Saturday, November 21, 2009

Atherosclerosis in Egyptian mummies

Researchers using a CT scanner have discovered the real mummy’s curse: Hardening of the arteries. More than half the middle-aged and older Egyptian mummies that underwent CT scans earlier this year probably had atherosclerosis, an international team of researchers says.
Their findings cast doubt on the common idea that atherosclerosis is a result of the bad habits and worse diets of modern civilization.

Instead, it may be a byproduct of civilization itself. Large-scale agriculture creates a class of people with lots of rich food and not much physical labor.
That combination has been clogging arteries for millennia.
“We think of atherosclerosis being related to risk factors of modern life, but clearly the disease has been around since before Moses,” said Randall Thompson, a St. Luke’s Hospital cardiologist and a lead researcher on the study.

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