Sunday, July 27, 2008

Free hypertension slides

Here's a set of free PowerPoint slides about the latest findings and recommendations regarding hypertension from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute:

I recommend downloading the PowerPoint version (rather than using the online slide viewer), then hunting through each one to grab slides that you can simply drag into your own PowerPoint presentation. Record the URL of the original source in the Notes section of each slide you use, so you can track them down again later if you need to . . . and to verify that they are OK to use for educational use in case someone asks you. You may want to paste in their statement of "NHLBI is pleased to be able to offer this slide set for public use."

Looking for more free slides? I'm starting a listing at The A&P Professor website at I'm JUST STARTING so don't expect much now . . . but if you click the Watch this Page button when you get there you'll stay up to date as I add more.

If you have links or slides that you want to contribute, then email me at

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Microscopy breakthrough

Some of us spend time in our A&P course reminding our students of the chemistry that they should already know before they came to our course, right?

One of the big issues for students is being able to visualize all those tiny bits that we professors seem to be so taken with . . . molecules, ions, atoms, and so on. Of course the easiest way to visualize something is to show them a picture, eh?

Until recently, the best we could do in showing "real" pictures of atoms was a few large atoms shown in a group, as if they were eggs lined up in a carton. Now, in the July 17th issue of Nature, scientists say they have created superthin, one-atom-thick membranes made of graphene (a form of graphite) in which individual carbon and hydrogen atoms can be imaged.

Go to the World Science article at to learn more and to find a drawing of graphene and a photo of carbon and hydrogen atoms that you can share with your students.

Thursday, July 24, 2008


If you're a teacher of human anatomy and/or physiology and you're not a member of HAPS--the Human Anatomy and Physiology Society--then you should be!

HAPS is an organization dedicated solely to supporting folks like you and me. Folks from all levels of education from secondary, to community college, to four-year schools and universities, to medical education are welcomed into a collegial, supportive atmosphere.

The annual conference is an informal but power-packed week of update seminars by experts in most fields of human biology, workshops in which A&P professors share their tips, tricks, successes, and failures, and a lot of opportunities for networking with folks from all over North America.

Besides the annual conference and the occasional regional conference, there are resources such as a model curriculum, animal use resources, safety resources, cadaver use resources, standardized student testing, and so much more!

One of my favorite HAPS resources is the HAPS EDucator (HAPS ED), the official journal of the society. It's packed with organization news and updates, teaching tips, content updates, and more.

Another favorite is HAPS Institute . . . a rather biased opinion considering that I'm the Director of HAPS Institute (HAPS-I) and a member of the faculty. HAPS-I is the professional continuing education program of HAPS. The program offers several graduate biology courses each year in flexible formats geared to the academic life. Graduate biology credit from the University of Washington is granted in the courses, which focus on both content and teaching applications in areas often perceived as being hard to understand, hard to learn, and hard to teach. I'll be sharing more about HAPS-I in another message soon!

Monday, July 21, 2008

ECG animation

As I was surfing around today, I ran across this great Shockwave animation showing the waves of an electrocardiogram in the three appendicular leads as the electrical vector is plotted on the heart:

It automatically plays at an appropriate speed to see what's going on . . . as long as you watch it several times, each time following a different aspect. But it also has a "step" button that allows you to step through the animation in tiny increments to follow the simultaneous processes even more carefully. It's brilliantly done!

One could link to the animation during a lecture and play it through as you explain the electrical activity of the heart. Or provide the link to students for self-study.

But even if we don't get to this level of discussion in our classes, I think it's great for reinforcing our own visualization of the electrical activity of the heart and its relationship to the "normal" ECG waves.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008


Most of us mention the concept of doping in our A&P courses because it's an ever present issue in our society and therefore a good way to help students apply their knowledge of human structure and function to practical scenerios. In Olympic years, it becomes an even more potent way to draw students interest into the world of human A&P.

Doping in its broadest sense is adding something to the body. We usually think of it in a more specific sense of adding some sort of enhancer to the body, usually into the bloodstream. It could be extra RBCs (blood doping) or erythropoietin (EPO), both of which increase hematocrit (RBC ratio) and thus expand oxygen-carrying capacity and thereby promote improved athletic endurance. Or it could be synthetic androgens to promote the protein anabolism that enhances muscle development and strength.

Did you know that there is a World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) with a mission "to promote, coordinate, and monitor the fight against doping in sport in all its forms?" Visit The A&P Professor website to find links to their current "code," the "prohibited list," and how to get their FREE DVD about doping in athletics.

The August 2008 issue of Popular Science magazine has an interesting article about trends in athletic doping called Juicing 3.0. For example, it brings up myostatin blockers that can dramatical increase the size and strength of muscle. And of course, the concept of genetic enhancement is discussed.

Besides referring your students to your school's library (assuming they subscribe to Popular Science), probably the easiest way to share the essential content of this article (in the form of gallery of examples) is to link to from your course website or in an email.

You could use the linked information as an optional resource for those interested in the topic or as a place to send students who ask questions in class. Another idea is to assign it as an online discussion topic in your online/web-enhanced course. Or it could be the subject of an essay in which students apply their knowledge of A&P and also express their own informed opinions.

For an expanded version of this entry, with more tips, links, and resources, visit The A&P Professor website.

Friday, July 4, 2008


This blog, and it's companion website The A&P Professor, is an outgrowth of something I started at my original website, Lion Den. In providing resources for my own students, I found that many other A&P professors from around the world were interested in using some of them for their own students. So I began posting A&P teaching resources at Lion Den specifically for my colleagues.

I also found that my work in writing a series of A&P textbooks, lab manuals, and reference books necessarily led me to be continually research updated concepts, new learning methods, and new teaching tools. All of which I'm itching to share with my colleagues. Collaboration and collegiality are some of the things I really like about academic life!

So this blog and The A&P Professor website will be a vehicle for sharing what I have . . . and is certainly open for you to share what you have!

I'll also be keeping you up to date with our textbooks and related materials. And some of the teaching and learning concepts behind why the books are constructed in the manner they are. Even for those of you that don't use them, you'll find what I have to tell you interesting and useful.

(By the way, The A&P Professor website is not quite ready. But I'll be sure to post it's Grand Opening on this blog when it is ready!)

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