Paulo Saldiva of the University of São Paolo in Brazil will develop minimally invasive autopsies as a method combining body imaging with needle puncture of the skin to sample tissue to more accurately determine the cause of death that can also be used in low-resource settings. Knowing the cause of each death is critical for developing effective health policies to prevent avoidable deaths such as those from infectious diseases. However, families are often unwilling to authorize a full autopsy, and they require trained physicians, which makes them less common in developing countries, leaving many deaths with unknown causes. They will perform minimally invasive autopsies to determine the cause of death for 1000 adult patients, including comparing the value of imaging via computerized tomography scanning versus ultrasound, and collect needle biopsies. The same patients will also undergo a conventional autopsy to assess the accuracy of their approach.
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