Atherosclerosis Common in Ancient Egypt, Mummies Reveal
the MPR take:
Atherosclerosis isn’t just a condition of the modern era – mummies from ancient Egypt, Peru, North America, and Europe have been discovered to have evidence of atherosclerotic calcifications as well. A review in the journal Global Heart evaluated a range of studies on CT mummy scans found that not only was atherosclerosis evident, but that it occurred in individuals with varying diets and lifestyles. While modern risk factors for atherosclerosis include cigarette smoking, an unhealthy diet, and inactivity, it is hypothesized that risk factors in ancient times were cooking fire smoke inhalation and chronic infection or inflammation. Because known risk factors account for only 70% of the burden of this disease, further research on mummies is a unique method for looking to the past for insight on the treatments of tomorrow.
We think of heart disease as a modern scourge, brought on by our sedentary lifestyles and our affinity for fast food. But a few years ago, a team of researchers discovered something puzzling — CT scans of Egyptian mummies showed signs of hardened, narrow arteries. Further scans of mummies from other ancient civilizations turned up the same thing.
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