BioDigital: 3D Human Visualization Platform for Anatomy and Disease

By Ronald Savage, EdD

Since President Obama announced Project Brain (Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies), scientists have focused upon exploring and understanding the human brain like never before. We have been rapidly expanding our knowledge through fMRI, PET, ECoG, and we are now even “Google mapping” the human brain and body.

The BioDigital Human has been described as “Google Earth meets the human body” (ABC News). It’s a cloud-based, virtual map of the human body that uses interactive visualization technology to better explain medical conditions and concepts The New York based-company has won numerous major awards and accolades, including the 2015 Webby Award for best health website and the Silver Award in Research and Education at the 2015 Edison Awards. The BioDigital Human now claims more than 2 million users across mobile, tablet, and web platforms offering interactive 3D models for understanding anatomy, disease and treatments options.

In fact, over the past few years, BioDigital has worked closely with more than 100 organizations spanning all sectors of healthcare to customize its virtual human body to specific use cases. For example, The National Institutes of Health is using BioDigital to map bacteria in the body. For myFace, a nonprofit that provides treatment to patients with craniofacial conditions, the virtual human enables doctors worldwide to learn how to perform a number of surgical procedures from afar. NYU School of Medicine and other teaching hospitals are integrating BioDigital Human models into the curriculum such as their high definition 3D brain model. Lastly, while this information is important to healthcare professionals, it is important to the public as well. According to the latest PEW report, 72 percent of Internet users searched for health information online in the past 12 months. And 77 percent of that group, not surprisingly, most often consulted Google (or another search engines) as their online MD of choice.

For brain injury professionals, the imaging and information on the human brain offers a unique learning environment to explore the brain and traumatic brain injury, as well as other neurological conditions (e.g., seizures, strokes, dementia, aneurysm, cognitive impairment, coma, memory, headache, concussion, malformations, etc.).  BioDigital’s developer API can allow researchers to map data to distinct regions of their 3D brain model, becoming an intuitive visual layer for connecting research data, educational material & medical information.

For a trial look at the BioDigital Human go to

Public Knowledge of “concussion” and the different terminology used to communicate about mild traumatic brain injury (MTBI)

McKinlay, A., Bishop, A., & McLellan, T. (2011)

Brain Injury 25(7-8), 761-766.

While brain injury continues to be represented in the popular press whether through well known personalities who experience injury, athletic injuries or those sustained by servicemen and women, there remands confusion about what is brain injury and how to respond after an injury. Certainly some of this confusion is perpetuated by professionals as they struggles to best define impact beyond the commonly used yet insufficient diagnostic categories of mild, moderate and severe. In particular this is most relevant to the terms used to describe mild traumatic brain injury and concussion.

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