Magnetic resonance scanner delivers top performance in mummy test -- MEDICA - World Forum for Medicine


Siemens AG, Medical Solutions

Magnetic resonance scanner delivers top performance in mummy test

Bone structures clearly visible for the first time

A historical mummy was the object of an endurance test which Siemens underwent in cooperation with a team of researchers from the University of Zurich to answer the question: Can the new software for magnetic resonance tomographs (MR) provide insight into the anatomy and disease characteristics of the human being, even for those parts of the human body which, even more so for a mummy, contain almost no water? Siemens is currently developing specific software for picking up the signal from dry tissue and converting it into sharp images. This software might allow visualization of even fine bone structures without X-rays in the future.

Up to now, visualization of body tissue through an MR system was only possible based on the tissue’s different water contents. Hence, it was primarily soft tissue that physicians saw on MR images, and not, for example, details of the bone structure, as will be possible with the new software. “Not only orthopedic surgeons will be pleased – our software will also support neurologists when examining, for example, patients with Alzheimer’s disease with the aid of such MR images, or monitoring the body metabolism,” explained Walter Märzendorfer, the head of Magnetic Resonance at Siemens Medical Solutions.

What many patients will consider great progress in gentle medicine is already a milestone in the research on mummies. “The new software from Siemens provides us for the first time with an absolutely non-destructive examination method without having to moisten valuable tissue before the examination,” says Dr. Dr. Frank Rühli, manager of the Swiss Mummy Project, Anatomical Institute, University of Zurich. Various ancient Egyptian and Peruvian mummies have been examined with MR scanners from Siemens. This method also allowed a particularly close examination of parts of the intervertebral disks or embalming substances used for mummification in ancient Egypt.

Siemens Medical Solutions is one of the world’s largest suppliers to the healthcare industry. The company is a renowned medical solutions provider with core competence and innovative strength in diagnostic and therapeutic technologies as well as in knowledge engineering, including information technology and system integration. With its laboratory diagnostics acquisitions, Siemens Medical Solutions will be the first fully integrated diagnostics company, bringing together imaging and lab diagnostics, therapy, and healthcare information technology solutions, supplemented by consulting and support services. The company delivers solutions across the entire continuum of care -- from prevention and early detection, to diagnosis, therapy and care. Siemens Medical Solutions employs more than 49,000 people worldwide and operates in 130 countries. According to IFRS, in the fiscal year 2007 (Sept. 30), Siemens Medical Solutions reported sales of €9.85 billion, orders of €10.27 billion, and group profit of €1.32 billion. Further information can be found by visiting