Throughout recorded history, the relationships between biological structure and function have been central to the understanding of health and disease. For many centuries, the anatomy illustrations originally created during the medieval period formed the basis for the study of medicine. But learning and understanding anatomic structures is limited by the fundamentally two-dimensional images traditionally used to teach them. The digital computer now allows scientists to acquire, store, manipulate, and display complex images. In 1989, the National Library of Medicine (NLM) began a project to use computer technologies to build a prototype digital image library of data representing a complete normal adult human male and female. In this paper, the author describes the beginnings of this project, the Visible Human Project (VHP), the digital images currently available in the VHP database, ongoing research and development, and plans for the future of the VHP.
Created Date: 12 July 1999; Completed Date: 12 July 1999; Revised Date: 13 November 2001
© 1999 Association of American Medical Colleges