Scientists Use 5,000 Slices of a Dead Woman’s Body to Create Detailed Digital Model

KS HealthA 59 year-old obese Maryland woman died over 20 years ago, but details of her anatomy will live on in the digital world. Scientists with The Visible Human Project (creepiest name ever) sliced her cadaver over 5,000 times in order to create a super detailed digital image of the human body.

Image: Visible Human Project
Image: Visible Human Project

High-resolution images showing cross-sections of the body – at just a third of a millimeter thick – were stitched together to create a digital version of the woman, referred to as the ‘human phantom.’

The Visible Human Project was created by the U.S. National Library of Medicine in 1986. Their goal is to provide digital subjects for medical education, but they also hope to provide a new way for researchers to conduct experiments deemed too dangerous to perform on living humans.

“They have ten times as much information as you’d get from an MRI scan,” Dr Fernando Bello, from Imperial College London, told New Scientist. “It means the team will have much more information about organs and their structuring.”

The unnamed woman was not the first to undergo this procedure. The project also digitally pieced together a man in the 1990’s, but the woman’s recreation is much more detailed due to the fact she was sliced thinner (yikes). The male cadaver was sectioned at 1 millimeter intervals; the woman at intervals of just a third of a millimeter.

Click here to learn more about the Visible Human Project. And watch the crazy video below showing 1,800 cross-section images of the male cadaver!

Scientists Use 5,000 Slices of a Dead Woman’s Body to Create Detailed Digital Model

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