[Histonet] Learning histology


Stephen at Texas A & M wants to know how to learn histology. I think the best way is to borrow a set of teaching microscope slides from your anatomy department (or cellular biology, whatever they call it now) and sit down with a microscope.
1) First of all study the different types of cells ( three types of muscle cells, the  connective tissue cells, blood cells and developing cells, all the epithelial cells, glandular cells, etc)
2) Then study the organ systems (Kidney, lung, intestine, nervous system, G.I. Tract, endocrine etc).Learn to diffentiate the different parts of the stomach, large and small intestines, brain, etc. Nearly every organ has one or two key structures that "give it away". Try to learn those.
3) Then learn the tricks professors play on you: be able to differentiate resting breast from prostate, lactating breast from thyroid, spleen from lymph node, etc.
  This is a time consuming method but it pays off. Modern histology classes are often taught using powerpoint or some other method where they use the best d*** photographs they can find of that organ or structure. In real life you have to look around the slide, orient yourself, find identfying features in the tissue, and then name it! Career histotechnologists add an additional step of learning the special stains associated with each particular organ or tissue.
Good luck with your studies
Mike Titford
USA Pathology
Mobile AL USA
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