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April 26, 1995

Sex and Gender Bias in Illustrations in Anatomy and Physical Diagnosis Texts

Author Affiliations

Sylvania, Ohio

JAMA. 1995;273(16):1255. doi:10.1001/jama.1995.03520400025023

To the Editor.  —I see that the study by Ms Mendelsohn and colleagues1 includes a useful Table regarding frequency of male vs female figures in anatomy texts. However, I cannot see that any of the conclusions drawn by the authors regarding the significance of these findings are supported by the data. The authors state, "As a result, students may develop an incomplete knowledge of normal female anatomy." As reproductive illustrations were excluded from the study and no study of outcome was included, the issue of students' knowledge is not even remotely addressed by the data. It is interesting to note that this comment has been quoted widely in the lay press, including our local newspaper, The Toledo Blade, and it is generally understood by these lay people that the conclusion derives from the data. The only conclusion that can be made from the data presented is that in situations

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