By Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Samantha A. Lewis Naval Medical Center San Diego Public Affairs
SAN DIEGO - Naval Medical Center San Diego (NMCSD) and the San Diego Museum of Man took a rare opportunity to collaborate on Peruvian mummies in the hopes of unveiling medical history using a Flash Dual Source 128 CT scanner April 27.
Five Peruvian mummies (one adult and four young children) were transported to NMCSD to be x-rayed just before dawn.
Recovered in 1915 by the famous anthropologist Ales Hrdlicka, the mummies are estimated to be over 550 years-old. The museum of man asked NMCSD to help uncover medical data that could explain how each mummy died or if they suffered from any disease or trauma. NMCSD is the only medical facility in San Diego County that has the technology, a Flash Dual Source 128 CT scanner, that can provide an in-depth detailed scan of tissue and bone structure of each mummy without damaging them. This scanner uses dual energy sources to provide 3-D detail characteristics in tissue and bone details compared to a conventional CT scanner that uses one energy source to provide an image.
"They have been CT scanned before, so it will be interesting to see how the different methods compare and what data can be obtained," said Tori Randall, curator, department of Physical Anthropology San Diego Museum of Man.
Randall hopes to find evidence of disease or trauma in the mummies that reveal how the mummies died.
"Differentiation of mummified tissues is of vital importance in the study of paleopathology and the evolution of human diseases," said Chairman of NMCSD Radiology, Cmdr. Ronald J. Boucher. "This scanner allowed for nondestructive discrimination of the dry and brittle soft tissue and bones."
Not only did the Museum of Man benefit from using the Flash Dual Source 128 CT scanner, but it also provided an opportunity to train NMCSD staff.
"Being a training institution, this also serves in training our technologists in how to obtain dual energy scans," said Boucher. "As well as train our residents in methods of advanced image post processing and mummy anatomy and disease, using modern day medical technology." Randall was grateful for the opportunity to work with NMCSD.
"It has been wonderful to collaborate with such a great group of doctors and technicians," said Randall. "Their enthusiasm and expertise have been amazing, and has especially helped make this project timely and special for us. We here at the Museum of Man are so very grateful!"
The Museum of Man is a public anthropology museum that collects, interprets and preserves history related to human development to promote understanding for all cultures. The museum's collections total over 100,000 documented ethnographic items, nearly 50,000 photographic images, and 33,000 scientific publications.
For more information please contact visit: http://www.med.navy.mil/sites/nmcsd/Pages/default.aspx