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Egyptian Mummies Had Clogged Arteries

11/18/09

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Read More: egypt, heart disease, mummy

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VegSource Note: The wealthiest in Ancient Egypt ate the richest food. In a way, they foreshadowed today's culture, except that now even the poorest can eat like a Pharoah. As John McDougall MD often says, we eat like kings and queens of old -- and they were the ones who got gout and heart disease in the old days, today most people suffer from what we call "diseases of the rich Western diet."  Today, it is the poorest class in general , rather than the richest, who eat the most unhealthy food -- burgers, fries, fast food, dairy, cheese, heart-clogging animal products...

 

Rich Egyptians living 3,500 years ago may have been walking around with the same clogged arteries that modern Americans now battle, according to a presentation Monday at the American Heart Association's annual meeting.

A group of scientists said that, on a whim, they performed a computerized tomography (CT) scan on a collection of 22 mummies housed at the Egyptian National Museum of Antiquities in Cairo to see if they too suffered from the plaque build-up in arteries that lead to coronary artery disease.

"We didn't believe it was going to be so intense," said Adel H. Allam, the lead author of a letter to the editor published Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association. "We thought that we would find it, but maybe very rarely, and we thought that if we did find it, it wouldn't be so severe."

The plaque was, of course, long gone. The mummies lived between 1981 B.C. and 364 A.D., and only 16 of the mummies had heart tissue left. However, doctors could see evidence of advanced atherosclerosis (plaque build-up that causes hardening of the arteries) by looking for calcium deposits in a CT scan used to diagnose people today.

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