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College buys fake bodies for anatomy, physiology courses

By The Associated Press | Posted - May 8, 2015 at 1:21 p.m.



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CEDAR FALLS, Iowa (AP) — The University of Northern Iowa has purchased several artificial bodies to help provide undergraduate students with a better understanding of human bones, muscle and tissue.

The school recently purchased the four synthetic cadavers for $150,000 using a grant from the Roy J. Carver Charitable Trust, the Iowa City Press-Citizen (http://icp-c.com/1dSc0Ph ) reported. The cadavers are made from materials that mimic the mechanical, thermal and chemical properties of live tissue.

"I'm a nurse, and I've done surgery," said Mary McDade, an instructor of biology at UNI. "They feel more like living tissue than cadaver tissue."

McDade said former students have said that a more hands-on dissection experience, preferably with human cadavers, would have better prepared them for their current studies in medicine, dentistry and physical therapy.

"With the cats, we could see how some of the muscles worked," said Derek Klein, a 2014 UNI graduate who is now a first-year graduate physical therapy student at the University of Iowa. "There are some similarities to humans, but there are more differences."

Klein said while taking his first anatomy course with a human cadaver at UI, he could sense a difference in experience between students that came from schools offering a more direct undergraduate experience dissecting the human form.

"We all caught up eventually, but there definitely was a difference," he said.

Other colleges in Iowa are keeping an eye on UNI's new technology for its undergrad students.

The University of Iowa does offer some undergraduate courses that include opportunities to visit the school's cadaver labs for its graduate and professional programs, said Darren S. Hoffmann, a lecturer of anatomy and cell biology.

"I don't know if that's an explicit need for us," Hoffmann said about UNI's purchase. "But we'll be watching UNI. And if it proves to be a positive experience, it would be an investment we'd be excited about."

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Information from: Iowa City Press-Citizen, http://www.press-citizen.com/

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

The Associated Press

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