Thursday, March 19, 2009

"Bodies" building

Diane Heilenman in the C-J, with a second excellent article on the Bodies exhibit which just came to Louisville...

In the late-1970s, the Polish-born former East German physician and anatomist Gunther von Hagens was searching for a better way to prepare medical specimens.

He patented a process that uses acetone to dissolve fat and fluids, which are then replaced by various polymers — or plastics — producing a dry, stiff specimen. He called the process, developed at the University of Heidelberg, "plastination."

Von Hagens went on to produce sensational exhibitions of full bodies in dramatic poses, such as his blockbuster show, "Body Worlds" that made its debut in Tokyo in 1995.

This and subsequent shows were replicated by a competitor, Premier Exhibitions Inc. of Atlanta. Its shows have included "Our Body: The Universe Within." Both exhibitors were subjects of an ABC-TV "20/20" investigation in 2008 that suggested corpses used by Premier in its exhibitions were political prisoners from China, rather than the reportedly willing donors or unclaimed bodies that von Hagens claims to use....

After von Hagen's patent expired, the University of Michigan worked with Dow-Corning to develop a quicker and less-expensive process, according to a 2000 New York Times article....


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