This is the study of biological
form and function in three dimensions. Biostereometrics allows biologists
in many fields to see things in entirely new ways. The cell
, for example, can be seen by taking electron micrographs
at different angles, then assembling them into a three-dimensional image on a computer screen. The image can then be viewed from any angle and sliced into any direction. Cell structures can be color coded to emphasize relative size, location, and distribution. This ultimately helps us in the greater understanding of how cells function.
Paleontologists use computerized tomography, which combines an x-ray with computer imaging to study fossil bones that cannot be easily separated from rock. The X ray helps to distinguish differences in density between the rock and the fossil. The computer then processes this information to produce a replica image of the fossil alone.
Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR) imaging is one of the newest types of biostereometric techniques. NMR provides a way to obtain a cross-sectional picture that shows the difference among tissues on a chemical level. Through the use of NMR, medical researchers can then tell the difference between the living and the dead tissue, and between the healthy and diseased tissue. They can also differentiate between arteries with normal blood flow, and arteries that are obstructing blood flow. Researchers also find NMR useful in determining how well some medicines work on certain tissues or body parts.This is done by taking NMR images of the affected tissues or body parts before and after the medicine is administered to the patient, showing clearly which drugs work efficiently, and which drugs do not.