Real-Life Frankenstein: Visible Body Image Built From 5,000 Cadaver Slices
Although it is still impossible for human technology to make a creature out of spliced body parts, it is now feasible to make a virtual body image built from 5,000 pieces of cadaver slices.
The Visible Human Project is a venture by the U.S. National Library of Medicine. It was established to aid medical students in studying the human body. "The long-term goal of the Visible Human Project is to produce a system of knowledge structures that will transparently link visual knowledge forms to symbolic knowledge formats such as the names of body parts," as described in a press released by NLM.
According to NLM, "It is the creation of complete, anatomically detailed, three-dimensional representations of the normal male and female human bodies." The first step to make this project possible is to collect cadaver slices from both male and female bodies. Then, the data will be digitized and assembled to form a virtual image, which can then be viewed in a sliced or dissected form.
The same report said that the splicing was performed at one-millimeter intervals for males and one-third of a millimeter for females.
Discovery News reports that the scientist used MRI and CT scan to digitize the files amounting to 231 tissue parts. Performing this "Digital Frankenstein" experiment can provide 10 times more information compared to using an actual cadaver.
According to New Scientist, it's an experiment that no living human being can undergo. Although MRI scans of living humans can be added to fill the gap from cadaver's missing body parts, if there's any.
It might appear gruesome to others, but engaging in projects like this will enable the medical community to further understand the human anatomy and, in turn, gain more expertise in the field of medical science.
NLM recognizes the brevity of the people who subject themselves to this and other similar studies. The organization said, "The National Library of Medicine thanks the men and the women who will their body to science, thereby enabling medical research and development."