The Medical Educator’s Resource Guide

John R. Cotter, Ph.D.

This issue of the Medical Educator’s Resource Guide introduces us to websites concerned with embryology, the inner ear, radiology and eponyms.

Besides providing mini lessons on several aspects of embryological development, the developer of Human Embryology Animations, Dr. Valerie O’Loughlin, uses pre- and posts-tests to measure learning and a survey to evaluate the effectiveness of the instructional content and the animations used in the lessons. Participation in the practice tests, the post-tests and the survey is entirely anonymous and not required by the author.

It should be noted that the use of Lieberman’s eRadiology is strictly limited by the terms and conditions set forth by the author. The restrictions serve as a reminder that a website cannot always be used freely even when the user only wishes to use the site or some aspect of the site for educational purposes.

The intent of Who Named It? is to provide background information on the men and women in science and medicine for which diseases, anatomical structures, tests and so on are named. Thus far, the website reports having over eight thousand eponyms, and with time, the number of entries is expected to nearly double.

Human Embryology Animations. Indiana University.

The Indiana University website on human embryology contains computer animations that reconstruct the sequence of events involved in the embryological development of the heart, the gastrointestinal tract, and the head and neck regions of the body. The authors also plan to extend the site to include animations of limb and urogenital system development. The website’s visual depiction of embryology is accompanied by a concise narrative. One drawback to the site is that it does not address all of the areas of embryology or congenital anomalies of the topics included in the site. The development of specific areas, e.g., the development of the parts of the heart, is illustrated with individual animations. The website features quizzes that test knowledge before and after viewing the animations. The brevity of the animations and an element of user control, i.e., the ability to pause and rewind the animations, encourage multiple viewings and therefore enhance comprehension of the material. The imagery combined with a variety of viewing angles provides a 3-dimensional view of development. (Reviewed by Basem Attum, M.S., University of Louisville Medical School.)

Introduction to Cochlear Mechanics.

Dr. Dennis Freeman has produced an outstanding and accessible visualization and explanation of the sensory cells in the inner ear and their response to sound. The website presents microscopic video images and animations of cochlear and cochlear hair cell movement as well as lucid text, electron microscope images, and diagrams. Stroboscopic microphotographs of the inner ear while stimulating the ear with sound are combined in sequence to produce brief video clips. The site includes images and diagrams of the hair cell and its stereocilia, with a description of their dimensions, physiological function, and the experimental method used including the use of optical sectioning. Most outstanding are the animations of cochlear micromechanics and videos of hair cell movement. The author describes the videos as the first such images of hair cell and tectorial membrane responses. Illustrations range from the macroscopic to the membrane level. The author is a professor of electrical engineering, but the site is useful for basic science instructors and students in physiology, neuroanatomy, and neurobiology. The images and videos can be assigned for self-study or inserted in PowerPoint presentations of the structure and physiology of the ear and its component parts. (Reviewed by Robert Lavine, Ph.D., The George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences.)

Lieberman’s eRadiology. Harvard Medical School.

This website offers a comprehensive guide to learning radiology applicable to the clinical setting. Though the content is distinctly geared toward use by medical students and residents, anyone with a basic understanding of anatomy/radiology would find this site useful. In the Primary Care Radiology section, case-based problems are presented in an easy Q and A format allowing the user to make interactive patient workup recommendations. The Tutorials sections offers in depth video presentations on radiological imaging of various areas of the body. The ‘lesion localizer’ link in this section does a beautiful job of interfacing clinical neurology with radiology. In the Classics section, users will find an array of archived images demonstrating typical pathology in nearly every part of the body. The links to Learning Labs and Living Anatomy offer an assortment of beneficial student-created presentations on clinical radiology. The website excels in its ability to help users make medical imaging diagnoses and concomitantly understand the clinical reasoning for such decisions. In most features, patient workup algorithm charts are available with emphasis on medical imaging choices. By simulating challenges found in the clinical setting and presenting them to the user, the site does a marvelous job of honing the skills of healthcare professional students exposed to radiological imaging. Overall, the website is simple to navigate and users will reap the rewards of its content in their ability to evaluate medical images. (Reviewed by Paul Gruber, B.S., The Ohio State University.)

Who Named It? is billed as the world’s most comprehensive source of medical eponyms. When last viewed, it contained 8253 eponyms linked to 3270 persons. Users can search by using the name of a person, eponym or by searching a list of eponyms, categories, the names of people grouped by country of origin or the names of women. The repository of eponyms provides a definition, the names of the people associated with the eponym, and a biography of varying length. (Reviewed by John R. Cotter, Ph.D., University at Buffalo.)

The Journal of the International Association of Medical Science Educators invites members to submit reviews of their favorite websites to The Medical Educator’s Resource Guide. If you know of a website that is especially suited for education, send the submission to Please include the URL and a short critique summarizing the content and utility of the site. All submissions will be reviewed for relevance, content and length. Revisions, if necessary, will be made in consultation with the author.