In biology and neuroscience courses, brain anatomy is usually explained using Magnetic Resonance (MR) images or histological sections of different orientations. These can show the most important macroscopic areas in an animals’ brain. However, this method is neither dynamic nor intuitive. In this work, an anatomical 3D printed rat brain with educative purposes is presented. Hand manipulation of the structure, facilitated by the scale up of its dimensions, and the ability to dismantle the “brain”
into some of its constituent parts, facilitates the understanding of the 3D organization of the nervous system. This is an alternative method for teaching students in general and biologists in particular the rat brain anatomy. The 3D printed rat brain has been developed with eight parts, which correspond to the most important divisions of the brain. Each part has been fitted with interconnections, facilitating assembling and disassembling as required. These solid parts were smoothed out, modified and manufactured through 3D printing techniques with poly(lactic acid) (PLA). This work presents a methodology that could be expanded to almost any field of clinical and pre-clinical research, and moreover it avoids the need for dissecting animals to teach brain anatomy.
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