Milne Lecture Features 3-D Anatomy Software

The Frank J. Milne Lecture is named for AAEP past president and distinguished life member Frank J. Milne. Each year, the lecture focuses on subjects and techniques considered "state of the art" by the equine veterinary industry.

We've long known that "hands-on" learning helps an individual grasp a concept and retain knowledge. But what happens when one can't see what his or her hand is touching, as in an equine rectal examination? James N. Moore, DVM, PhD, of the University of Georgia, knew the difficulties of teaching equine gastrointestinal (GI) anatomy, so he helped develop the "Glass Horse." This digital, three-dimensional electronic horse model allows students to view the GI tract from any angle, see how the various parts work, and visualize what happens when a part malfunctions. Moore will be presenting "A New Look at Equine Gastrointestinal Anatomy, Function, and Selected Intestinal Displacements" in the first part of the Frank J. Milne State of the Art Lecture on Nov. 26.

Moore is one of the world's foremost authorities on equine gastrointestinal disease. He has been head of the Department of Large Animal Veterinary Medicine at the University of Georgia since 1995, and has a joint appointment as a professor in the Department of Physiology and Pharmacology. In 1999, he received the World Veterinary Association Research Award.

"For the last 20 years, I've been teaching about colic and intestinal displacements and all the things that happen in the horse's GI tract," Moore explains. "Students have a lot of trouble envisioning these intestinal displacements. In order to diagnose the condition, you must have a 3-D mental image about what's going on under the skin. Your only way of telling is through a rectal exam."

Moore says he relates to the problems many students and veterinarians have trying to learn anatomy from two-dimensional images in a book. "We've created animations showing how we think intestinal displacements occur--you can watch the colon twist around, bend over on itself, and become ischemic (lose its blood supply). Students can run the movie in their heads and figure out, 'Is that what I feel on a rectal exam?' "

The "glass horse" CD-ROM will be available to the public for the first time at the AAEP Convention. Part of the proceeds will benefit the educational program at the University of Georgia that utilizes this technology to create these animations.

The second part of Moore's presentation is "A Perspective on Endotoxemia," which will use the same 3-D visualization software. "There are a lot of intracellular responses to grasp when learning about endotoxemia (the presence of deadly bacterial toxins that enter the bloodstream when the intestinal cells die)," he said. "We've created a series of animations that show the toxins, the interior of cells, and the living structures, and we will be using those movies to show how endotoxins cause their ill effects."

Moore will review some of the current treatments for endotoxemia, and will discuss some potential targets for future treatments that might interfere with the effects of endotoxins.

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