News / Health

Mummies Show Signs of Heart Disease

Coronary artery calcifications were found in this mummy of Ahmose Meyret Amon, an Egyptian princess who was between 40 and 45 years when she died. She lived about 1580–1550 BCE and was found near modern day Luxor. (The Lancet)
Coronary artery calcifications were found in this mummy of Ahmose Meyret Amon, an Egyptian princess who was between 40 and 45 years when she died. She lived about 1580–1550 BCE and was found near modern day Luxor. (The Lancet)
TEXT SIZE - +
Art Chimes
Hardening of the arteries, or atherosclerosis, is often described as a lifestyle disease resulting from smoking, poor diet, and a lack of exercise.

Now, a team of U.S. scientists has found new evidence that the disease has been around since long before our modern lifestyle.

The researchers examined CT, or “cat” scans of 137 mummies for signs of the artery disease.

Randall Thompson of the University of Missouri-Kansas City says researchers found definite or probable evidence in about one-third of the preserved corpses.

"We’ve concluded that this disease is inherent to human aging," Thompson said at a meeting of the American College of Cardiology, "and that it’s not particularly characteristic of any diet or lifestyle."
This mummy of an Egyptian woman who was between 45 and 50 years old when she died, is from an unknown era and shows evidence of heart disease. (The Lancet)This mummy of an Egyptian woman who was between 45 and 50 years old when she died, is from an unknown era and shows evidence of heart disease. (The Lancet)
The mummies were mostly from ancient Egypt and Peru, plus a small number from what is now Utah in the United States, and the Aleutian Islands off Alaska - populations, in other words, with a range of diets and lifestyles across a 4000-year timespan.

It’s commonly thought that atherosclerosis, and cardiovascular disease in general, is related to our modern sedentary lifestyle. But Thompson noted that when they examined Aleutian mummies, all from a 19th century society of hunter-gatherers, three of the five bodies showed signs of hardening of the arteries.

“Now, one of the Aleutians who had this disease would have had a traditional lifestyle like her people had had for a very long time, hunting from kayaks and so forth," Thompson said. "And she had very extensive coronary calcifications, the kind of calcifications we see in our modern patients, the patients who need bypass surgery.”

Atherosclerosis can lead to heart attacks, but not always. The researchers say they can’t be certain whether the artery disease they found in the mummies was fatal.

But co-author L. Samuel Wann of Saint Mary’s Healthcare in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, says some ancient Egyptian writings describe a familiar medical emergency, “and there are paintings on some tombs in Egypt that show people falling over, clutching their chest, as if they are having a heart attack.”

The study by Randall Thompson and his colleagues is published in The Lancet.

You May Like

Wikipedia Proves Useful for Tracking Flu

Technique gave better results than Center for Disease Control (CDC) and Google’s Flu Trends More

Turkish Law Gives Spy Agency Controversial Powers

Parliament approves legislation to bolster powers of intelligence service, which government claims is necessary to modernize and deal with new threats Turkey faces More

Video Face of American Farmer Changing

Average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Face of American Farmer is Changingi
X
Mike Osborne
April 18, 2014
The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Face of American Farmer is Changing

The average American farmer is now 58 years old, and farmers 65 and older are the fastest growing segment of the population. It’s a troubling trend signaling big changes ahead for American agriculture as aging farmers retire. Reporter Mike Osborne says a new report from the U.S. Census Bureau is suggesting what some of those changes might look like... and why they might not be so troubling.
Video

Video Donetsk Governor: Ukraine Military Assault 'Delicate But Necessary'

Around a dozen state buildings in eastern Ukraine remain in the hands of pro-Russian protesters who are demanding a referendum on self-rule. The governor of the whole Donetsk region is among those forced out by the protesters. He spoke to VOA's Henry Ridgwell from his temporary new office in Donetsk city.
Video

Video Drones May Soon Send Data From High Seas

Drones are usually associated with unmanned flying vehicles, but autonomous watercraft are also becoming useful tools for jobs ranging from scientific exploration to law enforcement to searching for a missing airliner in the Indian Ocean. VOA’s George Putic reports on sea-faring drones.
Video

Video New Earth-Size Planet Found

Not too big, not too small. Not too hot, not too cold. A newly discovered planet looks just right for life as we know it, according to an international group of astronomers. VOA’s Steve Baragona has more.
Video

Video Copts in Diaspora Worry About Future in Egypt

Around 10 percent of Egypt’s population belong to the Coptic faith, making them the largest Christian minority in the Middle East. But they have become targets of violence since the revolution three years ago. With elections scheduled for May and the struggle between the Egyptian military and Islamists continuing, many Copts abroad are deeply worried about the future of their ancient church. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky visited a Coptic church outside Washington DC.
Video

Video Critics Say Venezuelan Protests Test Limits of Military's Support

During the two months of deadly anti-government protests that have rocked the oil-rich nation of Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro has accused the opposition of trying to initiate a coup. Though a small number of military officers have been arrested for allegedly plotting against the government, VOA’s Brian Padden reports the leadership of the armed forces continues to support the president, at least for now.
Video

Video More Millenials Unplug to Embrace Board Games

A big new trend in the U.S. toy industry has more consumers switching off their high-tech gadgets to play with classic toys, like board games. This is especially true among the so-called millenial generation - those born in the 1980's and 90's. Elizabeth Lee has more from an unusual café in Los Angeles, where the new trend is popular and business is booming.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
AppleAndroid