First scientific publication by MHB medical student

Neuruppin, 10. September 2018

The September issue of the renowned US journal “Academic Medicine” published a paper entitled “Bodies for Anatomy Education in Medical Schools: An overview of the Sources of Cadavers Worldwide”, the first with an MHB medical student as lead author. Under the supervision of Prof. Andreas Winkelmann, director of the MHB Institute of Anatomy, Juri Habicht addressed the problems of anatomists worldwide in procuring bodies for dissection courses in medical education. According to Prof. Winkelmann, the law in Germany and most other Western European countries permits the use of bodies only from persons who give their explicit consent while still alive. But many other countries have different regulations.

Habicht compiled the pertinent information for 71 nations in total via literature research and enquiries among anatomists. On this basis he designed a global map with relevant data. “In more than 50% of countries – more than we expected – anatomists still use so called unclaimed bodies, i.e. corpses of persons who die without family or without the means for a burial. The ethical issue as to which bodies may be used in dissection courses was the background for my study,” so Habicht.

Prof. Winkelmann points out that up to the 1960es, people in Germany were not always asked for their consent to a use of their body after death: “In order to be ethically acceptable, such use requires donors’ written consent in their lifetime. We hope that an increasing number of anatomists worldwide establish programmes to organize body donations, notwithstanding the cultural and religious obstacles that still exist in some parts of the world.”

The paper including the global map is available here.

Prof. Andreas Winkelmann is availabe for any pertinent questions under