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Panzer S.,Trauma Center Murnau | Panzer S.,Institute of Biomechanics | Panzer S.,Paracelsus Medical University | Mc Coy M.R.,Paracelsus Medical University | And 6 more authors.
PLoS ONE | Year: 2015

The purpose of this study was to develop a checklist for standardized assessment of soft tissue preservation in human mummies based on whole-body computed tomography examinations, and to add a scoring system to facilitate quantitative comparison of mummies. Computed tomography examinations of 23 mummies from the Capuchin Catacombs of Palermo, Sicily (17 adults, 6 children; 17 anthropogenically and 6 naturally mummified) and 7 mummies from the crypt of the Dominican Church of the Holy Spirit of Vilnius, Lithuania (5 adults, 2 children; all naturally mummified) were used to develop the checklist following previously published guidelines. The scoring system was developed by assigning equal scores for checkpoints with equivalent quality. The checklist was evaluated by intra- and interobserver reliability. The finalized checklist was applied to compare the groups of anthropogenically and naturally mummified bodies. The finalized checklist contains 97 checkpoints and was divided into two main categories, "A. Soft Tissues of Head and Musculoskeletal System" and "B. Organs and Organ Systems", each including various subcategories. The complete checklist had an intra-observer reliability of 98% and an inter-observer reliability of 93%. Statistical comparison revealed significantly higher values in anthropogenically compared to naturally mummified bodies for the total score and for three subcategories. In conclusion, the developed checklist allows for a standardized assessment and documentation of soft tissue preservation in whole-body computed tomography examinations of human mummies. The scoring system facilitates a quantitative comparison of the soft tissue preservation status between single mummies or mummy collections. Copyright: © 2015 Panzer et al. Source

Panzer S.,Paracelsus Medical University | Gill-Frerking H.,Mummies of the World Touring Company | Rosendahl W.,Reiss Engelhorn Museen | Zink A.R.,EURAC Institute for Mummies and the Iceman | Piombino-Mascali D.,EURAC Institute for Mummies and the Iceman
Annals of Anatomy | Year: 2013

Whole-body multidetector computed tomography (CT) was performed on the mummified corpse of two-year-old Rosalia Lombardo, an anthropogenic mummy displayed in the Capuchin Catacombs of Palermo, Sicily, Italy. Rosalia Lombardo reportedly died of bronchopneumonia in 1920 and was preserved by the embalmer and taxidermist Alfredo Salafia with a formaldehyde-based fluid. Rosalia Lombardo's body is still exhibited in the Capuchin Catacombs inside the original glass-topped coffin in which she was placed. Only her head is visible: the rest of her body is covered by a sheet.CT images of Rosalia's body within her coffin were of reduced quality because of distinct metal artifacts caused by the coffin itself. Nevertheless, a detailed radiological analysis was possible for most of the body. Analysis of the data from the CT examination revealed indicators for the historically-reported endovasal and intracavity treatment. Rosalia's entire body was preserved in a remarkable state. The exceptional preservation of her internal organs made it possible to consider a radiological diagnosis of pneumonia.For this study, CT was determined to be the ultimate method for investigation, since Rosalia's body had to be kept untouched in her sealed coffin for conservation purposes. The CT examination offered new insights into the current preservation status of the body, and the superior contrast of CT allowed detailed assessment of different tissues. Post-processing methods provided reconstructions on any desired plane, as well as three-dimensional reconstruction, for the best possible visualization and interpretation of the body. © 2013 Elsevier GmbH. Source

Searcey N.,University of Nebraska - Lincoln | Reinhard K.J.,University of Nebraska - Lincoln | Egarter-Vigl E.,General and Regional Hospital | Maixner F.,EURAC Institute for Mummies and the Iceman | And 5 more authors.
International Journal of Paleopathology | Year: 2013

We undertook the analysis of Zweeloo Woman, a bog mummy from the Netherlands, to assess her parasitic state. Evidence of infection came from two areas: (1) liver paraffin sections and (2) microfossils washed from an intestinal section. Although the liver had shrunken considerably, objects consistent with operculated trematode eggs were found. After evaluating the range of trematode species that produce eggs in liver tissue, we arrived at the diagnosis of Dicrocoelium dendriticum. Although only 0.1. ml of sediment was recovered from an intestinal section, eggs of Ascaris lumbricoides and Trichuris trichiura were also identified. No eggs of D. dendriticum were revealed by the intestinal wash although they were observed in the liver. The lancet fluke, D. dendriticum, is a zoonosis that usually infects ruminants such as cattle. Eggs of D. dendriticum may be found in human coprolites if infected cow liver, for example, was eaten. This is false parasitism. Since eggs of D. dendriticum were found in the liver of Zweeloo Woman, we are assured this was a true infection. This find is especially significant because it is the oldest known, patent infection of D. dendriticum in humans. © 2013 Elsevier Inc. Source

Panzer S.,Trauma Center Murnau | Carli A.,University of Molise | Zink A.R.,EURAC Institute for Mummies and the Iceman | Piombino-Mascali D.,EURAC Institute for Mummies and the Iceman
Clinical Anatomy | Year: 2012

Eight anatomical preparations from the collection of Giovan Battista Rini (1795-1856) at the Desenzano Hospital Pathology Division (Brescia, Italy) were examined by computed tomography (CT). The aim of the study was to obtain detailed information on the state of preservation of these "anatomical mummies" and the techniques used to prepare them. Relying on the existing literature, the examined specimens (five heads with necks, two busts and one heart) could be divided into three types of anatomical specimens: "dry preparations," "corrosion preparations," and "organ preparations." CT examination enabled the assessment of the exact features of each specimen, some of the preparation techniques applied, the presence of foreign bodies, and the use of substances to fill the blood vessels. All of the cases demonstrated an extremely good state of preservation. The study sheds new light on important-yet scarcely known-preparation techniques created for different anatomical demonstrations. Results of the CT investigation were consistent with the anatomical preservation methods described in 18th to 20th century literature, particularly those of Italy. Copyright © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Source

Panzer S.,Trauma Center Murnau | Zink A.R.,EURAC Institute for Mummies and the Iceman | Piombino-Mascali D.,EURAC Institute for Mummies and the Iceman
Radiographics | Year: 2010

The purpose of this study was to use paleoradiologic analyses to investigate a sample of the mummies in the Capuchin Catacombs in Palermo, Sicily, in order to assess skeletal abnormalities and the state of preservation, especially the condition of the internal organs, and to determine radiologic evidence of anthropogenic mummification. Ten 19th and early 20th century mummies with good external preservation were investigated by using a portable direct radiography unit inside the Capuchin Catacombs. The radiographs clearly demonstrated signs of anthropogenic mummification in nine of the 10 mummies investigated. The embalming methods that had been used included (a) evisceration and arterial injection; (b) the placement of foreign materials into the orbits and the nasal and oral cavities; and (c) filling of the thoracic, abdominal, and rectal cavities with foreign materials. Organ preservation varied greatly among the mummies, although brain tissue was found in all of the mummies. Analyses of the skeletal material of the mummies showed evidence of healed vertebral fractures, age-related degenerative changes, and, in one of the child mummies, a remarkable skeletal pathologic condition. The radiographs clearly illustrated different methods of anthropogenic mummification in the catacomb mummies of Palermo, allowed assessment of the preservation of the mummies, and demonstrated skeletal abnormalities. © RSNA, 2010. Source

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