More people donating their bodies to science

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POSTED: Thursday, April 3, 2014 - 3:04pm

UPDATED: Thursday, April 3, 2014 - 5:06pm

Here in Baton Rouge, more people are donating their bodies to science. LSU is taking learning to the next level, by using these bodies to give students a more hands-on learning experience.

It's going to happen to all of us eventually, but before some people reach their final resting place, they decided their bodies will go here to LSU's Cadaver Lab located at the School of Veterinary Medicine. For some students, it changes everything.

"I could look at a book all day or look at the computer, but really once you're in here, it really help you just to know the anatomy like the back of your hand," said Nicole McLaughlin, a senior Kinesiology student.

"It's a very good thing to do for our students," Dennis Landin, an LSU Kinesiology professer.

Professor Dennis Landin said when bodies are donated, it's a chance for students to learn about human anatomy in a totally different way.

"The bodies will come to us completely intact and those people in those classes will dissect them," Landin explained. "Then we save those bodies. We use them through the fall and spring in what we call our prossection classes, and that is for our undergraduates who come in. They won't dissect anymore, but they'll get to observe all the structure and learn where they are."

But seeing a human cadaver for the first time can be quite a shock.

"It was a little bit scary, and it wasn't what I expected, but then you get very comfortable within the first week," McLaughlin admitted.

But for McLaughlin, this takes learning to another level.

"Well what's really cool is that when you look at it in a book, it doesn't look the same until you could actually touch the structures and look at it in a three-dimensional way," McLaughlin said.

Kinesiology Graduate Teacher's Assistant Nathan Lamoine thinks this is what sets LSU apart.

"Actually, some med schools are dropping the wet labs all together," Lamoine said. "So, that's another benefit that we have in an undergraduate and graduate program that not many people get the experiences that we do.

The Kinesiology school isn't the only school at LSU that gets to use the human cadavers.

"We teach comparative anatomy. So, having the human bodies that are donated to this lab allows our students to come in and actually add one more species to their long list of animals that they have to know," said Martha Littlefield, assistant clinical professor of anatomy.

Professor Landin thinks more people are donating their bodies simply because it's cheaper.

"There's no cost associated with it. So, there's no funeral expenses... Once the body has been used at whatever site," Landin said. "Then the people from the Medical School will come and pick up the remains. They'll have them cremated, then the family of that donor can have the ashes."

If you're interested in donating your body or if you just want to learn more go to the link below: https://www.medschool.lsuhsc.edu/cell_biology/anatomical_services.aspx

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