Testing an Iceman for Lyme Disease
Using an atomic force microscope, the researchers looked at tissue around the arrow wound that killed Otzi, who was named after the area in Germany in which he was found. The scientist at the Institute for Mummies and the Iceman at the European Academy in Bolzano, Professor Albert Zink, noted that the samples “looked similar to modern-day blood samples.” The new technique could be used to analyze mummies from Egypt but these samples from the Copper Age man are the oldest blood cells ever found.
Using Nanotechnology to Investigate Crime?
Otzi had brown hair, type O blood, and has been put at around forty-five years of age when he died in the Tyrolean mountains around 5,300 years ago. Now undergoing nanotechnology scrutiny, the surface of Otzi’s tissue is being scanned slowly using a tiny probe that measures ever miniscule deflection of the probe, building a three-dimensional image in painstaking detail. The familiar red blood cell ‘doughnut’ shape was spotted by the team, and the potential applications for the technology in criminal forensics are now being discussed in anthropology circles. It could be that the nanotechnology allows for age-identification of blood spots found at crime scenes.
Otiz was Lactose Intolerant, and Infected with Lyme Disease
In the meantime, the scientists continue to analyze the results of tests on Otzi, including the mapping of his genome, which revealed a predisposition for cardiovascular disease, as well as the genes coding for his brown eyes. The Iceman was also lactose intolerant, like many Neolithic people, and he has the peculiar honor of being the first-known carrier of Lyme disease.
Further Study of First Lyme Disease Case
The scientists intend to carry on studying Otzi to look at enzymes, proteins, and the man’s immune system, but he has seemingly already settled one debate. Lyme disease did not emerge from Plum Island, there were people suffering Lyme disease symptoms more than five thousand years ago, with the oldest human blood ever found proving positive for Lyme disease infection.