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Saturday 24th March 2018

Britons 'baffled' by basic anatomy

12th June 2009

According to a study of 700 people in the UK many do not know where the major organs are located within the body.


Scientists at King's College London said that fundamental knowledge of anatomy has not advanced since a similar survey was performed in 1970.

Fewer than 50% could name the right place in the body where the heart was positioned. Under one third could accurately position the lungs within the body and a similar amount could not place the kidneys.

However, over 85% could name where the intestines were located.

The scientist asked participants to examine an outline of a man's body and a woman's body in order to choose where organs were located.

The team found people who suffered from diseases which affected particular organs still could not correctly place them.

More than 50% of renal patients could not accurately place the kidneys within the body. However 75.3% of liver patients correctly named the location of the organ in comparison to only 46% of the general public.

The researchers said they had been keen to revise the results of a survey carried out forty years previously.

"We thought that the improvements in education seen since then, coupled with an increased media focus on medical and health-related topics and growing access to the internet as a source of medical information, might have led to an increase in patients' anatomical knowledge," said lead researcher John Weinman.

"As it turns out, there has been no significant improvement in the intervening years."

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