An ancient Egyptian mummy attributed to the priest Usermontu has been found to have implanted with a sophisticated nine-inch knee-screw, to help fuse his left knee joint. The medical implant was discovered on x-rays taken by a research team at Brigham Young University. Professor of Ancient Studies, C. Wilfred Griggs, initially assumed the device was simply added to the mummy in modern times, to help hold the body together. "I assumed at the time that the pin was modern. I thought we might be able to determine how the pin had been inserted into the leg, and perhaps even guess how recently it had been implanted into the bones. I just thought it would be an interesting footnote to say, ‘Somebody got an ancient mummy and put a modern pin in it to hold the leg together.’"
Computerised tomography (CT) scanners are normally used to create detailed images of the inside of the body, but they have recently been used to scan more unusual patients.
Eight Egyptian mummy exhibits from The British Museum in London have been transported to hospitals across the city under the cover of darkness and placed inside CT scanners, where the high quality imaging has yielded some revealing and rather surprising results.
Despite not having sugared soft drinks or fast food, the ancients didn’t lead healthier lives than we do. Researchers who examined 137 mummies from four different cultures, spanning 4,000 years, under CT scanners, and found evidence of atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) in almost half of them.
In the March 11th edition of the Wall Street Journal, Ron Winslow quotes cardiologist Randall Thompson as saying, "The older ones at the time of death had a lot more calcification than the younger ones, and there was a trend toward worse disease in women." This is the opposite of heart disease today, where women generally develop cardiovascular disease a decade or so later than men.
The Regional Director of Culture in Cusco, Peru, David Vega Centeno, said on Friday that a group of specialists has conducted studies of two mummies, one of them with strange features, which are in the private Museum of Andean Rituals in the Andahuaylillas district.
If preliminary results reveal anything unusual about the mummy other than the unusual shape of the skull, further studies will be undertaken, possibly involving DNA analysis.