CT scans of Egyptian mummy help VT solve crimes

NPR/Associated Press, April 27, 2011

A childhood fascination with archaeology and a chance encounter with a 2,700-year-old Egyptian mummy are helping Vermont doctors and law enforcement officials find truth in some of the most challenging of modern-day crimes: the unexplained deaths of young children. After spotting the mummy at the University of Vermont's Robert Hull Fleming Museum in Burlington, Dr. Jason Johnson, a radiology resident, arranged to have it put through his hospital's state-of-the-art CT scanner. What Johnson didn't expect was that some of the scientific techniques used to reveal the mummy's secrets would have other applications, including helping Vermont's medical examiner and prosecutors determine if children who die in infancy are the victims of crimes. The hospital's CT scans helped doctors create a full-size, three-dimensional model of the mummy's skull ? thanks to the latest technology and the sharp detail obtained by cranking up the power on the scanner to levels unsafe for living patients. That also helps in forensics by revealing patterns of injury in modern infant death cases that other scan techniques might miss.


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