Use of Computer-Aided Holographic Models Improves Performance in a Cadaver Dissection-Based Course in Gross Anatomy," compared the ability of 265 first-year med students to identify anatomical structures when looking at cadavers, preserved body parts and digital models. It found that especially students who are struggling in med school appear to benefit from being taught anatomy in several different ways.
Across three practical exams, the top one-fifth of students in the study scored around 90 percent no matter the methodology. The bottom one-fifth of students, however, performed significantly better when reviewing digital models. Across the three exams, those students' test scores increased; on one test, average scores jumped from an F to a low C when students were asked to identify anatomical structures on a digital model versus a cadaver.