Page last updated at 08:52 GMT, Wednesday, 15 October 2008 09:52 UK

University buys 400k body parts

The University of Warwick has bought more than 200 body parts

Medical students are to study anatomy using preserved body parts bought for 400,000 from the controversial professor Gunther von Hagens.

The University of Warwick has bought more than 200 body parts which have been preserved using Prof von Hagens's patented plastination technique.

The professor hit the headlines when he performed the UK's first public autopsy since 1830 on television in 2002.

He was warned he would be breaking the law but no charges were brought.

However, more than 100 complaints were registered with independent broadcasting regulator Ofcom.

Centre of excellence

Prof von Hagens is also famous for his popular Body Worlds exhibitions in which preserved corpses, stripped of flesh and exposing muscle and sinew, are exhibited in natural human poses.

The exhibition has been criticised by some as being in bad taste but hailed by others as merging science and art.

They will be a unique and invaluable tool for the training of doctors
Prof Peter Abrahams, Warwick Medical School

Prof von Hagens's method involves removing fat and water from body parts and impregnating them with a polymer.

His laboratory in Guben, Germany, has a supply of donors who wish to be immortalised in plastic after their deaths.

The University of Warwick said it had bought the body parts using a 1.1m grant from the county's strategic health authority.

The money was intended to help develop its medical department as a centre of excellence in anatomical surgical study.

Prof Peter Abrahams, Warwick Medical School's chairman of clinical anatomy, said the specimens were essential for anatomy teaching.

He said: "Gunther von Hagens's plastination technique is the most effective and his specimens are of the highest quality.

"Our students can use these specimens again and again to understand how the body works. They will be a unique and invaluable tool for the training of doctors."

The university's consignment of body parts is expected to arrive in London on 24 October and will first go on display at the Body Worlds exhibition at the O2 arena in east London.


SEE ALSO
Preserved body slice on display
27 Jun 07 |  Health
Body doctor cleared over corpses
10 Mar 04 |  Arts & Culture
Body 'professor' fined over title
04 Mar 04 |  Arts & Culture

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