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Egyptian Mummies Visit Hospital for CT Scan

Marianne Aiello, June 29, 2009

Four very different patients underwent a CT scan at North Shore University Hospital this week. They each hail from the Middle East, are well-to-do, and, oh, died thousands of years ago.

Four ancient Egyptian mummies, dating as far back as 1188 BC, journeyed from their display at the Brooklyn Museum to the Manhasset, NY, hospital so that the museum's Egyptologists could learn more about their lives—and deaths. North Shore's 64-slice CT scan, though normally used to detect heart abnormalities, provided the scientists with detailed images of the mummies' tissues and skeletal systems without performing any potentially damaging invasive procedures.

"The Brooklyn Museum had a history of using medical technology to look at Egyptian antiquities to evaluate them and try to explore them without actually causing damage to them and going through them and opening them," says Dr. Amgad Makaryus, North Shore's director of cardiac CT and MRI. "The reason they contacted us is they knew we had this new 64-detector scanner technology that gives you high resolution images that would be helpful in exploring these mummies."

After reviewing the images, the Egyptologists made some startling discoveries. The remains of the Count of Thebes were found to have a reed-like tube in the chest area, which the scientists believe could have been placed there to keep the Count's head in a regal position for eternity. When the remains of Lady Hor were scanned, the scientists found something even more shocking—the Lady was a man.

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