Well, that's cutting it close.
Researchers from the U.S. National Library of Medicine in Bethesda, Maryland, have created a hyper-detailed digital image of the human body by using more than 5,000 slices from a frozen female cadaver donated to science more than two decades ago.
The so-called "human phantom" is the latest endeavor from the Visible Human Project, which began in the 1990s as a system to provide digital images of the human body to medical researchers. The project began with the careful dissection of two bodies - male and female - which were then frozen, thinly sliced, and photographed.
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By way of MRI and CT scanning, the images were compiled, digitized and have long been made available to the medical community for research purposes. This newest project essentially recreates the original female body in its entirety using cutting-edge computer graphics and imaging technology.
The woman's body was cut into more than 5,000 slices, each around one-third of a millimeter thick. By assembling images of the slices back together with ultra-high resolution, the researchers have created the most detailed digital reconstruction of the human body ever assembled.
According to this fascinating report from New Scientist, the reconstructed body has 231 tissue parts, ranging from windpipe to eyeballs, but is missing nose cartilage and 14 other bits of the body.
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It's estimated that the virtual recreation provides 10 times more information than similar digital reconstructions that have been done in the past. This allows researchers to not only study anatomy in detail, but to run virtual experiments that would be too dangerous to undertake with living subjects.
Scientists and doctors are already using the virtual body data to study breast cancer treatments, implant scanning procedures and even the long-term effects of cell phone use. The data is being provided free of charge, and can be modified and analyzed with standard medical software.
Something to keep in mind next time you renew that organ donor card.