According to a study published by British researchers, an alarming number of people are ignorant of many basic anatomical facts.
The researchers showed several hundred people drawings of a male or female body featuring the major organs. The pictures included one organ in place and the rest misplaced.
Of the more than seven-hundred people interviewed, only half knew where the heart belongs. And only a third got the position of the lungs right. On the brighter side, more than eighty-five percent of people got the intestines right, and eighty percent knew where the bladder belongs.
But of course, that means that twenty percent whiffed when it came to locating the bladder. So, many people, at least in England, don't know their anatomy. So what?
More Knowledge, Better Health?
For one thing, the study's results were about the same as a similar study done in the 1970s. Over the past forty years, we've gained little ground in educating people about what's inside the body.
It seems reasonable that knowing more about what's inside us and how organs work is generally a good thing. More importantly, how much or how little we know about anatomy can affect our health.
Healthy Life Choices
Other studies have shown that, given the general ignorance of anatomy, doctors shouldn't assume that patients understand what their organs are and how they work, even when a patient is being treated for a diseased or failed organ!
Does knowing more about the body translate to people making healthier life choices? It's hard to say. But more anatomical knowledge certainly can't hurt.