14.2 C
London
Friday, October 15, 2021

Wow wow wow: A club way to teach young people about drug resistance

Glorious Erhuanga is rarely ill, she says. Which is a good thing because she does not care much for medical drugs. And because, by her own admission, she is an abuser of drugs. “I do abuse drugs in the sense that I don’t completely do the course. If you feel strong enough, you stop. But…
More

    Latest Posts

    Don’t wait for Black Friday – Dell is slashing up to 55% off select laptops and monitors

    Home News Computing (Image credit: Future / Dell) That’s right, Black Friday is approaching – but you don’t have to wait until November 26 to score a bargain on a brand-new laptop or monitor. Dell brings out new discounts every week, and today’s deals have up to 55% off selected Dell hardware.We’ve rounded up our…

    Dell’s new rugged laptops combine hardiness with raw speed

    Home News Computing (Image credit: Dell) Dell is expanding its rugged laptop portfolio with two all-new devices designed to meet the needs of first responders and other field workers that deal with conditions like extreme temperatures, constant vibrations or high levels of dust and humidity as part of their jobs.The Austin-based PC maker has seen…

    Samsung Galaxy S21 FE might finally have a launch date – in January

    Home News Mobile Phones (Image credit: TechRadar) It’s still unclear when the Samsung Galaxy S21 FE may arrive, with suspicions divided between next week and January, but a new leak leans toward the latter – and even suggests a launch date of January 11. We’ve heard conflicting reports about the Galaxy S21 FE’s potential release, but…

    How to watch Legacies season 4 online from anywhere

    Home News Software (Image credit: The CW Network) The fantasy drama series Legacies is returning to our screens as we reunite with the supernatural squad at the Salvatore School. With Hope’s future looking uncertain, fans of the spin-off series are still questioning what’s happening with Landon and Malivore. All will be revealed so keep reading…

    Otzi The Iceman: What We Know 30 Years After His Discovery

    A reconstruction of Ötzi the Iceman, who lived and died in the European Alps some 5,200 years ago. His naturally mummified remains were discovered by German hikers on September 19, 1991.

    A reconstruction of Ötzi the Iceman, who lived and died in the European Alps some 5,200 years ago. His naturally mummified remains were discovered by German hikers on September 19, 1991.

    Photograph by Robert Clark, Nat Geo Image Collection

    Considered “Europe’s most famous mummy,” the remains of the man who was murdered in the Alps 5,000 years ago continue to reveal details of Neolithic life—and insights into modern health.

    Published September 15, 2021

    10 min read

    Thirty years ago this month, Europe’s most famous mummy was discovered lying face-down in the ice, on the edge of a lake nearly two miles high in the Ötztal Alps bordering Austria and Italy.

    Naturally preserved by more than 5,000 years of sun, wind, and freezing temperatures, the leathery remains of Ötzi the Iceman quickly became a global sensation, the subject of countless books and documentaries and even a feature film reconstructing his life in Neolithic Europe and his violent death.

    Today, Ötzi is carefully tended to by researchers at the South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology in Bolzano, Italy, where his wizened body is kept in a custom cold chamber maintained at a constant temperature of –21.2 degrees Fahrenheit. Four or five times a year, his remains are sprayed with sterile water to create an icy, protective exoskeleton that ensures he stays a “wet mummy” (one naturally preserved in a wet rather than dry environment).

    Go behind the scenes of Ötzi’s 2010 autopsy.

    In an average year, about 300,000 visitors travel to Bolzano to marvel at the ancient Iceman through a thick glass window that affords a view into his frosty chamber. Ötzi is equally in demand by scientists, who jump at the rare opportunity to study the incredibly well-preserved remains of a man who lived long before the rise of Europe’s earliest cities, and even before Egypt’s first pyramid was built.

    “Ötzi is, in my eyes, the best investigated human body the whole world has ever seen,” says Oliver Peschel, the Munich-based forensic pathologist in charge of Ötzi’s conservation.

    Here’s what three decades of research have revealed about the life and death of the Iceman—and what the future study of his extraordinary remains may reveal.

    WHO WAS ÖTZI?

    Ötzi was wiry, short (5’2”), and about 46 years old when he died. He was left-handed and wore a U.S. men’s size 8 shoe. His eyes—still preserved in their sockets—were long thought to be blue, but genomic analysis has revealed otherwise. “We could prove he had brown eyes and dark brown hair, and he had a typical Mediterranean skin tone,” says Albert Zink, head of the EURAC Institute of Mummy Studies in Bolzano, which has done much of the core research on Ötzi. 

    Read how researchers reconstructed Ötzi’s frantic, final mountain climb.

