20 June 2017

Things that make us go … hmmmm

RedHerring

Creepy cadaver or revolution in medical education? The idea of using bodies made of synthetic fibre and water, rather than actual dead humans, to practice surgery, study anatomy and so forth has a certain appeal.

For starters, not only do the fake bodies supposedly move and respond just like human tissues does, the parts are reusable, say the cadavers’ creators SynDaver Labs. Once you’ve finished cutting and sewing, for example, you can simply buy new parts to replace the used ones.

But not everyone’s convinced. “There’s no substitute for the real thing,” says one US professor, who has experimented with the models.

Another issue is cost. A full body will set you back more than $50,000, while a body part, such as a pancreas, can cost up to $400. A real, donated, human corpse, on the other hand, is virtually free.

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