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An Illustrated Subway Map of Human Anatomy

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What comes to mind when you think about your body?

Most people might imagine an intricate network of blood vessels or the complex neural circuits of the brain. Or we might picture diagrams from the iconic medical textbook, Gray’s Anatomy.

Today’s visualization puts a unique spin on all of these ideas – interpreting human anatomy in the style of London’s transit system. Created by Jonathan Simmonds M.D., a resident physician at Tufts Medical Center, it’s a simple yet beautifully intuitive demonstration of how efficiently our bodies work.

View a high resolution version of this graphic.
Subway Map of Human Anatomy

Make sure to view the full resolution version of this intricate visualization.

From Point A to Point Z

Right away, we can see that each system is broken down into a few major colored ‘lines’. Here are a few:

  • Vermillion system (Pink line)
    This covers one of the smallest surface areas, namely the boundary around the mouth from the cupid’s bow to the bottom lip.
  • Airway system (Black line)
    This represents the sections from the nose and mouth, down the windpipe and into the lungs. The system also works with bronchial arteries and veins – the striped blue and red lines respectively.
  • Nervous system (Yellow line)
    This starts from the temporal lobe of the brain, and reaches all the way to the body’s extremities, such as the fingertips and feet.
  • Portal system (Purple line)
    Approximately 75% of blood flowing from the liver passes through portal veins, which are one of two sets of veins connected to the liver.
  • Special system (Magenta line)
    This includes organs responsible for four of the five traditional senses – sight, hearing, smell, and taste – as well the reproductive organs.

While dashed lines represent deeper structures, sections with ‘transfers’ show where different organ systems intersect. The head is also helpfully categorized into three ‘zones’.

Of course, it’s not as straightforward as starting in one place and ending up on the opposite end – as with city transit systems, there are multiple routes that can be taken. If you’re still daunted by where to start with this map of human anatomy, there’s a helpful “You Are Here” at the heart.

To counter common biases in the medical field, Dr. Simmonds has noted that he will soon update the illustration to include racialized and female versions.

An Enduring Symbol

From a broader design perspective, this anatomical subway map draws inspiration from the famous London Underground design.

When engineering draftsman Harry Beck debuted this map back in the 1930s, it caused quite a stir. Many argued that it wasn’t geographically accurate, and that its scale was wildly skewed.

But that didn’t matter to most commuters. Beck’s map offered something that no one else did – it combined all the different lines into one pocket-sized diagram.

Beck’s map was revolutionary in its simplicity.

– Sam Mullins, London Transport Museum Director

As a result, the Tube’s linear, color-coded aesthetic is arguably the most recognizable transit map in the world today. Many major cities hopped on board with the timeless new look, such as Sydney and Paris.

This iconic subway map design has been used as a visual reference for everything from Ancient Roman roads to the Milky Way. That’s what makes it such a good application for the most complex network of all – the human body.

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Healthcare

5 Ways Technology is Transforming the Healthcare Industry

How are emerging technologies like nanomedicine or AI shaping the future of the healthcare industry? See five ways, in this infographic.

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5 Ways Tech is Transforming the Healthcare Industry

Whether it’s information-sharing between patients and doctors or aiding in a high-risk surgery, it’s clear that dynamic applications of technology are well underway in disrupting the healthcare industry.

TECH AT OUR FINGERTIPS

Today’s infographic from the Online Medical Care highlights healthcare areas where tech is breaking barriers. Here are five ways that technology is impacting the sector, ranging from AI to nanomedicine:

Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence will have a dramatic impact on many industries, and healthcare is no exception.

A large share of healthcare executives are already applying artificial intelligence in their operations, with data showing plans to increase budgets last year.

Healthcare uses of AIAdoption (2017)Adoption (2018E)
Clinical decision support46%59%
Population health33%46%
Disease management29%42%
Re-admissions33%41%
Medical costs / health plan21%38%
Patient safety and quality25%33%
Supply chain management13%21%
Cancer care4%12%

As the technology becomes more developed and widespread, it’s expected that AI could help diagnose strokes, eye disease, heart disease, skin cancer, and other conditions.

Virtual Healthcare

Also known as telehealth or telemedicine, virtual healthcare allows patients and doctors to touch base remotely using technology such as video conferencing or mobile apps. Many patients are also becoming comfortable using wearable technology to monitor any changes in their health – and sharing that data with their physicians.

Convenience, ease of use, and travel times to their closest doctor are main reasons why patients choose virtual care. On the flip side, many are concerned about the quality of care, or fear a loss of a personal connection with a doctor.

If all patients chose virtual healthcare over face-to-face visits, it could save the U.S. health system $7 billion annually – while the time savings would “free up” the equivalent of 37,000 doctors.

Nanomedicine

Nanomedicine is rapidly evolving field which controls individual atoms and molecules at the extremely minute “nanoscale” of 1 to 100 nanometers. To put that into perspective, a single newspaper sheet is about 100,000 nm thick.

Nanomedicine is mainly used to effectively diagnose, treat, and prevent various diseases. Compared to conventional medicines, it’s much better at precise targeting and delivery systems, paving the way towards combating complex conditions such as cancer.

The global nanomedicine market could be worth over $350 billion by 2025.

Virtual Reality

Although it’s normally been associated with entertainment, virtual reality is making waves in healthcare as well. The multi-sensory, immersive experience that VR provides can benefit both physicians and patients:

  • Healthcare worker training
    VR can be used to train surgeons in a realistic and low-risk simulated environment.
  • Physical and mental health
    VR offers therapeutic potential and rehabilitation for acute pain and anxiety disorders.

