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  • Maybe you were an underachiever in  life. Good news, because thanks to  

  • modern science you can finally accomplish  something more than a sick 360 no scope  

  • Call of Duty headshot while living in your  parents basement. All you have to do is die.  

  • And if you're really lucky, you'll  end up helping the US military out.

  • Humans have hacked other humans apart forvariety of fun reasons since we left the trees  

  • in Africa for the open savannas. Typically, our  primary reason was war or just plain old fashioned  

  • murder- but one day several thousand years ago  the first true medical students got an idea:  

  • what if we hacked the human body apart so we  could learn how to put it back together again...  

  • sort of. And just like that the  science of anatomy was born.

  • Some of the ancient people who would  put the knowledge of anatomy to best use  

  • were the Egyptians, who had a variety of  shockingly advanced surgical treatments  

  • for various ailments. Sadly, primitive medical  knowledge still meant most of these patients  

  • died anyways, mostly because humans had  yet to discover the concept of washing  

  • one's hands before shoving them  inside the intestines of another.

  • But ancient Egyptian anatomical expertise  was of even better use when you were dead,  

  • as they skillfully sliced open  corpses to remove and preserve organs  

  • during mummification in order to help prevent  decay. The science of anatomy would have little  

  • effect on improving the lives of the living  for several thousand more years however,  

  • when it exploded in popularity during the  late 18th century and early 19th century.

  • Empiricism led to the establishment of what  we'd today call modern scientific methods,  

  • and this required research and experimentation-  a lot of it. There was just one problem for the  

  • budding anatomist- they needed bodies to work  on and families were extremely frowny face  

  • about handing over loved ones to be mutilated  in front of an audience. Some donated bodies  

  • were received from time to time, but doctors  faced yet another problem: people were taking an  

  • almost obscene amount of time to die. If you were  healthy you might even live as long as 25 before  

  • dying to cholera or in a horrifying industrial  accident or in Europe's favorite pastime: war.

  • Surgeons circumvented the lack of bodies by  simply stealing them. Other, les scrupulous  

  • surgeons gladly paid others for donated bodieswhich they knew were being robbed from freshly  

  • dug graves. Often, doctors would even turn  a blind eye to very obvious murder victims-  

  • such was the hunger for bodies to experiment on.

  • Eventually the government  decided enough poor people  

  • had been murdered and sold to medical schools  and changed the law to allow only donations.  

  • This law stands until today in most nations.

  • But what exactly happens when  you donate your body to science?

  • Well, first of all, not just anyone  can donate their body to science.  

  • There are various concerns over the risks your  body might pose even after you've vacated it.  

  • On your quest to become an elaborate prop in some  medical student's freshman prank, you'll first  

  • have to undergo a screening while still aliveThe screening will dive deep into your medical  

  • history, and include blood work to test you for  every disease under the sun. As you'll soon be in  

  • the hands of bumbling first-year medical students  who won't know your ass from a hole in the ground,  

  • there's serious concern about accidentally  contaminating those working on your body.  

  • Conditions such as HIV/AIDS, Hepatitis B or C,  Covid-19, and other highly contagious diseases  

  • are an automatic disqualifier. As is being  severely overweight or underweight- though  

  • occasionally there are special request for obese  donations in order to test new medical devices.

  • That's right, your body won't just go to be  clumsily hacked apart by medical students,  

  • but could be used to test new  medical devices. Testing new  

  • medical technology inside living humans is  morally... challenging.. due to possible  

  • unforeseen malfunctions or unintended  consequences. Surgeons however also have  

  • to learn how to implant the latest doo-hicky  inside a still-living person that will hopefully  

  • remain still-living after the procedureThat's where your chump corpse comes in.

  • Surprisingly though, age actually doesn't  matter when it comes to body donation.  

  • Even if you're extremely old or young, your  corpse can be of some use to medical science.  

  • There are of course extremely  old or extremely young people far  

  • luckier than you whom a new surgical procedure  or medical treatment could help keep alive.

  • Once your screening is complete, your information  is kept on file until the day you kick the bucket.  

  • Then, instead of going to a funeral home to be  embalmed, your body is picked up by the agency  

  • you're registered to, who immediately  get to work on preserving your body  

  • without actually damaging it with harsh  chemicals such as those used at a funeral home.  

