1. Shepard, Paul M.

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Do you teach or are you taking a course in anatomy and physiology any time soon? With my return to graduate school I am looking forward to advanced physiology. Why? Well, because I have met ADAM-Animated Dissection of Anatomy for Medicine.


The producers of ADAM have numerous products to assist with the study of anatomy and physiology at just about any level. At the University of Arkansas for the Medical Sciences campus (Little Rock, AK) I have viewed portions of ADAM Comprehensive, the flagship product in the Scholar Series. This CD-ROM software allows nursing, medical, and other health science students and professionals to explore the human anatomy from any of 1000 layers of accurate illustrations in the anterior, posterior, medial, lateral, or medial/lateral orientation. This program, a collaboration of numerous medical illustrators and anatomy instructors, identifies some 22,000 distinct structures at the point and click of the user. Views of the 12 major body systems can be isolated with extensive text overviews and audio pronunciations for identified structures. The terminology in ADAM Comprehensive is at the graduate or professional level.


Supplemental information on histology, radiology, magnetic resonance imaging, and cross-sectional views are just a click away. There are separate CD-ROM "animation books" available to tie-in to the main program, including ones related to obstetrics and gynecology, trauma, and orthopedics. Additionally, by using the ADAM Studio, multimedia projects can be created by customizing the ADAM imagery. For example, a professor could add personal materials in the form of text, slides, photographs, or computer-generated graphics using the Studio's linking ability to illustrate common pathologies or procedures for students.


I have had the pleasure of extended use of the ADAM Standard CD-ROM. Like its "big brother" in the Scholar Series, it brings the world of anatomy and physiology to the screen from just about any angle. Although not as extensive, ADAM Standard also allows for detailed study of the male/female anatomy with terminology geared to the undergraduate level. Likewise, it can quickly locate and highlight any of more than 18,000 structures using the "Find" function and provide links to supplemental areas of histology, radiology, cross-sectional views, and magnetic resonance images. Correct audio pronunciations and text overviews are provided from within each body system. A "magnifying glass" tool provides a closer look at isolated structures and surrounding tissues. The ADAM Standard package also can be used in conjunction with the ADAM Studio and optional animation books to create multimedia works.


I also have used and enjoyed their product for the home market called ADAM The Inside Story, which is a rare, entertaining, and educational multimedia experience. It uses the same medical illustrations as the academic versions to explore the anatomy by layering or body system, although without as much detail and the terminology is geared for the lay public. Additionally, The Inside Story has the "Family Scrapbook" which is an interface for examining each body system via stories that illustrate the associated physiology via full-color animations. This CD-ROM is packed with more than 4 hours of these humorous, illustrative multimedia vignettes.


Overall, my experience in loading and running the ADAM software can be described as uneventful and straightforward. The documentation accompanying the ADAM Standard program was confusing, so I put it away and did not need to look at it except when figuring out a quirky problem with "zooming out" the anatomical figure in the examination window after I somehow managed to shrink the body to an incredibly small size. I eventually found the information. The documentation with The Inside Story was simple. I cannot remember if I read it; I am sure I did not need to.


The performance on my 486-Dx2 66MHz (8 MB RAM) Windows machine is pretty good, but there are pauses during operation while massive amounts of code are moved from the double-speed CD-ROM to the computer's memory. I would not want to try running this type of software on anything slower than a fast 486 or its equivalent in the Macintosh world.


Minimum system requirements (Windows): 386/33MHz or higher processor (486 or higher strongly recommended); Windows 3.1 or higher; 4 MB of RAM (8MB RAM required for Scholar Series and recommended for The Inside Story); 6 to 9 MB hard disk space (per program); SVGA color monitor/256 colors; double-speed CD-ROM drive; MPC-compatible sound card.


Minimum system requirements (Macintosh): 68030 processor, 16MHz or higher; System 7; 8 MB RAM; 5 to 11 MB hard disk space (per program); 9-inch or larger monitor/ 256 colors (13-inch monitor required for ADAM Comprehensive); double-speed CD-ROM drive.


Reviewed by


Paul M. Shepard