A publication of the Archaeological Institute of America
While conceding that the speciality of clinical paleoneurology is "almost non-existent," an international neuroscience research group has made a brave first step into the ancient world with an analysis of about 200 Roman mummy portraits. In a report published in Britain's Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry, the researchers looked for evidence of neurological disease in the portraits, including inward-pointing eyes, associated with abnormalities of the autonomic nervous system, and atrophied facial tissue. In one case, a CT scan of a skull associated with a portrait corroborated an initial diagnosis based solely upon the portrait. The report's conclusion? "Clinical paleoneurology is possible in the absence of a living nervous system."