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CT Scans Help Unravel Mummy Mystery

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The mummy Padi-Heru on GE Healthcare’s CT750 HD

In collaboration with GE Healthcare, researchers from the Milwaukee Public Museum used the latest GE CT imaging technology to look back through time and start unraveling details about how three mummies – from Egypt and Peru – lived, died and even perhaps underwent brain surgery.

One of the museum’s mummies, a 2,600 year old named Djed-Hor from the Akhmim region in Egypt, appears to have had a precise section of his skull removed through trepanation – an ancient, rudimentary procedure designed to relieve pressure from the brain. Two other mummies, a female named Padi-Heru who is also from Akhmim in Egypt, and a Peruvian mummy who has never before been scanned, were also guests at the GE Healthcare facility in Waukesha.

The Milwaukee Public Museum’s Head of Anthropology Dr. Lupton and his team hope to use the high quality CT images gathered to both learn more about ancient medical skills and knowledge, and create 3D holographic representations of what the mummies would have looked like when they were alive.

To best help the museum unravel the mummy mystery, GE Healthcare provided a cutting-edge Discovery CT750 HD, along with Gemstone Spectral Imaging (GSI), which offered high quality images and a dramatic level of detail.  GSI also allows researchers to distinguish one type of tissue from another in order to better understand the makeup of the mummies’ bodies and other material.

"We've been doing this for 25 years with GE. Every time we've come out, it's a different generation of technology, better imaging, better information, better ways and it's faster too," Lupton added.