If you attended public school or pretty much any institution of higher education, the odds are fairly good that at some point you used a McGraw-Hill textbook for one of your classes. Established in 1909, McGraw-Hill has been a well-respected name in educational publishing circles for decades.

When I was offered the opportunity to check out their latest title, Anatomy & Physiology REVEALED®, I jumped at the chance. The app offers an amazing look at all of the systems that make up the human body, with details usually reserved only for Medical Students and Serial Killers (of which I can assure you, I am neither). In broad strokes, it is a virtual dissection app that lets you go layer by layer into every component of the human body, exploring skeletal, muscular, nervous, cardiovascular, lymphatic, respiratory, integumentary, digestive, urinary, reproductive & endocrine systems. The app goes much deeper than just a series of photographs, it’s a study aid, a reference book and a learning tool with plenty of knowledge to impart.

In my High School Biology class we were never given the opportunity to perform a dissection, even our planned starfish dissection lab was cancelled. In a way it almost feels like I missed out on some sort of right of passage. I know there are a number of great apps to simulate animal dissections, but unless you plan on becoming a medical doctor or a Chilean soccer team trapped in the Andes you will (hopefully) never be dissecting a human cadaver. Even if the opportunity to attend an actual Gross Anatomy class were to somehow arise, I have no doubt it wouldn’t take but a second for me to be laid out flat on the floor unconscious.

That leaves but one option for those curious about human anatomy and physiology or a career in the medical field…to simply read about it. However, big textbooks tend to be dry and dully two-dimensional, leading to more mind wandering than actual learning and comprehension. With Anatomy & Physiology REVEALED® the folks at McGraw-Hill have found a way to make the experience interactive and more compelling.

The app’s photographs look so lifelike on the third gen iPad’s Retina screen that all that is missing is the smell of formaldehyde. Using an amazingly effective layering technique to let your curious mind “peel away layers of the human body to reveal more than 5,000 anatomical structures”. Complementing the photos are a plethora of medical X-Rays, MRIs and CT scans to help users practice identifying components of the body, audible tags to help you properly pronounce each structure. There are also videos to show how complex systems work, interactive slides to learn microscopy anatomy of cells tissues and comprehensive search and bookmarking features for finding and marking sections. A cool note taking system allows for both text and voice-based annotations. The app even contains a built-in self-test, quizzing system that helps you gauge your comprehension and memory by assessing your ability to identify various anatomical structures.

While the app does a fantastic job at helping students identify, pronounce and locate anatomical structures, it doesn’t always provide a lot of detail about exactly what purpose each of these serves. This is one area where the app could be expanded as I could see this being useful information to have, even if were just a few sentences that might help give the student a bit more insight and help him or her remember and understand a system better.

At $50, this app is certainly not going to be for everyone, but I can see this app being ideal for Medical Students who want a brilliant reference guide or study aid that they can carry with them anywhere they go. Doctors could use the app to help a patient understand a diagnosis. While perhaps some modules may be a bit graphic for teens, , teachers could also incorporate the app in their classrooms to explain the various systems of the human body or a College Student (or perhaps even High Schooler) could use the app for a bit of advanced learning before taking an Anatomy class or if they are considering a career in the medical field.

Anatomy & Physiology REVEALED® is broken down into five different modules and the $49.99 ‘All Systems’ app contains them all. McGraw-Hill also offers a cheaper $12.99 alternative version of the app which just comes with the Skeletal and Muscular systems module and the ability to purchase remaining four modules for $12.99 each as desired.

In Conclusion

Anatomy & Physiology REVEALED® is a detailed educational tool that can offer a more engrossing learning experience to anyone studying human anatomy and physiology. While certainly not an inexpensive purchase, the app provides a well thought-out package, from a trusted educational publisher. The cost my be prohibitive for casually interested parties but for anyone looking for a reference and/or study guide it is worth considering making the investment in this app.

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