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Despite changes in the undergraduate medical curriculum, a sound understanding of how the body is built and functions remains fundamental to all aspects of medicine, not least the interpretation of the products of the new imaging systems. Most diagnoses have to be arrived at from an examination of the intact living body and so an understanding of the functional anatomy of the living body and how it should be examined, remains a critical skill for practitioners. The second edition of the Oxford Textbook of Functional Anatomy considers changes in the medical curriculum and pays careful attention to whether or not some item of information is likely to be helpful either in aiding the understanding of the principles of body structure or in everyday clinical practice. As a result, all guidance on dissection and the origins and insertions of individual muscles, on which students in the past have spent a disproportionate amount of time, have been largely removed from the text and are indicated instead of the relevant illustrations. Emphasis on the anatomy of the living subject has been increased, and to underline the increasing importance of non-invasive imaging, there are more computerized tomograms and magnetic resonance imaging. Many of these have been merged with the text in addition to separate subsections which present them in ordered sequence.
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Pamela MacKinnon is Formerly at the Department of Human Anatomy and Genetics, University of Oxford, UK. John Morris is a University Lecturer, Professor of Anatomy and Acting Head of Department, Department of Human Anatomy and Genetics, University of Oxford, UK.
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