Bodies The Exhibition Part 2

The second section of the exhibition concentrated more on the arteries, veins and blood vessels and showed the various internal organs beginning with the heart. I can’t say I spent too much time in this section as the muscles and the structures that hold us together are more to my interest. Moving on, we were shown the difference between a smokers set of lungs  and the lungs of a non smoker, quite shocking to see and hopefully a reason for people to stop smoking. In between the cases of the pairs of lungs, there was a box about  a meter high, a quarter of it filled with cigarette boxes – encouraging the visitors to put theirs in and use the example of the lungs as a reason to quit.

The part that I loved the most from this section was the example of the arteries and veins in the body. Firstly you see a brightly coloured arm and a leg in red and blue. The plaque beside it explains;

“Using a technique called corrosion casting, the blood vessels were first injected with a coloured polymer which hardened, The remaining body tissue was then chemically removed, revealing the delicate matrix that transports the blood”

I have to say, I was blown away when I then saw the full male body specimen of this, it was amazing. I then moved on to view the digestive system, respiratory system and reproductive system – many men repulsed at the example of cancer of the Penis (yes boys, it can happen). Also present was a transverse section of an overweight female. It separated the adipose tissue from the rest of the body. Interesting to see although in my opinion, she was not all that overweight, I think a more shocking example may have educated people better.

Before the third section “Embryonic and Foetal Development” , there was a sign warning that some the displays might cause upset.

“Please pause a moment and consider if you wish to enter. All foetal and embryonic specimens perished in utero from complications during pregnancy as well as birth defects that occurred during this time”

Presented here was numerous fetuses at different stages of development. I noticed people skipping by the corner it was in. I had heard so much about it that my curious mind got the better of me. I must have spent 15 minutes in this small section. I was amazed to see the stages of the fetus, at 1 week it is  bigger than a spec of dust on your TV screen, possibly the size of a pea seed in a pod. I was really blown away by this. What I couldn’t believe was that at 16 weeks, the fetus is the size of a puppy or a kitten. Also on display are examples of the fetus at  11, 13, 15 and 16 weeks to demonstrate bone development. A process is carried out whereby a dye is injected which binds to calcium to show and measure the stages of bone development. Really fascinating stuff.  What I really thought was great, was a woman who seemed about 6 months pregnant with her son who was maybe 8 or 9, was relating it all to her own pregnancy and teaching her son about what is going on inside her belly while his future sibling is growing.

Despite reading various controversial blog posts and articles about this section, I thoroughly enjoyed it and walked away with a sense of calm and reassurance. I have always had somewhat of a nervous disposition towards pregnancy. Visibly we can see how the womans body changes outside but it was great to have some clarification as to what will go on inside my body if I someday choose to have children.

Part 3, the concluding post will follow tomorrow.

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