    The Iceman had type O blood, was lactose intolerant, and had a rare genetic anomaly that prevented his 12th pair of ribs from forming. He suffered from cavities, intestinal parasites, Lyme disease, and sore knees, hips, shoulders, and back. His 61 tattoos map onto the places where his bones and joints show wear and tear (as well as onto modern acupuncture points). Ötzi had broken several ribs and his nose during his lifetime, and horizontal grooves on his fingernails indicate had repeated bouts of physical stress—likely stemming from malnutrition—in the few months before his death. He was genetically predisposed to arteriosclerosis, and a CT scan confirms that his is the oldest known case of heart disease in the world. 

    Based on carbon dating, Ötzi lived roughly 5,200 years ago (3350–3110 B.C.)

    WHO WERE HIS PEOPLE?

    Based on his DNA signature, Ötzi was part of the migration of Neolithic farmers that came through Anatolia (modern Turkey) 8,000 to 6,000 years ago, replacing Europe’s Paleolithic hunters and gatherers. His maternal genetic heritage no longer exists in modern populations, but his paternal line lives on in groups found on Mediterranean islands, especially Sardinia.

    WHAT HE WORE

    Ötzi was found wearing only a single shoe, but many of his belongings were subsequently recovered around the site where he was found. His leggings and coats—one lighter, one heavier—were pieced together from the hides of local sheep and goats. His shoes were stuffed with wild grass and laced with auroch leather. His fur hat was from a brown bear.   

    Discover how DNA tells the story of what Ötzi wore.

    WHAT HE CARRIED

    The Iceman trekked through the Ötztal Alps with a wood-frame backpack and a deerskin quiver with 20 arrow shafts, only two of which had arrowheads. His flint dagger was sharpened with a tool fashioned from lime tree wood and a fire-hardened antler tip. A birch bark container, similar to those still made in the region today, held smoldering charcoal wrapped in fresh maple leaves that would’ve allowed him to quickly make a fire.

    One of the most important objects is Ötzi’s sublime copper axe. Secured to a yew handle with cow leather and birch tar, the blade was cast from a mold and is 99.7 percent pure copper. It was an extraordinarily wealthy item for the time, and its discovery pushed back the beginning of the European Copper Age by a thousand years.

    HIS LAST MEAL

    In the hours before his death, Ötzi had a hearty meal of einkorn wheat, red deer, and ibex. It took researchers 18 years to identify his stomach—via a 2009 CT scan—because the organ had shifted under his ribs to where his lower lungs are located.

    Learn more about how researchers determined Ötzi’s last meal. 

    HIS DEATH 

    A gash between the thumb and first finger of his right hand revealed that Ötzi had been stabbed a few days before he died. It was an active defensive wound, meaning he likely tried to grab the blade. That wound was still healing when he was attacked again with an arrow that hit an artery in his back left shoulder. He may have had time to sit down and perhaps try to pull the arrow out, but it’s unlikely he could have reached it before he bled to death within minutes.

    Read how X-ray scans reveal Ötzi’s cause of death.

    The Iceman also had substantial brain hemorrhaging, but experts disagree about its cause. Did someone finish him off with a blow to the head? Did he fall and hit his head on a rock? Peschel says he doesn’t see good evidence for either of these scenarios.

    HOW ÖTZI WAS NATURALLY MUMMIFIED

    Based on analysis of pollen and the maple leaves he carried, Ötzi died in early summer. One theory posits that Discover how the Ötzi’s gut holds clues to humans’ spread into Europe.

    The diversity of our gut flora appears linked to our health, so researchers are keen to see the makeup of Ötzi’s. One early find, part of an ongoing study by the University of Trento involving Ötzi and 6,500 modern people, reveals that the Iceman had three of the four strains of the bacterium Prevotella copri. Indigenous people around the world have a variety of strains of the bacterium in their gut, but the 30 percent of modern Westerners with P. copri have just one, which tends to take over, reducing diversity. 

    Another discovery is that Ötzi’s gut contained Helicobacter pylori, a bacterium found today in half of the world’s population, with severe or deadly health consequences for about 10 percent of us. The dominant strain of H. pylori in Europe today is a hybrid of Asian and African strains. Ötzi’s strain is nearly purely Asian, which suggests the African strain arrived in Europe after his death. This has implications for the debate over whether H. pylori is a natural member of our gut flora or needs to be treated with an antibiotic as soon as it’s identified.  

    Another microbiome study of his gut found the pathogenic ancestor strain of Clostridium perfringens, today a common cause of food poisoning.

    A BETTER, GREENER ÖTZI

    The city of Bolzano plans to build a new archaeology museum in the next few years to house both Ötzi and a richer collection of Tyrolean artifacts. They also hope to improve the energy efficiency of the 22-year-old cold chamber system that supports his remains. (A second backup chamber is also on standby in case the primary one fails.)

    IMITATING NATURE

    To better understand the natural processes that have preserved Ötzi over five millennia—particularly exposure to the elements and the actions of microbes—researchers at the Institute of Mummy Studies are now analyzing the naturally preserved remains of a chamois, a kind of goat-antelope, discovered in summer 2020 in the same region as Ötzi. Though only a few hundred years old, its state of preservation is similar to the Iceman’s, and scientists are varying the humidity and temperature the animal’s remains are stored at to better understand how those factors impact preservation. They’re also studying its microbial community, both inside and out. “We know there are bacteria and fungi that can survive the cold temperatures, so maybe if you change something, they can start to grow again,” Zink says.

