DNA, radiological evidence suggest broken leg, malaria and genetic disorder all contributed
TUESDAY, Feb. 16 (HealthDay News) -- King Tut probably wasn't killed by a vengeful wife and power-hungry advisors but by a combination of malaria, a broken leg and several inherited disorders that rendered him weak and lame long before his actual death, new DNA and radiological evidence suggests.
"What these scholars are suggesting -- and you can't prove it definitively -- is that he probably broke his leg, but it was in the midst of a malarial crisis and, on top of all his other problems, led to his demise," said Dr. Howard Markel, author of an editorial that accompanies the revelatory article in the Feb. 17 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.
The genetic tests also enabled Egyptologists to identify and give names to various members of the royal family from that time, including King Tut's parents, grandparents, great grandparents and siblings.
"They've answered some very interesting questions," said Dr. Randall C. Thompson, a professor of medicine at the University of Missouri, and an attending cardiologist with the Mid-America Heart Institute, both in Kansas City.
Thompson was co-author of a study, published last year in the same journal, that used CT scans to show that mummies up to 3,500 years old had hardening of the arteries, a disease once thought to be a scourge of modern society.
Asked if he thought this would be the final nail in the coffin of sensationalist theories attributing Tut's death to a bludgeoning by his wife, who was also his sister, Dr. David Mininberg, a New York City physician who also holds a degree in Middle Eastern Art and is an expert in the medicine of ancient Egypt, said, "God, everybody hopes so. That murder-conspiracy theory was based on a lot of inaccurate or sloppy reading of the available material and a lot of conjecture."
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