Re: "iceman"

John D. Brennan IV (
31 May 1995 17:48:09 GMT


The latest on the Iceman is that he died of an aspergillium
(sp?) infection in his lungs. Aspergillium is an opportunistic
infection which probably took hold as a result of trauma from an injury
that also cracked several of his ribs. I believe this was posted in
another newsgroup like Oops nevermind I found the
article, here you go:

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Tissue from a 5,300-year-old corpse found
buried in an Italian glacier shows that the man was infected with a
lung fungus that could have hastened his death, a researcher says.
Raul J. Cano of California Polytechnic State University, San
Luis Obispo, said Monday that a DNA pattern for a fungus emerged
from laboratory tests of lung tissue removed from the body of an
ancient man found encased in glacier ice in 1991.
The corpse, known as the Iceman, is the best preserved remains
of a human from the Copper age, more than 5,000 years ago. It was
found near the Otzal Valley in the Alps just inside Italy's border
with Austria. Along with the body, scientists found tools, weapons
and clothing.
Since the discovery, scientists have kept the body frozen while
cautiously conducting detailed examinations of the body to learn
how the man lived and died.
Cano said he was sent a small tissue fragment taken from the
man's lungs and from that he extracted minute amounts of DNA. The
genetic substance was amplified through a lab technique and
radiographic markers, like those used in criminal trials, were made
of the DNA pattern.
The pattern, said Cano, was genetically very similar to a
fungus known as Aspergillus fumigatus. The fungus can cause a
serious lung infection in patients who are weak, sick with other
diseases, or recovering from organ transplants.
``This was a totally unexpected finding,'' said Cano. ``We were
looking for tuberculosis.''
The fungal infection ``may have contributed to the Iceman's
death,'' but there is no way of knowing as yet, said the scientist.
But researchers do believe that the Iceman was stressed and
weak. Cano said the ancient man had several cracked ribs and was
found at a high altitude where thin air makes breathing labored.
Both of these conditions could encourage the growth of Aspergillus
fumigatus, but Cano said this is only speculation.
Cano said he may know more when he examines specimens from the
Iceman's liver and colon. Studying these tissues in the same way
that the lung tissues were analyzed may identify or eliminate the
presence of other infectious diseases, he said.
Cano delivered a paper on his Iceman studies at the national
meeting of the American Society for Microbiology.

I hope this was what you were look for,

John D. Brennan