With every issue of this journal, I am reminded that there is still plenty to be learned about the anatomy of the human body. Its pages are full of the results of intricate cadaver dissections that allow authors to draw conclusions that may be of clinical relevance (e.g., see the Special Issue on Cardiac Anatomy, Vol. 22:1, 2009). Inductive research certainly still has a place in medical science, but with this Special Issue, I hope to demonstrate the fact that there is room for anatomists to expand into deductive research as well. In particular, young anatomists looking for a niche that will lead to an intellectually rewarding line of inquiry that also results in scholarly publications should thoroughly examine this issue with an eye toward potential collaborations with engineers and/or anthropologists. The following articles exhibit work from some of the finest biomechanics researchers in the world, and there are examples of studies involving most anatomical regions from cranium to foot (Fig. 1). Each author was invited to share their passion for biomechanical trauma-related research with the anatomy community—and the medical community at large. This type of work is rather rare outside of certain engineering circles. It is my hope that after reading this issue, the medical and anatomy communities will be more willing to collaborate and bequeathal programs will be more willing to entertain proposals that include traumatizing cadaveric specimens. Testing for human tolerance is a critical and noble research endeavor that ultimately makes us all safer. It is not pseudoscience nor is it ghoulish, when performed correctly and respectfully.

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Figure 1. Example of biomechanical research being performed to simulate a pedestrian leg impact.

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In addition to gaining an appreciation for the collaborative opportunities in this specialized area of research, it is hoped that this Special Issue on the Clinical Anatomy of Trauma Research will also be of value to teachers of anatomy at all levels. We all have our own ways of introducing a new region and when instructing future healthcare professionals, it always helps to correlate gross anatomy to the pathologies seen in clinics—even though most of the students are at least a year away from taking their first pathology course. What student does not perk up when the mythological concept behind caput medusa is explained as a symptom of portal hypertension from chronic alcoholism? Even a passing knowledge of trauma research can serve as an additional tool to capture the imagination of students who might need a mild adjustment of their attention levels. At the extreme, entire courses of gross anatomy could be taught as TBA—that is, trauma-based anatomy! For example, a study of the rib cage could be prefaced with a brief explanation of how fractures might be related to seatbelt use in a severe car crash. The work of the authors of our cover art, Duma et al., would demonstrate the latest techniques used to study such trauma. This would almost surely lead to a discussion on flail chest and how the normal ventilation physiology could be defeated by the trauma and may result in pneumothorax or other pulmonary pathologies.

Before closing, I must express simple and sincere thanks to all the authors and reviewers. Your time and efforts are greatly appreciated. The readers should know that many of the articles were reviewed by engineers as well as anatomists and physicians. Also, thanks to the editorial staff of Clinical Anatomy. This project took far longer than anticipated and simply would not have come to fruition without the assistance of Shane Tubbs, Tom Gest, Beverly Northouse, and Stephen Carmichael.

After reading this issue, I am hopeful you will agree that trauma research using cadavers is of considerable importance. The Clinical Anatomy editorial staff and our publisher Wiley concur. In an effort to increase awareness of this important research, Wiley has made this special issue available online gratis. Please direct your friends and colleagues to the Clinical Anatomy homepage at