Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Life of a Cadaver

"Death. It doesn't have to be boring." 
 Mary Roach 

What happens to a body when a person dies? Does it end up in a grave, cremated, or decomposing in a creepy neighbor’s backyard? It may, but it could go on to be so much more. A body can go on to have, in a sense, a life after death. Bodies that are dedicated to science go on to have curious second lives as cadavers.  They have new jobs and a new life where their efforts save and improve millions of lives. How is this possible, one is may ask? Well, for one, cadavers do not have to do much more than lie around while they are manipulated by the living. They just lie there and regard researchers with nonjudgmental gazes while they are used in all sorts of manners to better understand the human body.  Cadavers are used by medical doctors to perfect techniques, to better understand decomposition, and to better understand forensic applications, but these are the blander uses for cadavers. The cadavers that really get to experience a new life are those who are used as crash test dummies. It seems weird to use human bodies as crash test dummies, but through their enthusiastic devotion to be crashed into concrete walls, they save many lives.   

I am not trying to be crude at all, but this is one of the applications that cadavers are used for. And, through research with them, automobile safety has risen substantially. Because, lets face it, what is a better tool to show the repercussions to a human body via the impact of a car? A plastic crash test dummy that gives us a force reading, or a cadaver that will show actual damage?                                                              I vote for the cadaver.   


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