The App, 3D Brain, has been out since October, but it’s location under the “education” category of the App Store allowed it to slip under our radar. The 3D app is derived from the Genes to Cognition Online website, funded by the Dana Foundation and Hewlett Foundation. Using the native iPhone gestures, the app allows you to zoom and rotate images of the brain in a three dimensional fashion. In this post I’ll cover how this app can be used with your patients.
When you open up this application you are greeted with a picture of the brain, color coded by regions. You can rotate this picture around and also zoom in and out. In the toolbar there is a great Help Section that tells you how to use the zoom and rotate features. The toolbar also allows you to reveal labels, search for different parts of the brain, and get more information on the various parts of the brain you are viewing.
I can’t emphasize how fun this app is to use. There is definitely a “wow” factor pertaining to their utilization of the iPhones graphics. When I show this app to colleagues many of them go ahead and download it right there because of how fun it is. Wi-Fi is needed to download this app because of it’s size (49.5mb).
I could see this app being used to help study for basic brain anatomy but I feel it has a greater potential, such as being used to education patients on different brain pathologies. When trying to explain to a family member why their loved one is having difficulty with speech after a stroke you could quickly show Broca’s area in a three dimensional fashion. Your point would get across a lot better this way than to exclusively show CT or MRI images.
In the future I’d love to see them incorporate cross sectional images of the brain with detailed labeling. This would help with learning more anatomy and it would also help you explain more complex diseases, such as Parkinsons.
Needless to say, it’s definitely an app that all neurologists should have. But even if you’re not a neurologist, it’s free so you might as well download it and have fun playing with the three dimensional imaging.