  • When your body is prepared by a funeral home  a devil's brew of chemicals is used to make  

  • you appear life-like as you rest in your coffin  for a final farewell. You'll look the picture of  

  • perfect health, even though you're dead and full  of more chemicals than American supermarket meats.

  • You'll instead go in a freezer where you'll  sometimes stay for up to three years, until  

  • the need arises. After that period, your remains  will be cremated free of charge to your family,  

  • who can then do with your ashes as they  like. If your family is even remotely cool,  

  • they'll have you made into a firework.

  • However, if you fit the bill for  any of a number of cadaver requests,  

  • you could go on to briefly live a second  life in a number of exciting adventures.  

  • Your body could be used to practice robotic  surgery- as in robots practicing to do surgery,  

  • not practicing doing surgery on robots  where you would be completely useless.  

  • With the advent of artificial intelligence and  telemedicine, the field of robotic surgery is  

  • rapidly growing, and you can help pave the way for  a future of 'surgical pods' like the one in the  

  • awful Alien movie starring Michael FassbenderActually, there's two of those at this point.

  • Turns out people are super wary about  letting robots hack away at their bodies,  

  • so corpses are perfect for letting our future  

  • Terminator overlords learn the best  way to take apart the human body.

  • You could also however end up helping  a new surgeon learn his trade,  

  • or testing laser treatment for acne. That  plague on your face might end up helping keep  

  • other young teenagers from suffering the  humiliation of adolescent pizza face.

  • But, if you're really lucky, you'll finally  get to do something really cool with your body.

  • The US military is in the business of politely  asking people in other countries to stop doing  

  • things we don't like by blowing them  up or shooting them full of holes. In  

  • order to advance the science of blowing  people up or shooting them full of holes,  

  • occasionally the US military is in need  of cadavers. And that's where you come in.

  • You can help test new weapons by getting  shot at. While ballistic gel molds can  

  • give us a lot of information about how new  weapons perform by simulating human bodies,  

  • there's nothing quite like the real thingShooting up cadavers can allow military  

  • scientists to gather extremely accurate data  on how to improve existing weapon designs-  

  • or even how to help treat and save lives  by those wounded by similar weapons.

  • This is the case with the controversial US  Army blast experiments, which have for years  

  • used corpses of all ages and sizes to test the  effects of various explosives on the human body.  

  • One man in Arizona was shocked to discover  that his dead mother, who had agreed to  

  • donate her body to science, had been used to  test the effects of IEDs on the human body  

  • under various levels of protection. While her  son was livid enough to take legal action,  

  • by all accounts his mother had a blast.

  • This type of weapons testing is incredibly  useful in both creating better weapons and  

  • helping protect our troops and save liveseven if it's not exactly the type of science  

  • most donors think they'll be helping advanceSome donation agencies allow a donor to opt  

  • out of any related testing, but due to low  number of donors, body brokers typically  

  • simply leave this possibility out of  the brochure for prospective donors.

  • Your body however could also be used in  industry and government-run safety tests.  

  • Vehicle manufacturers may turn to the use of  cadavers to test new safety features of a vehicle,  

  • or the government could order a round  of crash tests using real human bodies  

  • to assess new safety procedures or regulationsThese tests may sound garish to the still living,  

  • but they've helped save countless lives and  prevented millions of crippling injuries.

  • Perhaps most surprising of all about donating  your body to science though is the fact that  

  • you're not likely to end up in one piece. Cadavers  are frequently dismembered, as various customers  

  • need different body parts to experiment on or  to complete their shrunken head collection.  

  • Your legs may go to a research facility  working on new treatments for broken bones,  

  • while your hands go to a medical school so  surgeons can practice reattaching severed fingers.  

  • While legally the donor facility is required to  collect all of the remains after their use is over  

  • and hand over the cremated ashes to your familywe can realistically assume that there's not a  

  • snowball's chance in hell anybody is taking the  time to gather up your remains from the far-flung  

  • corners of the US. Your family will likely instead  receive ashes that are probably, maybe, mostly  

  • you. Along with bits of a few other strangers  they had laying around and needed to get rid of.

  • Now go watch Funeral Home Secrets They Don't Want  You To Know, or click this other video instead!

Maybe you were an underachiever in  life. Good news, because thanks to  

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What Actually Happens When You Donate Your Body to Science

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    Summer posted on 2021/08/28
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