Bodies: The Exhibition

For those of you that have never ventured to Pittsburgh, PA…there’s something to be said for this great steel town. It’s odd coming from Baltimore, there’s not much to do in it’s downtown area, they are mostly centered around the arts, the Penquins, the Pirates, and their beloved Steelers. So, when me and the bf ventured back to his childhood home to go to the Thanksgiving festivities, his parents decided that we needed to venture to the Carnegie Science Center and The Bodies Exhibition.

George Lieberman, a famous American Writer once said,

There are three subjects on which the knowledge of the medical profession in general is woefully weak; they are manners, morals, and medicine.”

Hehehe, for those of us that fight with our health on a daily basis, this is funny. Plato once said that medicine was best learned by visualization. Bodies: The Exhibtion uses this as it’s hallmark.

With over a dozen full body specimens, and more than 200 organ and partial specimens, this exhibition was organized by the Atlanta based Premier Exhibitions, Inc. in association with China’s Dalian Medical University. The bodies in the exhibit were “plasticized”, that is a polymer replaced the water that was once in the live specimen. A lot of controversy has surrounded this exhibit, but if you think about it…this is how the medical community learns. Long gone are the days when medical professionals were grave robbing to learn about anatomy and physiology. Various disease states were present in the exhibit, and it takes a dynamic very visual look at what happens when you are not taking good care of yourself.

Divided into the major systems of the body, respiratory, circulatory, digestive, muscular, and reproductive, there were parts of this exhibit that were very dramatic…even for a graduate student in the health sciences. To see a full body of skin laid out in front of you…well let’s just put it this way…it takes some time to adjust to.

It was dynamic. There was a large crowd when we went, and it was full of the curious, but medical students, graduate students, we were all there slowly and methodically walking through the various body parts. I was excited to show what bone I broke, and where the metal in my arm was. They didn’t have any AVM’s in the circulatory section, and I was quick to point that out as a way to improve the circulatory section. I skipped the reproductive section largely because the in utero section wasn’t something that I wanted to deal with.

The Diocese of Pittsburgh initially sent out a press statement about this exhibit coming to Pittsburgh. They then retracted it stating that it was for the betterment of science. If you are queasy in the slightest, you need to be prepared to see real body specimens. They are real cancerous mammary glands, and someone that had so many tumors on their breast it made me cry. Late stage carcinoma without removal…it’s amazing how fortunate we are at times.

All in all, as a student, I was very happy I went. I remember in my anatomy classes, that if it was gross anatomy, I would have learned so much more. It’s totally true. You get real identification as to where your organs are, how they work, and what happens in disease states. I thoroughly enjoyed it, as well as the Carnegie Science Center. It’s in an easy locale, close to the Strip District, right next to Heinz Field. Tickets aren’t cheap, they were $22 and that wasn’t general admission to the Carnegie. We would have paid an additional $14 for regular admission to the rest of the Science Center. We decided against that.

You can truly make a day of it, but be aware that this is a world-renowned exhibit, and there will be lines. Various special programs will take you deeper into understanding the forensic side of the anatomy, cardiology, pulmonary, neuroscience, and orthopedics. The Carnegie is even allowing a sleepover….hehehe…creepy. The exhibit will be in Pittsburgh till May 2008, and also is being seen in Las Vegas, Columbus, Cincinnati, Fort Lauderdale, Framington MA, New York, and San Diego in the U.S. They are also visiting Buenos Aires, and Barcelona. They had recently completed an exhibition here in Washington, and I had missed it.

If you have any interest in health, public health, medicine, and science, this is an exhibit you must see.

For more information visit: Bodies: The Exhibition for more information and where the show is going next.

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