Paleopathography & Italian Paleopathology

Summary of Research

This project aims to analyse material of paleopathological relevance from the Italian Peninsula using several (mainly non-invasive) methodologies and approaches. The investigation includes human skeletal remains, mummies, artistic representations and literary sources and is performed as part of a collaboration with Italian colleagues and research groups. This research plan also stresses the importance of combining different lines of evidence, ranging from historical sources to biomedical investigations, in order to better approximate the ancient phenotype of diseases and identify their historical manifestations.

Facilities used

Archival and historical research, multidisciplinary art and literary sources analytics, X-rays, CT scan

Project Collaboration

Pisa University Division of Paleopathology (collaborators: Prof. Gino Fornaciari & team)

Selected Published Articles

  • Galassi FM, Henneberg M, de Herder W, Ruehli F, Habicht ME. Oldest case of gigantism? Assessment of the alleged remains of Sa-Nakht, king of ancient Egypt. Lancet Diabetes Endocrinol 2017, 5(8):580-581.

  • Galassi FM, Habicht ME, Rühli FJ, De Carolis S. A Unique Case of Stroke and Upper Limb Paralysis in a Mid-18th Century Natural Mummy, Circulation Res 2017 Aug 3; 121:338-340.

  • Galassi, Francesco M; Habicht Michael E; Rühli, Frank J. Dante Alighieri’s Narcolepsy (2016). Lancet Neurology, 15(3):245.

  • Armocida E, Böni T, Rühli FJ, Galassi FM. Does acromegaly suffice to explain the origin of Pulcinella? A novel interpretation. Eur J Intern Med 2016, e16-17.

  • Galassi FM, Baker L, Ballestriero R, Rühli FJ: The death of Madame Marie Tussaud: a cardio-respiratory interpretation. Lancet Respiratory Medicine 2016 , 4(12):955.


Mäxi Foundation