The Sweet Science of Candy Anatomy
It’s a rare occasion when I can indulge my love for sugar and science at the same time. But lurking the mean streets of Reddit in the hazy, under-caffeinated hours of the early morning, somewhere among the breaking news, creeps, culture-war posturing, and armed birds, I found the cheery, handmade, informative diagrams of Candy Anatomy. The project, which illustrates the human body with various sweets and confections, is the brainchild of “Magic” Mike McCormick, a 27-year-old artist and University of Glasgow medical student, who started making the diagrams to learn anatomy for his classes.
“You know how in some restaurants the staff give kids a picture to color in with crayons?” McCormick asked me by email. “We’ll I’m a bit of a big kid, so I just ask the staff for something to color on, and I quickly turned a drawing of an ice cream sundae into a shoulder joint, or a burger into a collection of vertebrae. I realized the potential to turn Haribo Fried Eggs into the stages of cellular division, and it kind of spiraled out of control from there. Now people use the diagrams for revision, and I’ve even put them in one of my exams!”
This type of thing is perfect for a guy like me—after years of abusing Sour Patch Kids and Mallomars, my organs are probably mostly made of candy at this point anyway. But I asked McCormick about his curious choice of medium, considering the medical establishment’s usual cruel discrimination against my favorite food group.
“I can see how it might be counterintuitive to advertise medicine through the medium of outrageous levels of sugar,” McCormick replied. “However, it makes for a vibrant display that many students can relate to… My friends have also suggested I make a book or postcards and the proceeds go to a charity raising awareness of diabetes.”
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This diagram depicts the life cycle of a keratinocyte (skin cell) as it proliferates, differentiates, migrates to the surface, and dies, forming a protective barrier over the body that defends against infection.
This is the basic anatomy of the human eye. We can see the layers of retina, choroid and sclera around the vitreous humour, along with the structures surrounding the pupil.
The panaceas and the gallbladder are important accessory organs attached to the duodenum (small intestine). The gallbladder produces bile and the pancreas produces enzymes, which aid in the digestion of proteins, carbohydrates and lipids.
This picture gives a simplified version of the neural control of urination. We can see the bladder as well as the internal and external sphincters of the male urinary tract. Stretch receptors in the bladder communicate with the brain stem via nerves in the sacral vertebrae, while somatic nerves control the sphincters.
Deoxygenated blood arrives from the bodily tissues to the right atrium via the superior and inferior vena cava. It travels through the pulmonary trunk towards the lungs for gaseous exchange. Oxygenated blood returns to the left atrium, and is pumped through the aorta towards the bodily tissues by the left ventricles’ powerful contraction. I thought the heart shaped candy was the best choice for the myocardium, reflecting the thickness of the muscle.
This picture shows how RANK (Receptor Activator of Nuclear Factor Kappa B) regulates Osteoclast differentiation and activation. A human bone is constantly undergoing remodeling—the Osteoclast cells dissolve the bone, allowing calcium to enter the blood. Osteoblast cells lay down new bone surface.