    THE UNIMAGINABLE RESEARCH OF 2050

    Technological advances will be key to unlocking more of Ötzi’s secrets—and are likely. His 5,000-year-old genome was decoded in 2012, just as next-generation sequencing was becoming more common and affordable. But even then, Zink says he never would have expected that one day researchers could also reconstruct the Iceman’s microbiome. “These methods developed so quickly, and now we get so much more data,” he marvels.

    Future research could focus on the functionality of Özti’s body, including proteins, lipids, and enzymes found in his tissues that may reveal information about his immune system. For now, however, protein analysis of ancient samples remains a very complex process.

    In the meantime, Ötzi’s caretakers have to strike a careful balance between making the mummy available for research and ensuring that research isn’t too invasive or frequent. The museum receives about 10 to 15 requests to study Ötzi every year. A committee of experts from various universities and the museum evaluates each request. About once a year they take surface samples for microbiology investigations. They only rarely defrost him. The last time was in 2019.

    “We won’t have any idea what scientific methods scientists in 2050 will have,” says Peschel. “It makes a lot of sense to keep Ötzi in the best condition to make research possible in 20, 30 years.”

    Latest Posts

    Don’t wait for Black Friday – Dell is slashing up to 55% off select laptops and monitors

    Home News Computing (Image credit: Future / Dell) That’s right, Black Friday is approaching – but you don’t have to wait until November 26 to score a bargain on a brand-new laptop or monitor. Dell brings out new discounts every week, and today’s deals have up to 55% off selected Dell hardware.We’ve rounded up our…

    Dell’s new rugged laptops combine hardiness with raw speed

    Home News Computing (Image credit: Dell) Dell is expanding its rugged laptop portfolio with two all-new devices designed to meet the needs of first responders and other field workers that deal with conditions like extreme temperatures, constant vibrations or high levels of dust and humidity as part of their jobs.The Austin-based PC maker has seen…

    Samsung Galaxy S21 FE might finally have a launch date – in January

    Home News Mobile Phones (Image credit: TechRadar) It’s still unclear when the Samsung Galaxy S21 FE may arrive, with suspicions divided between next week and January, but a new leak leans toward the latter – and even suggests a launch date of January 11. We’ve heard conflicting reports about the Galaxy S21 FE’s potential release, but…

    How to watch Legacies season 4 online from anywhere

    Home News Software (Image credit: The CW Network) The fantasy drama series Legacies is returning to our screens as we reunite with the supernatural squad at the Salvatore School. With Hope’s future looking uncertain, fans of the spin-off series are still questioning what’s happening with Landon and Malivore. All will be revealed so keep reading…

    Don't Miss

    Nokia G300 is the cheapest 5G phone yet with a big 6.5-inch display

    Home News Mobile Phones (Image credit: Nokia) The Nokia G300 is the company’s next budget phone, and at $199 (around £145 / AU$269), it’s one of the cheapest 5G phones on the US phone market.The phone has a 6.5-inch HD Plus 20:9 ratio display, 6GB of RAM, and 64GB of storage (expandable up to 1TB…

    Your online business really needs to get a working online checkout system

    Home News Software (Image credit: Shutterstock) Having a working checkout system for your online store can be the difference between making a sale and customers leaving items in their shopping cart according to a new survey from Stripe.The payment processing firm partnered with the management consulting company Edgar, Dunn & Company to study 800 ecommerce…

    Democratic Republic of the Congo starts Ebola vaccination

    Brazzaville/Kinshasa – Ebola vaccination began today in the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s North Kivu Province where a case was confirmed on 8 October. People at high risk, including contacts of the confirmed case and first responders will receive the doses as the health authorities move to curb the spread of the virus. The confirmed case…

    WHO Ghana supports ongoing COVID-19 vaccine rollout with digital tablets

    13 October 2021 The World Health Organization has reiterated its commitment to helping the Government of Ghana achieve its set target for the COVID-19 vaccine rollout by presenting 1 000 pieces of digital tablets to support the ongoing vaccination campaign. Presenting the items to the Ghana Health Service, Dr Sally-Ann Ohene, Disease Prevention and Control…

    Partners call for safe maternal and newborn care on National Patient Safety Day

    The Ministry of Health and partners have collectively called for safe maternal and newborn care in Ghana at the 3rd National Patient Safety and Healthcare Quality Conference in Accra. The conference, which culminated in the observation of the 2021 Patient Safety Day, was under the theme: “No Quality, No Coverage; Safe Maternal and Newborn Care…

    Stay in touch

    To be updated with all the latest news, offers and special announcements.

    × Share your content