Histology, or microscopic anatomy, is a cornerstone of a basic medical curriculum, in some ways symbolic of the scientific foundation of medicine itself. As any medical student can attest to though, its not the easiest topic to master. Distinguishing the different stages of granulocyte maturation has likely generated more than its fair share of nightmares among medical students.

Here we review the Basic Histology flashcards app from Lange, developed with the assistance of Dr. Anthony Mescher to help medical students conquer this difficult part of their medical training.

The app’s home screen represents a simple and focused premise. The user can view cards in a random order or classified by organ system.

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The cards themselves open by showing an image with labeled parts for the user to identify. Once you tap the screen, the card flips over to reveal the answer to the organ and the labeled parts. There is also a review of pertinent key points and a clinical pearl.

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There are three “levels” for the app’s use: an unknown box, a known box, and a mastered box. The goal of the app is to have the user move all the cards systematically to the mastered box, where they can just review the cards briefly as needed. This occurs through repetitive studying of the material presented.

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The app allows the user to customize the categories by grouping and separating, helping to increase the utility and potentially the retention rates of users.

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Also included in the app is the ability to zoom and expand images, which is especially helpful for the smaller screen of the iPhone.

The app uses Junqueira’s Basic Histology 12th edition textbook as the main reference and resource. Medical students in their first two years will find the most benefit from this app, with potential gain continuing for those who are interested in or pursuing careers in pathology.

Compared to the actual flashcards, the content in the app appears to be similar. The actual flashcards similarly contain 200 flashcards, and is comparatively priced.

There is one notable difference in the iPad version. The images, unfortunately, are not optimized for that device.

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Platform: iPhone and iPad

Price:

  • $39.99 from the App store

Likes:

  • Focused topic
  • Quick hit review and clinical pearls expand usefulness

Dislikes:

  • Some topics are poorly covered
  • Images not optimized for iPad

Conclusion:

  • An app that provides a decent electronic alternative to carrying around the bulk of flashcards, would work for students who generally learn well from flashcards

Find the app here on