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Kansas City, Missouri
Making Medical Discoveries Through Archaeology
A mummy from the Redpath Museum in Montreal in a CT scanner. With grants from the NEH and Canada’s Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, researchers at St. Luke’s Mid-America Heart Institute and the University of Western Ontario teamed up to build the IMPACT Radiological Database, an online clearinghouse of medical images taken from mummified human remains. Image courtesy Andrew Nelson, University of Western Ontario.

With grants from the NEH and Canada’s Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council, researchers at St. Luke’s Mid-America Heart Institute and the University of Western Ontario teamed up to build the IMPACT Radiological Database, an online clearinghouse of medical images taken from mummified human remains. The IMPACT Radiological Database makes it possible for researchers to analyze broad sets of data gathered from mummified human remains around the world. In addition to providing fascinating insights into ancient burial practices, researchers have made significant discoveries about the history of heart disease and genetic predisposition that may well help them treat it in the future. By providing funding for this international collaboration, the NEH enabled great strides toward the future treatment of common public health problems.

A CT slice through the midline of the head of a mummy—Lady Hudson—showing that her brain was removed through her nose and resin poured into the rear of the skull. Image courtesy of Andrew Nelson, University of Western Ontario.

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