VR is thus considered a cost-effective and efficient tool for both teaching and treatment, and the VR healthcare services market is expected to grow from $8.9 million in 2017 to an expected $285 million in 2022.

3D Printing

3D printing has come a long way since its debut, especially in its uses in the healthcare industry. The technology offers faster prototypes, creating everything from personalized prosthetics to “poly-pills” at a fraction of the cost.

The customizable aspect of 3D printing is revolutionizing organ transplants and tissue repair, and it’s even able to produce realistic skin for burn victims.

Robot-Assisted Surgery

Last but certainly not least, robotic surgery is sweeping through hospitals. It allows doctors to perform delicate and complex procedures that might be otherwise impossible.

Typically, surgeons control a device with a camera and mechanical arms, giving them a high-def view of the surgical site. According to the Mayo Clinic, this method generally:

  • Enhances precision, flexibility, and control
  • Comes with fewer complications such as infections
  • Results in less obvious scars as it is minimally invasive

While technological adoption into the medical field doesn’t come without challenges, the value is clear – and we’ve barely scratched the surface of tech-driven possibilities in the healthcare industry.

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Healthcare

Visualizing the Future of the Pharma Market

With prescription drugs expected to be a $1.2 trillion industry by 2024, which are the most anticipated drugs and therapy areas in the pharma market?

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Visualizing the Future of the Pharma Market

Around the world, people are living longer.

By 2050, there will be two billion people that are 60 years or older globally. Meanwhile, the amount of seniors (65+ years old) in the U.S. will double to 100 million by 2060.

To meet the needs of this aging population, we will continue to need larger quantities and more varieties of prescription drug treatments – an industry that is expected to skyrocket to $1.2 trillion in size by 2024.

Drug Sales, by Segment

Today’s infographic comes to us from Raconteur, and it highlights the most anticipated drug treatments and therapy areas for the pharmaceutical industry.

It starts by breaking down the massive pharma market into therapy segments, showing a forecast for the size and growth for each category.

Here is the data for the top 15 segments, sorted by projected worldwide prescription drug sales in 2024:

RankTherapy Area2017 sales2024 salesCAGR
#1Oncology$104B$233B+12.2%
#2Anti-diabetics$46.1B$59.5B+3.3%
#3Anti-rheumatics$55.7B$56.7B+0.2%
#4Vaccines$27.7B$44.6B+7.1%
#5Anti-virals$42.4B$39.9B-0.9%
#6Immunosuppressants$13.7B$38.1B+15.7%
#7Bronchodilators$27.2B$32.3B+2.5%
#8Dermatologicals$12.9B$30.3B+13%
#9Sensory Organs$21.6B$26.9B+3.2%
#10Anti-hypertensives$23B$24.4B+0.8%
#11Anti-coagulants$16.8B$22.9B+4.6%
#12MS Therapies$22.7B$21.5B-0.8%
#13Anti-fibrinolytics$12.7B$20.4B+7.1%
#14Anti-hyperlipidaemics$11.3B$16.4B+5.5%
#15Anti-anaemics$7.6B$15.7B+11%
Other$379B$567B+5.9%
Total$825B$1249B+6.1%

This data, which comes from a recent report from EvaluatePharma, helps showcase a few key insights.

Firstly, the oncology therapy area – which makes drugs that are used to treat various forms of cancer – is by far the largest in the pharma world with $107 billion in sales in 2017. It’s also projected to maintain its dominance going forward, growing at an impressive 12.2% CAGR to $233 billion by 2024.

Next, while sales in cancer-related drugs will be the most in absolute terms, the fastest growing treatment area is actually in immunosuppressants – a segment of drugs that make a body less likely to reject a transplanted organ, such as a liver, heart, or kidney. It’s projected that this segment will grow at 15.7% per year, eventually becoming the sixth largest pharma segment at $38.1 billion in 2024.

Lastly, while sales in the pharma market will be averaging 6.1% in annual growth as a whole, there are two major segments that will see negative annual growth going forward: Anti-virals (-0.9%) and MS Therapies (-0.8%).

The Battle Against Cancer

Currently, there are more drugs used for treating cancer than for any other type of disease or condition.

RankDisease or ConditionNumber of active drugs
#1Breast cancer727
#2Lung cancer544
#3Colorectal cancer503
#4Ovarian cancer434
#5Pancreatic cancer430
#6Type-2 diabetes407
#7Prostate cancer381
-Alzheimer's disease381

Unfortunately, even though many cancer drugs are available on the market already, the debilitating disease is still a leading cause of death. Existing drugs are used in treatments of chemotherapy or hormone therapy, but it’s clear that there is still plenty of room for progress to be made against the disease.

For these reasons – combined with the estimate that nearly 40% of Americans will be diagnosed with some form of cancer during their lifetimes – it’s no surprise to see that companies have yet even more cancer drugs in the pipeline:

RankTherapy areaNumber of drugs in pipeline
#1Anti-cancer5,212
#2Biotechnology4,751
#3Neurological2,604
#4Anti-infective2,238
#5Alimentary/metabolic2,237
#6Reformulations2,073
#7Musculoskeletal1,597
#8Dermatological929

As more drugs get approved from the above pipeline, it is projected that $1 of every $5 spent on prescription drugs in 2024 will be going towards cancer-related treatments.

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