LOS ANGELES — There's not much else to do but stare in disbelief when presented with a 300-pound cadaver who has been dissected to reveal a thick layer of fat coating its organs and midsection.
Sure, it's not something you see everyday, but it is something you can see through the end of March at the California Science Center. The exhibit, Body Works 2, is a traveling show that puts whole skinless bodies in lifelike poses or displays dissected bodies to show how the body works. In America this is the debut of Body Works 2, although the original exhibit, Body Works, was quite popular when it debuted in Osaka, Japan, in 1995. Both versions highlight what happens when you don't take care of your body; a set of blackened lungs from smoking, a cirrhosis-infected liver, clogged arteries and in the case of the 300-pound cadaver, malfunction of the heart, are all shown in graphic detail.
“The reaction I've seen is that people are amazed to see what's there,” Georgina Gomez, spokesperson for the exhibit, said. “I hear a lot of, ‘Oh, no more French fries for me.’ They can actually see what happens with obesity.”
German anatomist Gunther von Hagens preserved the donated bodies through a process that replaces body fluids with plastic. The “Suicide by Fat — Obesity Revealed” section of the exhibit was made possible after 15 years of work by Von Hagens to develop a substance that looked like fat.
Schools, university groups and fitness facilities are encouraged to view the exhibit to see not only what obesity can do to the body, but also to see how muscles work when doing yoga, gymnastics or other athletic activities. Group rates are offered, and the center gives out brochures and other items to post for your members.
The exhibit runs through March 27, and then moves to a new location that will soon be announced. For more information go to: www.bodyworlds.com.