This paper discusses the value of human cadaveric subjects in injury biomechanics research. Published data were used to estimate the number of cadavers used in the past 30 years and to show that, as a benefit to society, over 60 lives were saved and countless injuries prevented for each cadaver used in the development and validation of safety improvements. Ethical and religious concerns regarding the use of cadavers are also addressed. Because of the substantial humanitarian value of cadaver research and the lack of suitable specimens, it is proposed that cadaver resources be pooled and that institutions with surplus specimens supply the few cadaver testing laboratories with specimens each year. This approach will enable further development of safety systems and facilitate achieving the national goals for injury control.
From the Bioengineering Center (A.I.K., D.C.V.) and the Department of Anatomy (N.M.), Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan, and the Department of Orthopedic Surgery, University of Rochester, Rochester, New York (J.D.S.).
Address for reprints: Albert I. King, PhD, Bioengineering Center, Wayne State University, 818 W. Hancock, Detroit, MI 48202.