Reach out and touch someone in Living Anatomy

In case you were wondering whether Living Anatomy might have any relevance beyond medicine and academics, Robert Binhammer, Ph.D., offers up a real-life lesson in CSI.

Anatomy can easily tell investigators the difference between homicide and suicide, Dr. Binhammer said. You see, strangling results in fracture of the hyoid bone, while hanging does not. The broken hyoid will be noticed in the autopsy.

So, you know – if you were thinking of turning to a life of crime, don’t.

“Word to the wise,” Dr. Binhammer said.

A Sorrell Center auditorium full of M1’s was a bit taken aback by this, first thing on a Thursday morning. But by now we have realized that Living Anatomy with Dr. Binhammer is not your average college class. It is, as someone said when we came in, “Where we palpate and touch each other.”

Dr. Sarah Keim Janssen, assistant professor of genetics, cell biology and anatomy, points the way.

Dr. Binhammer demonstrates first, on a couple of student volunteers. The image is huge, up on the big screen.

“Why did he take his shirt off?” someone said of the young man at the front of the room. “I don’t want to be up there with my shirt off.”

But Dr. Binhammer is trying to show us something. “You can find it if you sing a high note,” he said. “I’m going to ask you to do that.” And the young man did. And there it was.

“Singing a high note narrows the interval between the cricoid and thyroid cartilages and that interval is the site for emergency airway,” Dr. Binhammer would later explain. “So it’s a way to ensure that one has found the correct interval in your partner.”

Of course, you would not ask someone to sing a high note in an emergency, Dr. Binhammer noted.


Then the students all pair off, and try it on each other.

Apparently, if you’re going to be a doctor, shyness is out, immediately. Living Anatomy sees to that. Reach out and touch someone.

“It does help,” said Gordon Todd, Ph.D.



  1. Sue Anson says:

    I loved this article! What a great way to apply textbook learning! Kudos!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. Kriti says:

    Amazing Lesson of anatomy so relevant to reallife…….

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