It’s easy to assume that once a person dies, there’s not much else that can be done with their body. Granted there are still organ donors out there who would willingly give up parts they won’t need, but the fact remains. Even then, scientists are willing to outright ignore that fact — especially if it means creating what they’ve dubbed a “virtual Frankenstein”.
The body of an obese, unnamed Maryland woman was donated to the US National Library of Medicine as part of testing. Despite the body being a solid twenty years old, the researchers there made good use of it; they sliced it more than five thousand times to create sections just a third of a millimeter wide, which were then converted into high-res digital images. Once they were combined, then — barring some missing parts like nose cartilage — the woman’s body was repurposed into the most detailed anatomical model to date.
The project’s scope goes beyond more than something to show off. With the sheer amount of accuracy and information made available, it’s possible for scientists to carry out tests and experiments that would be too dangerous on a normal human body. The ultimate goal, of course, is to use the body to investigate bodily processes, and even diseases like breast cancer without repercussion. All told, it sounds like the Maryland woman is accomplishing plenty, even posthumously.