Thursday, September 29, 2016

Here's the Scoop!

This blog is a way for me to communicate with users and potential adopters of my anatomy and physiology textbook, The Human Body in Health & Disease.

In coming months, look for brief articles that explain the learning theory behind our textbook's features and design. I'll alert you to changes to each new edition—and the rationale behind them. There will be behind-the-scenes information about how the book is created. I'll describe best practices in using the textbook in your course, with your students.

To start the ball rolling, I'll tell you about that crazy image on the cover of the new 7th edition due out in February 2017.

It's a scanning electron micrograph (SEM) of methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus—often called MRSA (MER-sah). The image has false color added, rendering the MRSA organisms as a golden yellow.  The large, reddish, blob-like structure is the remains of a dead human neutrophil.

The image was selected for several reasons. We wanted a dramatic but "real" photo as the main image.  We looked for something from the human body, but also were interested in reflecting the "disease" and related clinical aspects of the textbook's content.  MRSA is an important pathogenic bacterium in human medicine, and this micrograph shows the damage to human cells that it can wreak in the human body.

An interesting classroom or online discussion exercise to ask students what it looks like to them. When the answer is discovered, ask students what they already know about bacterial infections—and MRSA in particular.  This may serve as part of your first-day class activities to generate interest and interaction among a new group of learners!

Photo: NIAID

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