26 | AGO | 2019
UNAM scientists develop formula to preserve corpses
Photo: File photo/EL UNIVERSAL

UNAM scientists develop formula to preserve corpses

20/07/2019
11:26
Teresa Moreno
Mexico City
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With the new preservation technique, the number of postgraduate courses has increased more than 10 times in three years

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Scientists from the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) developed a chemical formula to preserve corpses without the need for refrigeration.

The formula is odorless, reduces health risk, and keeps the flexibility of the bodies, which allows their use for research and teaching.

According to a release of the UNAM, Diego Pineda, head of the Department of Innovation in Biological Material of the Faculty of Medicine, explained that with formalin, which is used in most of the morgues, the preservation of a body requires three months of preparation.

“With our procedure, which combines several substances, only 15 days are needed, and after that time, the corpse needs nothing more, not even refrigeration.”

After a year and a half of tests and the combination of different substances, the formula was created and is now in national and international patent process.

 

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Previously, the amphitheater of the Faculty of Medicine (FM) had immersion bathtubs with formalin where the bodies were put to conserve them. The problem is that, in the long term, the substance has carcinogenic effects and it hinders the work because it is irritating to the eyes and the nasal mucosa. The new formula still uses formalin, but in a percentage of less than 3% combined with other substances.

Another downside of the traditional method is that formalin and other alcohols that were used dehydrate and stiffen the bodies; besides, because of the rigidity and the brown color they obtain, it is difficult for the students of Medicine to identify the anatomical planes like skin, fat, nerves, or arteries, or to practice different surgical techniques

“With adequate bodies, better skills are learned and mistakes in clinical practice are reduced, with a positive impact, because medical errors are the third cause of preventable cause of death in the world,” explained the specialist of the Faculty.

From the transformation of the amphitheater of the FM a bit more than three years ago, and the implementation of the new preservation technique, the number of postgraduate courses has increased: from four in 2016 to 66 in 2018, and by the middle of 2019, there were already 55.

In the FM there is a program of body donation. Two years and a half ago, when it started, 27 persons enrolled, and nowadays there more than 2,000 enrollees. On average, each body serves to give eight or more courses, and no matter how long they stay in the Faculty, they always receive a dignified treatment.

 

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