A Glimpse Inside The Womb

Tsiaras’ images show remarkable detail

By: Maggie Shiels

Hi-tech scans and reconstructions have allowed a new book to chart the development of a new human life from conception to birth.

Artist, journalist and photographer Alexander Tsiarias’ book “From Conception to Birth: A Life Unfolds” literally shows life within life: mother and child, before, during and after the moment of birth.

See inside the womb

View a gallery of beautiful images from the book

“The ability to witness our genesis is something you cannot turn down,” Tsiaras told BBC News Online.

You walk away with a real respect for the magic of the machinery of the body

Alexander Tsiaras

“To watch real DNA and structure emerging and see the majesty of the eggs dividing so quickly and knowing where they are going and the speed of it all is spectacular.

“You walk away with a real respect for the magic of the machinery of the body.”

The raw material for the book came from embryo specimens held by the National Museum of Health.

Researchers and clinicians working in fertility medicine and obstetrics also helped out with high tech scans of embryos and fetuses within the womb, scans that let scientists see every structure and tissue in great depth and detail.

Computer reconstructions

The virtual images in the book aren’t photographs but high tech visualizations created using software and cameras the author himself developed.

They allow the artist to isolate and illuminate different parts of the body from organs to cells.

Opaque surfaces can be made transparent and a fetus the size of an adult’s fingertip can blossom into a detailed two page image.

“It’s all about measurement,” Tsiaras explained.

“Once we have the data set, we can look at it from any direction at any point in time.

“It could be about the data of stars and how far away one is from another object or how quickly your lungs develop.”

Tsiaras’s company Anatomical Travelogue, which creates images of human anatomy, aims to educate the public and help medical professionals understand and solve problems from cancer to birth defects.

“We use our science to help other people’s science,” explains Tsiaras.

“Einstein said solving a problem is not difficult, visualizing a problem is. All we do is visualize.”

“From Conception to Birth: A life unfolds”, by Alexander Tsiaras and Barry Werth, is published by Doubleday.

Friday, 15 November, 2002, 14:40 GMT

SOURCE: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/2481229.stm

Posted in: Hot Topics