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BIO402: Pathobiology

Unit 6: Postmortem   Until now, we have discussed what is considered “normal pathology” and examined the impact that disease has on the pathophysiology of an organism.  In this unit, we will see what happens postmortem (with death) and how the information obtained can be used to confirm a suspected diagnosis or to determine the cause of death.

Unit 6 Time Advisory
This unit will take approximately 5.25 hours to complete.

☐    Subunit 6.1: 2 hour

☐    Subunit 6.2: 3.25 hours

Unit6 Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this unit, the student will be able to:

  • Identify major changes that occur to a body postmortem.
  • Compare and contrast the usefulness of medical and criminal autopsies.

6.1 Changes that Occur Postmortem   - Reading: The Encyclopedia of Death and Dying’s “Rigor Mortis and Other Postmortem Changes” Link:  The Encyclopedia of Death and Dying’s “Rigor Mortis and Other Postmortem Changes” (HTML)
 
Instructions:  This reading describes the changes that take place in tissue following death or postmortem. 
 
Terms of Use:  Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

6.2 The Autopsy   6.2.1 Autopsy Used in the Criminal Investigation   - Web Media: National Geographic’s “The Real CSI: Crime Autopsy” Link:  National Geographic’s “The Real CSI: Crime Autopsy” (Adobe Flash)

 Also available in:  

[YouTube](http://www.youtube.com/verify_age?next_url=http%3A//www.youtube.com/watch%3Fv%3Dudi8IpP3Uy8)  
    
 Instructions:  This National Geographic video follows a pathologist
as she works through an autopsy procedure.  Some of the images may
be a bit graphic for some.  
    
 Terms of Use:  Please respect the copyright and terms of use
displayed on the webpage above.
  • Web Media: Discovery Health Videos’ “Most Shocking Autopsies: The Almond Smell Clue” Link: Discovery Health Videos ‘“Most Shocking Autopsies: The Almond Smell Clue” (Adobe Flash)
     
    Instructions: Watch this short video (2:18 minutes) about a poisoning case.  This autopsy video shows you that what appears to be true and what is actually true can be two very different things.  Other videos are available on this site, including an autopsy of a plague case.  While you are not required to watch these, you might find them interesting.
     
    Terms of Use: Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

6.2.2 Autopsy Used to Diagnose and Learn about Disease   - Web Media: Dolan DNA Learning Center’s “Amyloid Plaques – A Hallmark of Alzheimer’s Disease” Link:  Dolan DNA Learning Center’s “Amyloid Plaques – A Hallmark of Alzheimer’s Disease” (YouTube)
 
Instructions:  This short video argues that confirming the presence of amyloid plaques in the brain is the only definitive means of diagnosing Alzheimer’s Disease.  These plaques can only be detected on an autopsy.
 
Terms of Use:  Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • Reading: University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine: Dr. Larry Nichols’ “Cardiovascular Pathology Case 158 Substernal Chest Pain” Link:  University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine: Dr. Larry Nichols’ “Cardiovascular Pathology Case 158 Substernal Chest Pain” (HTML)
     
    Instructions:  Read this case and look at the autopsy findings. 
     
    Terms of Use:  Please respect the copyright and terms of use displayed on the webpage above.

  • Assessment: The Saylor Foundation’s “Autopsy Diagnosis and Disease” Link:  The Saylor Foundation’s “Autopsy Diagnosis and Disease” (HTML)

    Instructions: Complete this multiple choice assessment. 

    Completing this assessment should take approximately 15 minutes.