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Evidence-based palaeopathology: meta-analysis of Pubmed®-listed scientific studies on ancient Egyptian mummies


Zweifel, L; Böni, Thomas; Rühli, Frank J (2009). Evidence-based palaeopathology: meta-analysis of Pubmed®-listed scientific studies on ancient Egyptian mummies. HOMO: journal of comparative human biology, 60(5):405-427.

Abstract

There is a plethora of published scientific studies on ancient Egyptian mummies. Surprisingly, hitherto there is no systematic review of this research, which would help to assess the quality of this vast body of published literature and thus to increase "evidence" in palaeopathological research. The aim of this study was to review all PubMed-listed scientific studies performed on Ancient Egyptian mummies. A total of 131 studies were found in the database for the selected time period, 1977-2005. Our "meta-analysis" showed that the number of publications per year varies enormously. The majority of mummies examined date to the third intermediate and Ptolemaic periods; data from other time periods were lacking. Identification of the cause of death and (14)C-dating of the mummy or funeral goods were rarely addressed. There was a tendency towards an increased use of non-invasive examination methods in more modern times. Our meta-analysis addressed both scientific content (e.g. palaeopathological findings/examination methods) and publication issues (e.g. location of the first author or year of publication) in these studies. Based on our experience, we recommend some minimum publication standards for palaeopathologic studies on ancient mummies, which shall improve evidence-based research in palaeopathology in general.

There is a plethora of published scientific studies on ancient Egyptian mummies. Surprisingly, hitherto there is no systematic review of this research, which would help to assess the quality of this vast body of published literature and thus to increase "evidence" in palaeopathological research. The aim of this study was to review all PubMed-listed scientific studies performed on Ancient Egyptian mummies. A total of 131 studies were found in the database for the selected time period, 1977-2005. Our "meta-analysis" showed that the number of publications per year varies enormously. The majority of mummies examined date to the third intermediate and Ptolemaic periods; data from other time periods were lacking. Identification of the cause of death and (14)C-dating of the mummy or funeral goods were rarely addressed. There was a tendency towards an increased use of non-invasive examination methods in more modern times. Our meta-analysis addressed both scientific content (e.g. palaeopathological findings/examination methods) and publication issues (e.g. location of the first author or year of publication) in these studies. Based on our experience, we recommend some minimum publication standards for palaeopathologic studies on ancient mummies, which shall improve evidence-based research in palaeopathology in general.

Citations

15 citations in Web of Science®
18 citations in Scopus®
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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > Institute of Anatomy
04 Faculty of Medicine > Balgrist University Hospital, Swiss Spinal Cord Injury Center
04 Faculty of Medicine > Institute of Biomedical Ethics and History of Medicine
04 Faculty of Medicine > Institute of Evolutionary Medicine
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
610 Medicine & health
Language:English
Date:2009
Deposited On:25 Jan 2010 12:29
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 13:48
Publisher:Urban und Fischer
ISSN:0018-442X
Publisher DOI:10.1016/j.jchb.2009.07.002
PubMed ID:19744651
Permanent URL: http://doi.org/10.5167/uzh-28410

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