CA Science Center: Body Worlds (Part Three)

The information found in the captions is derived from the exhibit except those found in parentheses. Those are my own words.


As the above picture comments, these were once living people who gave permission to use them for scientific and educational purposes. I hope you enjoy the pictures as much as I enjoyed viewing the exhibit, keeping in mind to respect the bodies and parts involved.


Shall We Continue with Disease and Ailments of the Body?


And Explore The Specifics?


Fibroids, also called myomas, are benign growths occurring in the muscle layer of the uterus.  A benign tumor is one that grows, but unlike a malignant tumor (cancer), does not destroy its surrounding tissues and does not form metastases.  Usually, fibroids do not cause any discomforts.  In some cases, they may lead to irregularities of the menstrual cycle or to complications during pregnancy.  Fibroids are relatively common.  About 1 woman in 3 or 4 older than 30 years is affected. (They aren’t lying when they say these are common among women.)

Stomach Ulcer

stomach ulcer
This stomach has a circular lesion at its lining, a stomach ulcer.  Overproduction of hydrochloric acid can damage the lining of the stomach and especially that of the duodenum.  Ulcers readily form if this condition exists concurrently with a bacterial infection, particularly that of Helicobacter pylori, one of the few bacteria that are not destroyed by gastric acids.  The mucus membrane first becomes inflamed {gastritis}, and then becomes sensitive to gastric acids, until it eventually wears down.  Ulcers can cause symptoms of indigestion, including severe pain.  They can usually be treated with medicines but, if left untreated, can lead to serious complications, including bleeding or perforation of the stomach. (I’ve dealt with H. pylori before.  Good times.)

Breast Cancer

Breast cancer is a malignant tumor of the glandular ducts.  It is the most common form of cancer in women.  The exact causes of breast cancer are not yet understood.  Childlessness, a late first pregnancy, an early first menstruation or late menopause, smoking, and alcohol use are the strongest risk factors.  In very rare cases, men may also be affected by breast cancer.

Smoker’s Lung

Tar and soot particles from cigarette smoke form deposits in the lungs and turn them black.  Smoking negatively affects the body in different ways and shortens average life span by several years.  It accelerates the aging process, weakens our immune system, and increases the risk for heart disease, stroke, and eye diseases.  After smoking is stopped, the tar will gradually decompose and the health risks related to smoking will decline.  (We all know the risks of smoking, but many do it or have done it, including myself.  If I had it my way and didn’t have a conscience, I’d still be smoking.   The biggest thing I noticed when I smoked was my inability to breathe easily.  So yes, smoking is bad and not smoking is good for the body.)

Cigarette Tar

(20 cigarettes a day produces a lot of tar after a year.)

Smoker’s Lung with Emphysema

Another danger of long-term smoking is the development of emphysema.  It develops gradually as air sacs in the lungs are irreversibly destroyed, leaving behind cavities in the lung tissue.  The lung surface available for the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide is reduced, causing shortness of breath.

Smoker’s Lung with Cancer

One of the dangers of long-term smoking is the development of cancers of the mouth, larynx, airways and lung.  Most lung cancers originate from the bronchial walls.  The bronchi get in direct contact with our immediate environment and inhaled carcinogens such as tobacco smoke.  This can directly affect the bronchial walls and contribute to local tumor growth.  In this lung, the solid, whitish-looking tumor has invaded almost the complete lower lobe.

Non-Smoker’s Lung

(I was going to save this for the other section, but here’s a comparison of a non-smoker’s lung.)  When we breathe in, we also inhale fine particles of dust, that can accumulate in the lung tissue.  These deposits usually disappear in time.  As we grow older, though, these deposits are visible as small surface marks similar to those on this lung.  Regular exercise helps the alveoli stay healthy into old age.

Hardening of the Arteries

The aortas here show arteriosclerosis, a process in which arteries become gradually harder with age, losing their elasticity.  This is due to the depositing of fats, proteins, and minerals on the blood-vessel walls.  As the disease progresses, the internal walls of the blood vessel begin to deteriorate and form ulcers.  This allows blood clots to collect on the ulcers, narrowing the arteries even more.  Everybody gets arteriosclerosis with age.  However, even young people will experience the onset of arteriosclerosis if their lifestyle is unhealthy.


Heart Attack

If the blood flow in a coronary artery is reduced, the heart muscle it supplies may die.  This condition is known as a heart attack, or myocardial infarction.  If only a small section of the heart is affected, it can continue to pump blood through the body, and thus a person may survive the heart attack, although the heart is weakened.  Gradually, a white scar of connective tissue will replace the dead cells.  The heart wall is then significantly thinner in the affected area.



Artificial Heart Valve

Bacterial or rheumatic infections {endocarditis} can deform the heart valves so much that they can no longer open sufficiently or close properly.  In severe cases, the affected valves have to be replaced with artificial ones.

HIV-Human Immunodeficiency Virus

An estimated 1.2 million people in the United States were living with HIV in 2013 {information from Centers for Disease Control}.  Of those people, about 13% did not know they were infected.  Because an HIV-positive person may not show symptoms for years after becoming infected, the only way a person can find out that they have HIV is by being tested.  While there is not yet a cure for HIV, with ongoing treatment people who are HIV-positive can live long and healthy symptom-free lives.  Without treatment, the immune system can become too weak to fight off other infections and certain types of cancers.  This stage of HIV is called AIDS {Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome}.  The virus is mainly transmitted during unprotected sex and through sharing needles.  You can’t get HIV from hugging, holding hands, kissing or other casual contact.  HIV also can’t be spread through sneezes or coughs, and you can’t get HIV from toilet seats, swimming pools or sitting next to someone who has HIV-in fact, HIV dies when it’s exposed to air.

This concludes the diseases and ailments.  The last two posts will focus on blood and various information that may or may not be interesting and helpful to you.



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