‘Bodies Revealed,’ an intimate view of the human body


“Bodies Revealed” gives visitors to the exhibit an opportunity to view the complexity of their own organs and systems. (© PREMIER EXHIBITIONS INC., BODIES REVEALED)
July 1, 2013
Anatomy Lesson
Preserved and dissected human bodies on display at Newport News museum
“Bodies Revealed,” Virginia Living Museum

Ever dream of taking a “Fantastic Voyage”-style journey through the human body, exploring muscles, organs, arteries and more on a miniature, blood-borne submarine? Well, science has yet to develop technology that can shrink people and inject them into someone’s bloodstream, but an exhibit at the Virginia Living Museum is offering the next best thing.

In “Bodies Revealed,” a touring exhibition of preserved and dissected human bodies, the human anatomy and its inner workings are revealed through a variety of displays. A skeleton rides a bicycle. A muscled athlete, stripped of skin, pitches a baseball. Medical prostheses prop up limbs. The blood vessels of the heart and the intricate canal system of the liver and gallbladder are displayed in vivid reds, yellows, blues and greens.

“Bodies Revealed” also highlights differences between healthy and unhealthy bodies, as well as health issues including obesity, breast cancer, colon cancer, ectopic pregnancy and osteoporosis. Preserved “smoker’s lungs,” full of tar, act as a graphic warning: “On average, a pack of cigarettes takes 3 hours and 40 minutes off your life,” says the accompanying placard.

According to exhibit organizers, the bodies and body parts on display are those of people who died in China of natural causes and whose cadavers were donated to medical schools there. (Over the years, concerns have been raised that the bodies might be those of prison inmates who had been executed.)

Using a process called polymer preservation, tissues can be preserved for decades, without any odor.

“Bodies Revealed” will be on display at the museum in Newport News, Va., through Sept. 2. For information, and to see if the exhibit might make you feel squeamish, visit www.thevlm.org or call 757-595-1900.

Weight Management
Losing weight to regulate blood sugar
“How to Prevent Diabetes — I Beat It and You Can, Too” by Doris Woods

When a doctor told Doris Woods that she was borderline diabetic, her mouth fell open. She was shocked and speechless, but looking back the clinical nurse realized she shouldn’t have been all that surprised. She had been battling thyroid, weight and hypertension problems, and routinely filled her cereal bowl to the brim and had a self-described addiction to Planters peanuts.

Woods followed her doctor’s instructions to lose weight and to exercise, succeeded in reversing her pre-diabetes diagnosis and “captured the essence of what you can do to lose weight and never again diet,” she writes in “How to Prevent Diabetes.”

In the book, which stresses the role of losing excess weight to regulate blood sugar, Woods outlines the basics of diabetes — what it is and how to get a diagnosis — and weight loss, including advice on controlling portions, reading food labels and managing emotional eating.

The advice, which revolves around the oft-repeated “eat less, exercise more” premise, is not new. But “How to Prevent Diabetes” roots these tips in Woods’s personal experience. Each chapter includes anecdotes about Woods’s diet plan and walking regimen, her battles with cravings and her training as a nurse. Even statistics-heavy information about clinical studies on diabetes and obesity is written in a conversational, sympathetic tone and sprinkled with mini pep talks.

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