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Researchers reveal causes of King Tut's death

A combination of bone disease and malarial infection likely killed Ancient Egypt's most well-known pharaoh, Tutankhamun, according to a study published in Journal of the American Medical Association.

For the study, 11 mummies in the Egyptian royal family were examined using molecular genetics and advanced CT scanning by a research team led by Carsten M. Pusch, PhD, of the University of Tübingen, Germany.

MedPage reports:

Tutankhamun died at age 19 after reigning only nine years and without an heir, sparking historians' suspicions of murder and familial disease...Taken together, their findings suggest that death was not attributable to foul play but rather his inflammatory, immunosuppressive, and constitutionally weakened condition from the combination of a leg fracture and malarial infection.

The study highlights how modern scientific tools can be utilized to answer old medical mysteries.

Last year, Stanford radiologists scanned a 2,500-year-old mummy named Irethorrou, and data from the scans was used to produce a three-dimensional visualization of the mummy's bones, organs and "prescriptive amulets" positioned on the body.

The resulting "fly through" video, a reconstruction of the mummy's head based on an extremely accurate reproduction of the skull and ancient artifacts that date from approximately 664-525 B.C. are on exhibit at the Legion of Honor in San Francisco until August.

Previously: How Stanford scanned a 2,500-year-old mummy, Photoblogging: mummy edition and Ancient mummy meets modern medicine (and daddy, too) at Legion of Honor

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