Telus World of Science is displaying the Gunther von Hagens’ Body Worlds and the Brain exhibition until early January. The exhibit is renowned for the human bodies, specially preserved through a method called plastination, that are displayed in life-like postures. Different specimens allow visitors to appreciate the functional anatomy of the various body systems, including fetal development.
Since debuting in 1995, over 30 million people in 50 cities have seen Body Worlds. Dr von Hagens invented plastination in 1977 in an effort to improve the education of medical students. He created the Body Worlds exhibitions to bring anatomy to the public.
Understandably, an exhibit that presents human material in such a frank and vivid manner will attract both positive and negative interest, but such a valuable educational opportunity clearly deserves the support of the medical community. In addition to a special focus on the anatomy and function of the brain, the exhibit will allow people to see the consequences of a number of modifiable behaviors such as smoking, obesity, and poor eating habits. These are conditions that are not only important considerations for individuals, but are also major public health concerns.
Visitor numbers are expected to be very high. Educational materials for school groups and adults are being prepared and extensive community consultations are underway.
Physicians interested in more information can find it at www.scienceworld.ca/bodyworlds and www.bodyworlds.com. Timed tickets are now available from Science World, either by phone at 604 443 7500 or online at www.scienceworld.ca/bodyworlds.
—Lloyd Oppel, MD
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Halpern SD, Ubel PA, Caplan AL, Marion DW, Palmer AM, Schiding JK, et al. Solid-organ transplantation in HIV-infected patients. N Engl J Med. 2002;347:284-7.
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