Capturing Inner Beauty: Medical Imagery That Delves into the Aesthetic [Slide Show]

Norm Barker's photographs lie at the interface of art and science

By Rose Eveleth

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These surgical micro-burrs are used in everything from dentistry to neurosurgery. Each tip is highly specialized, made of high-quality stainless steel or titanium, and many of them have a diamond crust.....[ More ]

Smoker's Lung

Long-time smokers run the risk of developing everything from bronchitis and lung cancer to strokes and heart disease as well as emphysema (pictured). The light spots are regions where light shines through the lung whereas the black regions reveal carbon accumulations.....[ More ]

Cirrhosis of the Liver

The liver is the only human organ that can regenerate itself. It's also the largest organ in the body. But even this big, complex structure is susceptible to degradation—specifically from cirrhosis.....[ More ]


  This might look like a nice rock collection, but these stones didn't come from the ground. They're gallstones, little crystalline deposits that form within the gallbladder. Although they may be beautiful, those who suffer from gallstones often deal with extreme pain, and the sharp pebbles can block bile ducts and cause pancreatitis and other life-threatening conditions.....[ More ]

Kidney Glomeruli

Wrapped like balls of yarn—these glomeruli fill our kidneys, helping filter our blood. The kidney does everything from regulating salt balance to removing waste to secreting hormones to keep our fluid levels stable.....[ More ]

Striated Muscle

Every time you jump, kick or run for the bus, you're using three different kinds of muscle: smooth, striated and cardiac. Striated muscle (pictured) is what powers voluntary movement, like running, and is made up of little proteins called actin and myosin.....[ More ]

Agar Petri Dishes

These colorful plates are full of bacteria and fungi cultured by microbiologists to study disease. The plates contain things like antibiotics, nutrients and dyes that help researchers isolate what agents promote or stunt the organisms' growth—and what might kill the microbes.....[ More ]

Paget's Disease

This image is a photo-micrograph of bone from a patient with Paget's disease. Normal bones go through something called turnover—old bone is removed and replaced by new bone, much like skin. ....[ More ]

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