Example of visual of the combined imaging methods (CT, terahertz)
Ancient Egyptian artificially mummified human hand, ca. 1500 - 1300 BC.
a) THz, b) X-ray, c) CT, d) MR, e) photo (Öhrström et al; Anatomical Record, 2015)
Prof. Dr. Dr. Frank Rühli; Institute of Evolutionary Medicine; University of Zurich
Prof. Dr. Michael Bock; Medical Physics; Department of Radiology; University Medical Center Freiburg
Dr. Ute Ludwig, Medical Physics; Department of Radiology; University Medical Center Freiburg
Prof. Dr. rer. nat. Martin Koch, Departement of Physicy, Philipps-Universität Marburg
Improvement of Novel Imaging Technologies to Study Anatomical and Pathological Morphology in Ancient Human Remains: Terahertz Imaging and Spectroscopy and Magnetic Resonance Imaging
Ancient remains are very rare, thus any non-destructive depiction and characterization of these objects is desirable to preserve them for future generations. This joint research project aims at developing novel MR imaging strategies and novel hardware for optimizing the Terahertz Imaging and Spectroscopy systems for investigations of such samples. The following research objectives will be addressed in more detail to improve the diagnostic sensitivity and specificity of tissue discrimination in ancient mummies: Objective 1: In the context of Evolutionary Medicine, can the evolution of pathologies and anatomical variations (e.g. prevalence of soft tissue variants) been assessed by MRI and THz Imaging? Objective 2: What is the diagnostic sensitivity and specificity of MRI versus CT of specific pathological changes such as atherosclerotic lesions, intervertebral disc protrusion or degenerative cartilage damage? Objective 3: Can we further study morphological consequences of mummification such as dehydration effects on tissues and post mortem alterations? Objective 4: Can be embalming materials such as agglomerates of dried liquids, or crystallized salts in ancient Egyptian mummies further analyzed non-destructively by techniques such as MRI or Terahertz Spectroscopy? Objective 5: Is the spatial resolution high enough to select specific target positions for biopsies (for further histological or molecular analyses, such as DNA analyses) so that minimal damage is imposed on the valuable ancient remains?