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Jun-25-2007 21:17printcomments

Real Plastinated Smokers Lungs Unveiled Thursday at OMSI

As many as 18.9 percent of Oregonians smoke, and 76 percent of those want to quit. This exhibit is a good inspiration.

(Plastinate: Frontal 3-D Slice Body
Visitors at BODY WORLDS in Berlin, Germany, 2001
(Plastinate: Frontal 3-D Slice Body)
Photo: Bodyworlds.com

(PORTLAND, Ore.) - One of the many dramatic displays in Gunther von Hagens' BODY WORLDS 3: The Anatomical Exhibition of Real Human Bodies begins June 28th at OMSI. It features blackened smokers lungs compared to healthy lungs.

This striking comparison has moved visitors to quit smoking, so BODY WORLDS 3, in partnership with OMSI and the American Lung Association, is launching I Quit! —a smoking cessation program.

I Quit! was conceived after BODY WORLDS exhibition cleaning crews kept finding unfinished packs of cigarettes on the glass display case containing the smoker's lung.

"Each rejected pack marked a victory by one person against nicotine addiction," said Dr. Angelina Whalley, a physician, and designer of the BODY WORLDS exhibitions. "Many visitors to the exhibition reported that they had tried everything but only stopped after seeing the smoker's lung."

While considering a formal smoking cessation program, she remembered the dramatic public service announcement by the actor, Yul Brynner before his death from cancer in 1985. "I wanted to unite his message to the donor's lungs to inspire people to give up smoking," Whalley said.

Independent surveys conducted at BODY WORLDS exhibits have revealed that 68 percent of visitors resolved to pay more attention to their physical health after seeing the exhibit. At one venue where a follow-up survey was conducted, results showed that 10 percent of visitors stated that they had smoked less and consumed less alcohol since their visit to the exhibition.

Locally, anti-smoking awareness has heightened. All Oregon restaurants and bars will be smoke-free beginning in January 2009 after the Legislature voted last Friday to expand the state's indoor smoking ban.

Health officials say more than 800 Oregonians die each year from diseases caused by second-hand smoke. Additional statistics show as many as 18.9 percent of Oregonians smoke. Of those, 76 percent want to quit. (www.tobacco.org) The Anatomical Exhibition of Real Human Bodies, BODY WORLDS 3, explores health science, anatomy and physiology through the study of real human bodies preserved through "plastination," Dr. Gunther von Hagens' groundbreaking method of preserving the body for anatomical study.

Gunther von Hagens

The one-of-a-kind exhibition features more than 200 authentic organs and whole-body specimens, known as plastinates fixed in dramatic and athletic poses, giving visitors the opportunity to observe the body's locomotive, digestive, nervous and vascular systems, and compare healthy and diseased organs, such as the lungs of a smoker and non-smoker.

Gunther von Hagens says, "The human body is the last remaining nature in a man made environment. I hope for the exhibitions to be places of enlightenment and contemplation, even of philosophical and religious self recognition, and open to interpretation regardless of the background and philosophy of life of the viewer."

BODY WORLDS 3 is at OMSI through October 7th in the exhibit hall, 2nd floor, 1945 SE Water Avenue, Portland, Oregon 97214. For information, call 503.797.4000 or visit www.omsi.edu, or www.bodyworlds.com.

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