The donation of the whole body after death for scientific purposes is fundamental in order to ensure new advances in many fields of human knowledge and constitutes an act of altruism and civic sense, a gesture that enhances health and progress as collective interests, and that requires increased awareness. The donation of one's body to science can therefore be considered a gift to the next generations.
BODY DONATION AND FIELDS OF USE
The use of individual organs for research purposes is generally possible as long as they are removed shortly after death, without necessarily incurring the technical and legal procedures required for transplantation. The whole-body donation, on the other hand, does not require any particular procedure: it is sufficient that the will of the donor is expressed in the testamentary act and that there are no judicial issues on the body, such as the need to perform an autopsy.
The donation is first of all useful for scientific research and medical and surgical training for the possibility of developing and fine-tuning very complex surgical procedures or new treatments with the latest generation instrumentation. More than 50 procedures can be performed on a single cadaver, from neurosurgical to orthopedic procedures, and, for example, it is possible to practice and study innovative techniques in microsurgery, transplants, oncology resections, or even the effectiveness of a new endoscopic examination device. The donation of the body and brain of elderly patients with neurodegenerative diseases also allows the study and advancement of research into neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, and dementia.
Anatomical dissection is fundamental for the teaching of anatomy and surgery to medical students but also for the classification of anatomical variants found in human beings,
regarding blood vessels and internal organs. The progress lies in the fact that surgeons do not experiment on the live person with the possibility of incurring errors, but on the corpse and then move on directly to the live person; another positive aspect is that animals are not killed specifically for such experiments.
A further application of whole-body donation in the field of forensic medicine concerns the "body farm", a plot of land on which various cadavers are deposited outdoors for scientific observation. Inaccessible to the non-scientific public, the body farm provides an opportunity to study the decomposition process of bodies under a wide variety of conditions. The results of the research carried out in the body farms are used by the scientific police and forensic medicine, for example, to improve the methods that establish the time of death.