The Basal Ganglia: Pathways and Movement Disorders

Faculty Advisor

David Dufeau, Ph.D.

Document Type


Publication Date



Medicine and Health Sciences


Context: Though anatomy is a vital part of a medical student’s education, three-dimensional visualization often ends in the laboratory, months into a medical student’s journey to becoming a physician. Many physicians would agree, continuing to apply both the physiology and anatomy to clinical situations is fundamental to one’s knowledge base of disease. Using three dimensional visualizations in medical student’s education may help to create a set of tangible clinical knowledge.

The purpose of this study is to bridge the gap between physical and clinical anatomy pertaining to a somewhat difficult concept: the basal ganglia. Though small and tucked away, the basal ganglia are a source of many movement disorders. This project depicts both the normal function of the direct and indirect basal ganglia pathways, as well as Parkinson and Huntington Disorders for the education of medical students.

We acquired CT data sets from the National Institute of Health's Cancer Imaging Archive and analyzed them using Amira, a three-dimensional analytical software suite available at the Marian University College of Osteopathic Medicine 3D Visualization Laboratory. We exported the result of this project, the three-dimensional visualization of the basal ganglia and visual diagrams, to YouTube for presentation purposes.


Copyright 2017 all authors

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