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Anatomy Atlases: Atlas of Microscopic Anatomy: Preface to the First Edition Atlas of Microscopic Anatomy

Preface to the First Edition

Ronald A. Bergman, Ph.D., Adel K. Afifi, M.D., Paul M. Heidger, Jr., Ph.D.
Peer Review Status: Externally Peer Reviewed


This atlas of microscopic anatomy was prepared with the student as the foremost consideration. It is hoped that this collection of photornicrographs will materially aid the student in his or her initial and continuing efforts to recognize and, most important, to understand the structure and function of cells, tissues, and organs as revealed by light microscopy.

The student of microscopic anatomy usually begins his or her study by examining tissue slices that are stained with dyes of various colors or impregnated with soluble metallic salts. These methods have been developed during the past 200 years to reveal structural details of cells, tissues, and organs that cannot be recognized or investigated by any other means. New techniques are being developed continually to further our understanding. Routine and special methods employed by the light microscopist have defined biological structures and are the foundation from which biochemical and physiological studies arise and are correlated.

Staining is an essential part of the methods used by the light microscopist, and the student must recognize the use of the more important techniques if more than a superficial understanding of biological tissues is to be gained. For this reason, the illustrations in this atlas are in color; insofar as these staining techniques are understood, they reveal very precise and specific information about structure.

No single staining method available to the microscopist can adequately reveal each and every detail of biological structure. It is important, therefore, that the student understand that if a complete picture is to be obtained several staining methods must be employed. Because it is recognized that students experience some difficulty in remembering the various methods available, the photographs in this atlas have been selected to demonstrate some of the most important and useful techniques. It is hoped that this atlas will be a continuing source of reference during and beyond the elementary courses of study.

Loan collections to which most students have access are varied in their completeness and in the staining methods that have been employed. In order to provide additional reference material, the authors have included photomicrographs of cells, tissues, and organs that may not be included in basic student loan collections.

This book is not intended to replace comprehensive textbooks of histology or neuroanatomy or other original sources of information but rather to complement them and to be the basis for additional in- depth inquiry into details of structure and function.

Although the light microscopic structures of both humans and animal have been thoroughly investigated, detailed structural-functional correlations remain as an important field for continuing research. The light microscope and the varied methods available to the student of cell anatomy and physiology will yield much new information. In conjunction with the electron microscope, the light microscope will continue as a primary tool in unifying and clarifying our understanding of anatomy, biochemistry, physiology, and pathology.

We are indebted to many, most of whom are unknown to us personally, whose extraordinary talent has resulted in this atlas. Many of the slides that were photographed have been handed down through several generations of microscopic anatomists. The oldest slide in our possession was prepared 80 years ago. Other slides were prepared specifically for this book. It is to these master craftsmen and to those researchers whose genius has given us the methods we use in the study of microscopic anatomy that this atlas is dedicated. Some of the names of these individuals appear in the text and appendices.

More directly involved in the preparation of this atlas were M. Z. M. Ibrahim, Tamir Nassar, Nuha Nuwayri-Salti, Farid Khuri, Raif Nassif, Nadia Bahuth, Vazken der Kaloustian, Elbert Ruth, Eduard Gfeller, Jerry Sutton, Nancy Tountas, Linda Ziemer, and Phyllis S. Bergman, whose special contributions were generously given and gratefully received. To our wives and children, who relieved us from innumerable daily responsibilities so that we might complete this work, we owe a particular debt of gratitude. The encouragement, cooperation, and interest shown by John Hanley and Raymond Kersey of the W. B. Saunders Company in the production of this book are sincerely appreciated. The advice and counsel of George Smar, Phototype Engraving Company, are acknowledged.

We earnestly solicit constructive criticism from students and teachers alike so that the usefulness of this atlas can be extended and improved to its maximum potential.

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