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TOPIC: Plastination: Wave of the Future?

Plastination: Wave of the Future? 20 Jun 2008 17:50 #84

  • KW1155
  • KW1155's Avatar
An interesting development in the technology of disposing of human remains is plastination, or polymer preservation. Personally, I am donating my remains to a medical school for plastination, and find the traveling "Body Worlds" exhibit fascinating. The polymer-infused cadavers are a breakthrough in the education of medical students, anatomists, and even the general public.

Plastination centers are thriving at state universities, with the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor leading the way. In the South, the University of South Carolina in Columbia has established a major polymer preservation center, and is openly soliciting current body donors and University alumni to donate their remains for permanent preservation.

Nationally, the plastination exhibits are becoming a lightning rod for controversy, as "Bodies - The Exhibition" -- a so-called "copycat" exhibit from Atlanta-based Premier Exhibitions -- has lured Congressional efforts to ban imported plastinated specimens. Basically, the US company has been accused of displaying the bodies of Chinese political prisoners, who may, or may not, have been tortured and executed in the People's Republic of China.

Unfortunately, this casts doubt over legitimate plastination efforts by the Institute of Plastination, run by the colorful Dr. Gunther von Hagens. The IfP runs a highly successful body donor program, which includes nearly 8,000 future cadavers in their registry, some 700 of whom are American citizens. Nearly 90 % of the Body World's "plastinates" are German citizens, who explicitly consented to be displayed in science and anatomical museums before their deaths.

By banning imported plastinated specimens, anatomical anamolies could be in short supply. The proposed bill in Congress would allow display of US donors in stateside exhibits, as long as the donors consented and recipient institution, i.e., a medical school or museum, could provide a paper trail for each donor.

This is an exciting new field in medical education, and the laws need to reflect that each donor is used ethically, and with full consent.

In the next 20 years, it is likely that plastination will fuse with computer generated images, and that cadaver dissection, a time-honored tradition in medical education, will not be a requirement for all medical students.

Although the appeal of body donation for dissection in gross anatomy, or donation of organs and tissues for transplant and research, has obvious humanitarian benefits, plastination allows the use of specimens for decades.

The attached file contains the University of South Carolina forms; I would welcome any comments on this burgeoning field, from forum members on this site.
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Re:Plastination: Wave of the Future? 21 Sep 2008 09:12 #127

  • princezfiona_101
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very nice article,interesting!! thanks for sharing dude. ;)
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Re:Plastination: Wave of the Future? 21 Sep 2008 09:22 #128

  • princezfiona_101
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i definitely agree on on your article. :kiss:
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